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The Everlasting Story of Nory

3.39  ·  Rating Details ·  631 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
Our supreme fabulist of the ordinary now turns his attention on a 9-year-old American girl and produces a novel as enchantingly idiosyncratic as any he has written. Nory Winslow wants to be a dentist or a designer of pop-up books. She likes telling stories and inventing dolls. She has nightmares about teeth, which may explain her career choice. She is going to school in ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 30th 1999 by Vintage (first published April 14th 1998)
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30th out of 167 books — 93 voters
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37th out of 62 books — 8 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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The Everlasting Story of Nory is by one of my favorite authors, Nicholson Baker. Like all his work, it is highly readable and engaging. But it was not, by far, my favorite of his works. I liked the character who tells the story-Eleanor ("Nory"), a nine-year-old American girl living for a semester in England. Nory is a compulsive story writer who wants to be either a dentist or a pop-up book writer when she grows up. The Everlasting Story of Nory is typical Baker in its inclusion of all of Nory's ...more
Manik Sukoco
Jan 01, 2016 Manik Sukoco rated it it was ok
The book is about Nory, a nine year old who is a bad speller and tries to get along with her parents, friends and brother while standing up for herself and others. That's really it. It doesn't sound like a middle aged man pretending but more like a middle age man who does a great job of creating a book for adults that seems like it could be for kids. Where the book is flawed, and I think this is where others who reviewed this book will agree, is that you just don't really care about Nory or her ...more
Terri Floccare
Apr 11, 2010 Terri Floccare rated it did not like it
I kept reading this book wanting to like it. It seem more like the Neverending Story of Nory. It was a young girl's stream of consciousness rant. I get far too much of that in real life at home. Not the right time for me to read this book.
Feb 05, 2009 Rachel rated it it was amazing
Perfectly delightful! Brought me back to my childhood years- so much fun, I loved every page! Here is an excerpt:

Nora missed playing with Kira under the conker tree, all those weeks ago-or not that many weeks, actually-and she had a feeling that she and Kira were not such good friends now as they had been then. Kira had something of an idea of being friends, true, but not the whole idea. A friendship was like the core of something, not a conker but something really basic like an apple, and there
Chance Lee
Apr 27, 2013 Chance Lee rated it liked it
This might be the most accessible Nicholson Baker novel I've read, if only due to its somewhat straightforward structure and G-rated content. None of his novels approach much resembling a plot, instead going on a stream-of-consciousness ramble. The journey is always delightful. In this case, it was a little less delightful, for me, just because I didn't really get invested in Baker's 9-year-old protagonist. Maybe because it was told in third-person. I felt distant.

Nicholson Baker has a child-lik
Jan 20, 2009 Isabell rated it it was ok
In a way, this isn't the story told by a nine-year old, but by her father who admires her very much. If you appreciate hearing stories that nine-year old girls tell, including their randomness of thought and wonderful imagination, go ahead and read this book. For me, it dragged a little too much. My attention span is too short for the stories of my nephew, and it was too short for this book, too. I appreciate it, just didn't love it.
Dec 27, 2008 Kitty rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kitty by: Kim Bragg
I enjoyed reading this, but I definitely could not read a whole lot of it in one sitting. The all-over-the-place random thought process of a 9-year old is exhausting!! But extremely entertaining and somewhat enlightening since I teach 3rd grade. As Sheri pointed out, reading this book is like hanging out with a little chatterbox. But it was lots of fun :) Thanks Kim!
Ron Charles
Dec 17, 2013 Ron Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My six-year-old daughter recently asked me about the giraffe in our house.

"What giraffe?" I asked.

"That giraffe you and Mom felt coming down the stairs."

"That was a draft, some cold air, you know, a breeze."

She nodded skeptically, as though she'd stumbled upon an exotic smuggling ring. For me, her question was a reminder of the miraculous, perplexing world in which children live.

Nicholson Baker has written a most beguiling novel about that world. "The Everlasting Story of Nory" perfectly capture
Dec 15, 2015 Kerfe rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
In truth--veering from 3 to 4 stars and back constantly.

Baker's Nory is a wonderful voice in many ways. She's supposed to be 9: in some ways unbelievably young, and in others unbelievably old. Sometimes this is endearing, but often it's also annoying.

