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2.89 of 5 stars 2.89  ·  rating details  ·  625 ratings  ·  59 reviews
From Nicholson Baker, best-selling author of Vox and the most original writer of his generation, his most controversial novel yet.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Published August 10th 2004 by Vintage (first published 2004)
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ME: Hello?


ME: I'm reviewing Checkpoint.

SWF: Uh-oh.

ME: He's right. I'd like to shoot W too.

SWF: Isn't it a little late...

ME: Right between the eyes. No, that would be too quick. I'd like him to bleed to death slowly, and know what was going to happen. I'd...

SWF: Uh, Manny, you know Internet content is monitored these days.

ME: I don't care. I said I'd like to...

SWF: Hello! Content monitors! Manny doesn't really want to shoot former President Bush, he's just
MJ Nicholls
I decided to read some lovely short books this weekend, among them this strange little Iraq war polemic. I liked Baker’s The Mezzanine, though confess to finding the last third a slog (is the footnote dead? Discuss). No such problem here, as this all-dialogue number serves us quick and chin-stroking content from cover to cover. Two friends gather to discuss the ramifications of assassinating George W. Bush and talk tangentially about their lives.

This book makes brevity a narrative strategy: it’
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Adrianne Mathiowetz
Aug 15, 2007 Adrianne Mathiowetz rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: politics junkies, angry people, activists, fans of Baker
At 115 pages long and by Nicholson Baker, you don't really have an excuse to not read this book. It'll take you like 2 hours, and he's fantastic.

I loved the format: two guys meet in a hotel room and record their conversation about assassinating the president (that'd be George W.) on tape. You don't get any description of the environment or the characters beyond what is in their dialogue, and yet you get a real sense of where they are and what they sound like. It's practically written to become a
Kevin Lawrence
Baker taps into a collective desire to see W. and his cohorts pay for the monstrous crimes against humanity that they're guilty of -- and those transgressions are obviously pretty monstrous to compel such a humane and determined pacifist like Nicholson Baker to contemplate the assassination of anyone! Still, the drama-like structure of two lifelong friends working this all out on tape feels contrived and lifeless -- it seems Baker was aspiring for a Beckett-like piece but it reads more like an X ...more
Baker is a fine writer, but he seems to have let emotion get the better of him here, because this book is nothing but useless polemic. There was no attempt to persuade the reader with any well thought examples and counterexamples, out of which some sort of synthesis might occur. Rather, there was just one guy, who was a pretty obviously a complete nutjob and not someone anyone would be inclined to pay much attention to, yelling at another guy who doesn't say anything much other than, "Well, *tha ...more
Amy (folkpants)
I really enjoyed reading this book. The entire novel is written in dialogue between two old friends, which makes for a very quick read. The energy created with this type of writing style made me feel I was watching a stage play. I could easily visualize a very minimalist set with the two characters bantering.

The subject matter is intense- assassination, the atrocities of the George W. Bush administration, and a bit more subtle: the differences between two friends. One who seems comfortable, for

I grabbed this book off the shelf as I was on my way out of the fiction section of my local library. My reason was simple: the cover art was appealing, the length (115 pgs) meant a quick read, and flipping through the book, the narrative structure used was interesting. I didn't bother to look up the author or research what this book was about prior to leaving the library. So on a whim, I checked out the book, came home, and a little over an hour after starting it, I finished it.

Friedrich Der
Checkpoint is the latest novel from US author Nicholson Baker. Having thoroughly enjoyed Vox(1992), essentially a transcript of two intellectuals on a phone-sex line, I was glad to catch up with Baker's latest offering.
Checkpoint consists of a conversation between two people, one of whom is planning to assassinate George W. Bush. They meet in a hotel room in Washington, discuss politics and chat about their families. After an hour or so they order a bottle of wine and call it a day. It sounds
A dialogue between two acquaintances/friends reveals Jay's obsession with politics and his desire to assassinate the president. Ben tries to talk him out of it. Jay records their conversation for posterity.

