Why don't more people read Nicholson Baker? This is what I don't understand. The Mezzanine
was easily the best/most enjoyable/most influential-on-me-personally book that I read in 2004; it's a compliation of the various thoughts a man has while on the escalator returning from his lunch break. Room Temperature
was one of the best books I read while I was on my honeymoon; this book's narrator's mind wanders while he feeds his baby one autumn afternoon. And. now, U & I
, which I picked up at McKay's one day not so long ago and finally got a chance to read today, and which is also excellent. It's the story of "Nick Baker," a successful but not-too-successful writer with a moderately unhealthy fixation on John Updike. The character (who, it should be said, seems to be very
close to the author, though I don't want to commit any fallacies
here) wants to publish an obituary eulogizing Updike and his influence on the literary world -- and he wants to do it before John Updike dies.
It may have been a little too inside-baseball for some of the audience, but I loved it.
I know hysterical realism
hasn't gone out of fashion, and no one in the world does the logorrheic, obessive-compulsive first-person narrator as well as Baker does -- so why isn't the man getting more love? It's not the Checkpoint fiasco
; he wasn't getting much love before that either.