Synopses & Reviews
Nicholson Baker, the bestselling author of Vox
and The Fermata
, returns to the terrain that made him famous with a gleefully provocative, off-the-charts erotic work of fiction that is unlike anything you've read.
• A long-awaited return to career-making genre: Nicholson Baker's bestselling sex novels Vox (1992) and The Fermata (1994) Vox spent 12 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and each sold more than 100,000 copies took him to a new level of notoriety and readership. With House of Holes, Baker delivers the raunch-fest of comic wonderment that his fans have been waiting for him to write for nearly two decades.
• A mind-blowing, sex-positive escapade: Baker takes us to a surreal but familiar world, where carnal improprieties you may have imagined and some weird ones you probably haven't are cheerfully fulfilled. Be warned: the book is indescribably explicit. House of Holes is one celebrated literary novelist's answer to our porn-saturated culture, a modern-day Hieronymous Boschian bacchanal that will arouse, amuse, and surprise.
• Recent success: A national bestseller and a New York Times Notable Book, The Anthologist was one of 2009's most talked about books and selected for numerous "best of" lists, including the New Yorker, Los Angeles Times, and the Christian Science Monitor . Baker's previous book, Human Smoke, was a New York Times and national bestseller that was reviewed on the cover of the New York Times Book Review .
"The thing about fantasies is that everyone has his own. So while Baker (Vox) attempts to be all inclusive in this collection of short vignettes that describe the adventures of randy characters sent to the hedonistic titular resort, in the end what's left is Baker's take on erotica but not much else. While some of Baker's characters, like Shandee, who's on a journey to return a dismembered arm to a man who willingly lost it at the House of Holes in exchange for the enlargement of another body part (guess which one), appear throughout the book, most of the others are only around until they find some form of satisfaction. The result is a wearisome stream of concupiscent characters spouting off filthy words with little promise of any sort of, well, climax. Prurient subject matter aside, Baker's writing is strong and, at times, comical. His characters poke fun at the awkward nature of their situations and dirty dialogue, and in a sea of middle-school style terminology, some lines like when 'Dave angled out his Malcolm Gladwell' at the 12-screen adult theater are clever enough to warrant a smile. Still, living in the Internet age, where indulging wacky desires is a given, reading a ramble about other people's is more of a turn off than a turn on. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Hoo-boy, people, get ready for this book. It is going to be Talked About. There will be fistfights in the hallways of your local public library....It made me hoot out loud every other page or so, and on a few occasions my mouth actually, literally dropped open. Just get ready." Sam Anderson, New York Times
"[Baker's] dirtiest work yet: a 200-plus-page tour of a sex-fantasy theme park....It may be the raunchiest novel ever published by a major American house." New York magazine
"Baker returns to the eroticism of his earlier Vox (1995) and The Fermata (1994) but kicks it up about a dozen notches....Baker explores a fine line between eroticism and pornography here...[with] wit and verbal play." Kirkus Reviews
"How has the English language done without fuckwizard, manslurp, and thundertube? I am not sure, but Nicholson Baker's awe-inducingly smutty House of Holes: A Book of Raunch contains these pleasing new coinages, along with many others....Had Dr. Seuss been a slightly insane pornographer, he might have written a book like this....A joyful, almost Chaucerian book about having a busload of dicks driven through you." Tom Bissell, GQ
"Truly uproarious....Fiendishly clever....Baker is one of the most consistently enticing writers of our time....Readers with a fondness for richly ridiculous diction, witty provocation and graphic sexual prose that celebrates desire, frailty and the comedy of life will not be disappointed....Hilarious and extremely dirty." Sam Lipsyte, New York Times Book Review
"The most relentlessly, explicitly sexual novel I've ever read, and maybe the dirtiest ever by a serious author." Kurt Anderson, Studio 360
Nicholson Baker's House of Holes is a gleefully provocative, off-the-charts sex novel that is unlike anything you've read.
Shandee finds a friendly arm at a granite quarry. Ned drops down a hole in a golf course. Luna meets a man made of light bulbs at a tanning parlor. So begins Nicholson Baker's fuse-blowing, sex-positive escapade, House of Holes
. Baker, the bestselling author of The Mezzanine
, and The Fermata
, who "writes like no one else in America" (Newsweek
), returns to erotic territory with a gleefully over-the-top novel set in a pleasure resort, where normal rules don't apply. Visitors, pulled in via their drinking straws or the dryers in laundromats, can undergo crotchal transfers... make love to trees... visit the Groanrooms and the 12-screen Porndecahedron... or pussy-surf the White Lake. It's very expensive, of course, but there are work-study programs. In charge of day-to-day operations is Lila, a former hospital administrator whose breast milk has unusual regenerative properties.
Brimful of good-nature, wit, and surreal sexual vocabulary, House of Holes is a modern-day Hieronymous Boschian bacchanal that is sure to surprise, amuse, and arouse.
About the Author
Nicholson Baker was born in 1957 and attended the Eastman School of Music and Haverford College. He is the author of seven novels, including Vox and The Mezzanine, and three previous works of nonfiction, including Double Fold, which won a National Book Critics Circle Award in 2001. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, Harper's, and the New York Review of Books. He lives in Maine with his family.