Let's start with her spelling--no 9 year old who is as literate as Nory is spells that consistently and not-making-sense badly--unless maybe she's doing it on purpose as an affectation, since she does seem to take bad spelling to heart as an identit
Janey Skinner
Jun 16, 2015 Janey Skinner rated it it was ok
Could be a good book for read-aloud with a child, say, ages 5-8. The writing is vivid, and the basic story of a girl in a new school stressing about friends could work for many kids. The strongest through-line is about bullying, and what to do about it when you see someone else being bullied. A friend recommended this because the protagonist, Nory, is an American girl living temporarily in the U.K., at age 8 or 9 - exactly I was, at that age. She's an imaginative girl, and much of the first part ...more
May 29, 2013 astried rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013
Everlasting? nay... Neverending... I even made the mistake of typing neverending when I was searching for the book in GR. I've read Baker's other book The Anthologist and loved it. In a way I should've known. What I loved about Anthologist is how he meandered around the world just to say one single thing but he did it in such a lovely way; the voice of that poor guy prevaricating in his writing and life is endearing; somehow it just striked a cord within me, because I'm also that kind of person. ...more
I really interesting book ... think the stream of consciousness of a creative nine year old. Eleanor is an American child living in the UK and the book all told by here with some fantastic nine year-old grammar and spelling basically tells of her first term at her new school and all the trials and tribulations that come with that. It took a little while to get into, but after you get used to the narrators voice it is a genuinely sweet and believable account of life from the perspective of a ...more
Pamela W
Nov 25, 2008 Pamela W rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people
Recommended to Pamela by: Sheri
This is more like 3.5 or even 4 stars. I'm just feeling stingy. This little Nory character is an expat American child living in England after having been around the global block, and she's equal parts adorably childlike and completely precocious. Baker really captured her personality in the writing style, complete with some typos and mis-uses of words and grammar. And the little brother is a hoot. I'd take these two kids under my wing, if they were real (yes, I liked the characters that much) ...more
Although I enjoyed 9 year old Nory and her imagination, at times I thought this book was just an exercise in cleverness for Nicholson Baker. The observations that Nory makes about friendships and the social world of 9 year olds are beautifully done, and the stories she tells herself for her own pleasure are strange and wonderful. What really bothered me was Baker's representation of the children's speech--childlike malapropisms were charming at first but then began to get old--and the sense that ...more
Sep 22, 2007 Sarah rated it really liked it
This is a good book if you don't have a lot of time to read (which I didn't -- picked it up when I was just about to start a move and a new job); the chapters are short and follow a loose plot, centered around 9-year-old Nory, her family, and several friends at her new school in England. Baker does a good job of capturing Nory's voice -- just the right mix of creativity, intelligence, and lack of reason. While it wasn't one of those books that I couldn't wait to pick up again, it's a nice ...more
Mar 04, 2014 Andy rated it really liked it
If you're in the mood for a short, quirky and well-crafted novel or have young children, definitely read this book. Nicholson narrates the story in the voice of a 9-year-old girl. The story manages to be endearing, sweet and a little sad and disturbing. One warning, however. Baker's writing is very detailed, a la Updike. If you prefer more fast-paced, plot-driven books, I'd avoid Nicholson Baker altogether.
Apr 01, 2013 Talia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book, but I just ended up not. The book felt scattered and unfocused. There was a running plot, but it didn't really show itself until almost the very end. I understood why the author choose to write things the way a nine year old girl would, but I think he would have done better to write from the first person point of view if he's going to write the way Nory speaks. Overall this was a very difficult read.
Lee Berger
Jan 16, 2010 Lee Berger rated it liked it
Baker is clearly a good writer with an engaging style, but the format for this - a series of 54 mini-stories - left me wanting something different. It was the kind of book that I enjoyed while I was reading it, but in-between sessions wouldn't have been all that bothered if I had lost it and didn't get to finish it.
Jul 15, 2013 Ethan rated it really liked it
Meanders a bit (but it's Nicholson Baker so I wouldn't be reading it if I didn't expect a bit of thought static), but oh lord, from chapter 53 on, muah, gorgeous. The most heartfelt ending I've read in ages. Disarming naivete to the max. This is when Baker is at his most brilliant. When he's not inventing tingly new sexual euphemisms, that is.
May 20, 2014 David rated it really liked it
I was a bit surprised to see this come from Baker. Not like his other stuff I've seen at all. It was fun, and I liked the fancy in it. I do think there were points where it seemed like an adult's idea of what a nine-year-old would be like instead of actually seeming like one, but that was only once in a while.
Kyle Mcclure
Aug 29, 2007 Kyle Mcclure rated it really liked it
Nicholson Baker is smarter and happier than you. He gets four out of five pea-sized dollops of tooth paste for his surprising description of the cellular implications of immortality and for documenting the only real solution to the conundrum of separate faucets for hot water and cold water (back and forth back and forth back and forth).
Dec 26, 2007 Kat rated it really liked it
Shelves: delights
"You can't mummify a nice memory in someone's head," so goes this lovely little book about the consciousness of a nine year old girl named Nory. I loved the book, but the stream of consciousness got a bit overwhelming after a while. It reminded me of so much of my youth and the discomfort of not quite fitting in all the time.
Bianca Islington
Apr 24, 2015 Bianca Islington rated it really liked it
A delightful book with a charming character and a sense of family and friendship. Baker has delivered a witty story told from the view of a 9 year old which will capture the hearts of readers of all ages.
Roderick Vesper
Dec 31, 2010 Roderick Vesper rated it really liked it
I tried to read this book at least 10 times when I first bought it 5 years ago. I just couldn't get into the thought processes of a 9 year old girl. Now that my daughter is 4, it was a lot easier to relate to and find some joy in. Some slow parts, but lots of little chuckles along the way.
Sam Slaughter
Jun 15, 2014 Sam Slaughter rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A waste of my time as far as literature goes. I understand what he was trying to do but still found it boring and, as mentioned, a waste of
my time
Caitlin Lillie
Mar 20, 2014 Caitlin Lillie rated it it was ok
Call me dense, but I didn't get the point of this story.
Sep 05, 2015 Kim rated it it was ok
A quirky little book.
Sunny Purdin
Did not pass the age test, but I am sure it's a fine book.
Nov 25, 2016 Pat rated it really liked it
Nory, our heroine, is a nine-year-old American girl whose family has just moved to England. Her charmingly fuddled language, imaginative stories, and, well, nine-year-old twists of thinking were delightful, but I spent the first third of the book expecting that the narrative was leading to some adult plot twist. No need to worry: this is "just" a clever and delightful account of a likable nine-year-old's first term at a new school, and the only plot twists involve the sometimes serious and ...more
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Nicholson Baker is a contemporary American writer of fiction and non-fiction. As a novelist, his writings focus on minute inspection of his characters' and narrators' stream of consciousness. His unconventional novels deal with topics such as voyeurism and planned assassination, and they generally de-emphasize narrative in favor of intense character work. Baker's enthusiasts appreciate his ability ...more
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