Synopses & Reviews
Paul Chowder, the poet protagonist of Nicholson Baker's widely acclaimed novel The Anthologist
, is turning fifty-five and missing his ex-girlfriend, Roz, rather desperately.
As he approaches the dreaded birthday, Paul is uninspired by his usual artistic outlet (although he's pleased that his poetry anthology, Only Rhyme, is selling steadily”). Putting aside poetry in favor of music, and drawing on his classical bassoon training, Paul turns instead to his new acoustic guitar with one goal in mind: to learn songwriting. As he struggles to come to terms with the horror of America's drone wars and Roz's recent relationship with a local NPR radio host, Paul fills his days with Quaker meetings, Planet Fitness workouts, and some experiments with tobacco. Written in Baker's beautifully unconventional prose, and scored with musical influences from Debussy to Tracy Chapman to Paul himself, Traveling Sprinkler is an enchanting, hilarious and very necessary novel by one of the most beloved and influential writers today.
“In sparkling and witty prose, Baker reminds readers why he's one of the masters of the contemporary novel.” Kirkus, starred review
A new novel by bestselling author Nicholson Baker reintroduces feckless but hopeful hero Paul Chowder, whose struggle to get his life together is reflected in his steadfast desire to write a pop song, or a protest song, or both at once.
About the Author
Nicholson Baker was born in New York City in 1957 and grew up in Rochester, where he played bassoon in high school and spent a year at the Eastman School of Music before transferring to Haverford College. His first novel, The Mezzanine, was about a man riding an escalator. His second novel, Room Temperature, was about a man feeding a bottle to his baby. In his many other works of fiction and nonfiction, he has written about John Updike, about getting up early in the morning, about the inner life of a nine-year-old girl, about the beginnings of the Second World War, and about sex. His book Double Fold, about libraries shedding their paper holdings, won a National Book Critics Circle Award. His poet protagonist Paul Chowder, who first appeared in The Anthologist, is reintroduced in the forthcoming Traveling Sprinkler, his tenth novel, and fifteenth book overall. He lives in Maine with his family.