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Nicholson Baker: Room Temperature

If you have read Baker’s first novel, The Mezzanine, then this novel will not come as a surprise to you, as it is more of the same. There is no Howie on his lunch hour this time but Mike looking after his six-month old daughter nicknamed The Bug. During the relatively short period the novel lasts (barely a few minutes), Mike muses, as did Howie, on any number of things. Though thoughts of both The Bug and Patty, his wife, drift in and out, he moves readily from peanut butter (and peanut butter jars) through air nozzles and nicknames and ending back again with the peanut butter jars and, in particular, their musical qualities. While still fascinating and well worth reading, it somehow does not work quite as well as The Mezzanine, perhaps because he keeps drifting back to domestic issues regarding The Bug and Patty which are, frankly, mundane to us, however important they may be to Mike/Baker. However, the book is only short and can be read in barely an hour so it is certainly worth your time.

Publishing history

First published 1990 by Grove-Weidenfeld