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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, Vox, 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 twelve-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.
“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, NYTimes.com
“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
“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
About the Author
Nicholson Baker is the author of nine novels and four works of nonfiction, including Double Fold, which won a National Book Critics Circle Award. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, and The New York Review of Books. He lives in Maine with his family.
Book review: ‘House of Holes’ by Nicholson Baker
The Los Angeles Times Book Review – August 7, 2011 (Excerpt)
Nicholson Baker wasn’t kidding when he subtitled “House of Holes,” his new novel, “A Book of Raunch.” Indeed, it’s a bona fide filth-fest, so unrelentingly graphic that there’s not much I can quote from it in this review. At the same time, there’s an innocence to “House of Holes,” which is (if such a thing is possible) a dirty book without prurience, intended less to titillate than to amuse.
In that sense, it’s a throwback, not only to “Vox” and “The Fermata,” Baker’s sex books of the 1990s, but also to an era — Kenneth Patchen’s “Memoirs of a Shy Pornographer” (1945) and Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg’s “Candy” (1958) can be read as antecedents — in which erotic literature was often written to subvert the bounds of the conventional, using humor. In an age of sexting and Internet porn, when one’s most perverse predilections are instantly accessible, that idea seems quaint, outmoded in its assurance that there is any such thing as moral propriety left to tweak. For all its lighthearted smuttiness, then, “House of Holes” comes with an inadvertent subtext: Has erotica become a nostalgic art?
Baker gives that question resonance by setting “House of Holes” out of time, in a landscape at once recognizable and wholly alien. Constructed as a series of loose vignettes, it revolves around the eponymous House of Holes, a sexual retreat of sorts that will “open up time and spice for you. We’re out here in spice time.” [Read the full article...]
One Man’s Gluddle-Luddle Is Another’s Squoosh Squoosh
The New York Times Book Review – August 7, 2011 (Excerpt)
Among the unusual eroticized terms that turn up in “House of Holes” are “united parcel,” “chickenshack,” “address book,” “subway improvement project,” “the fondling fathers” and “cold Snapple in my condo.” Malcolm Gladwell could either sue or thank Mr. Baker, depending on how he feels about seeing his name used as a ha-ha synonym for a body part. However much fun he has toying with innuendoes, Mr. Baker finds lots of time for the Anglo-Saxon standbys too.
With a vocabulary like that, “House of Holes” comes with built-in hyperbole. It all but demands to be called the dirtiest book ever to emanate from an author who already has “Vox” and “The Fermata” on his curriculum vitae (not to mention “Double Fold,” a manifesto aimed at libraries, which won a National Book Critics Circle award for nonfiction). But Mr. Baker’s earlier sex books veered into pervier territory, making “House of Holes” pretty innocent by comparison. This new book seems a deliberate course correction after “The Fermata,” about a man with a yen for secretly undressing women and a magical ability to make time stand still. The behavior that he called “chronanistic” gave more than one kind of pause.
No such kinks marginalize “House of Holes.” It describes a happy, friendly, doofy, incredibly polite (“May I?”) equal-opportunity playland where anybody can seemingly fulfill any sexual daydream, ideally while talking about it as graphically as possible. Actually there are limits: Mr. Baker has a well-hidden prim streak, and he sticks to cheery little vignettes in which everybody gets hot but nobody gets hurt. [Read the full article...]
AMERICAN MALE PROSTITUTE
How I (Almost) Got A Book Deal Through Sex, Lies, And Deceit
Today’s publishing world is divided into two principle sections. First, there is the exclusive pool of traditional publishers, and, second, the help-yourself shark tank represented by the so-called vanity publishers.
Vanity publishers have a significant edge over traditional publishers in regards to brutality, business sense, and profitability. They ruthlessly pursue the infinite supply of aspiring writers who, in turn, are rejected by traditional publishers or literary agents. Ironically, in the world of traditional publishing, authors are rejected not necessarily due to lack of talent. Vanity publishers accept everybody and everything. No questions asked. Just pay your bill, but don’t come crying to them when you can’t sell a copy of your book.
The question remains, what does it take these days to get a book deal with a traditional publisher? What do you do when, hypothetically, you are running out of time and mere talent is not the be-all and end-all?
Stuart Martin Berry has found the answer: If you can’t impress them with your talent, baffle them with your bull-shit. [Read more, including an excerpt]