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A Box of Matchesby Nicholson Baker
Synopses & Reviews
Emmett has a wife and two children, a cat, and a duck, and he wants to know what life is about. Every day he gets up before dawn, makes a cup of coffee in the dark, lights a fire with one wooden match, and thinks. What Emmett thinks about is the subject of this wise and closely observed novel, which covers vast distances while moving no farther than Emmett's hearth and home. Nicholson Baker's extraordinary ability to describe and celebrate life in all its rich ordinariness has never been so beautifully achieved.
Baker won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper. He now returns to fiction with this lovely book, reminiscent of the early novels Room Temperature and The Mezzanine that established his reputation.
"He is such an excellent writer, a master of descriptive detail with an unusual perspective on the world, that he can almost be forgiven for his tendency to focus on the mundane — almost. Emmett's life may seem rich to him, but it isn't rich enough to propel an entire novel." Publishers Weekly
"Observation of such consistent intensity and minuteness rarely occurs in conventional fiction." Newsday
"Splendid, comically melancholy....[Baker's] most affecting and satisfying novel yet." Newsweek
"Baker specializes in quirky, small-scale novels that flout most of the accepted rules of fiction while at the same time retaining an old-fashioned, reader-friendly accessibility....Fans will love this book, but newcomers may find it too flimsy and insubstantial to take seriously." Edward B. St. John, Library Journal
"Bravura writing....feels like a walk through Big Sky Country." The Atlantic Monthly
"Tender, melancholy...As Virginia Woolf did, Baker has genuinely transformed the way fiction can render our experience on the page. There nothing else like A Box of Matches out there." The Seattle Times
"Since his very funny first novel The Mezzanine, Baker has been perhaps our sharpest and smartest observer; in his exquisite new novel, he's become a writer of expansive moral concern, too." Adrienne Miller, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)
"Wonderful....An opportunity for heightened mindfulness....Baker has made an astonishing specialty of showing just how much is going on in life, and in our heads, when it seems that nothing is." Walter Kirn, The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Nicholson Baker was born in 1957 and attended the Eastman School of Music and Haverford College. He has published five previous novels — The Mezzanine (1988), Room Temperature (1990), Vox (1992), The Fermata (1994), and The Everlasting Story of Nory (1998) — and three works of nonfiction, U and I (1991), The Size of Thoughts (1996), and Double Fold (2001), which won a National Book Critics Circle Award. In 1999 he founded the American Newspaper Repository, a collection of nineteenth- and twentieth-century newspapers. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.
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