I loved Nicholson Baker's books Vox and The Fermata. I did not love The Everlasting Story of Nory. Checkpoint started out kind of slow for me. I didn't bother to read a synopsis before jumping into it, so I didn't really know what to expect. Then it started to scare me because Jay sounds like
Dec 01, 2011 Ramzi rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: liberals/progressives
Book # 19 in the shelf experiment

An interesting and thought provoking book that can be read in as little as two hours. It follows the story of two friends who meet in a hotel room to discuss various things but mostly politics. Jay is mentally unstable and has plans to kill the president and his counterpart, Ben, plays a foil of sorts, attempting to get to the root of Jay's issues and talk him out of a disastrous endeavor.

I found that I greatly sympathized with Jay, I really did. While assassinat
Ron Charles
The last time a US president and Nicholson Baker appeared in the same sentence, the subject was sex: In 1998, Kenneth Starr discovered that the world's most famous intern had given Bill Clinton a copy of Mr. Baker's erotic novel "Vox."

But this time around, the subject is violence: Baker's upcoming novel, "Checkpoint," is about two men in a Washington hotel room arguing about whether to assassinate President Bush.

A work of literary fiction, it carries Michael Moore's case against Mr. Bush to extr
Shonna Froebel
This short novel takes place within a few short hours in a hotel room in Washington DC. The time is during George W Bush's presidency. Jay is upset about the political situation and feeling like he has to do something to change the course of history, to make a difference. He has asked his old friend Ben to drive up and talk to him, and bring a tape recorder to tape what Jay has to say. Ben is the kind of guy who, despite having a young family, also feels that he needs to nurture his friendships ...more
I want to give this book a slightly higher review, but I know rationally that part of that is due to anger....

After reading A Good War is Hard to Find (which I still recommend to anyone and everyone), I've been seething. Outwardly - against W. and the great cogs of war. Inwardly - aginst myself and the part that I play in the cycle of violence and destruction around us. In other words, basically feeling conflicted and empty.

This is a book of dialogue (much like Vox) in which two people discuss t
Reviews of this book are all over the place and I can see why; this is a love-it or loathe-it book. If you hated George W Bush then you might very well sympathise with Jay who plans (he says) to assassinate the president but even if, like me (a Brit and so out of the loop a bit) and have no strong opinions about Bush it’s hard to ignore the ‘evidence’ that’s presented in this little diatribe: America had problems in 2004. Well it’s nine years on and it has even bigger problems. There’s a section ...more

I thought that I would find reading this book to be a lot more cathartic than it actually was. Baker's decision to set his book in the real world with a character discussing his plan to assassinate George W. Bush, rather than just some nameless President, however, seems like just a cheap ploy for attention.

Of course, had he elected to use a nameless target rather than a real person, this book would have perilously little to recommend it. The characters are not nearly interesting enough to s
Vienna X
Feb 05, 2008 Vienna X rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who has considered assassination
Shelves: fiction
This wasn’t my favorite of what I’ve read from Nicholson Baker, but perhaps I wasn’t in the mood. I didn’t realize that it was so political—I mean, the whole book is two guys in a hotel room debating over whether one guy should kill the president. It was published in 2004 and I was thinking, hm, maybe he’s doing something interesting and the story takes place in the future or some alternate dimension. But no, they are talking about Bush and his cronies and while I’m basically on their “side” as ...more
Cecil Paddywagon
Not Baker's best. Not even good, as far as published (as opposed to "just for fun") books go. Cheap and lazy, to be honest. This harangue against the Bush administration, loathsome as it was, is not revelatory in any way. The weird script-like delivery was clumsy. But I love the author enough to ensure that, for me, reading it was at least more pleasurable than not reading it.
Kevin The Great
Feb 16, 2008 Kevin The Great rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: None
If you want to be a die-hard Bush administration fan, read this book.

This book is pretty much just an exegesis on why one might one to kill the President and why his administration is bad bad bad. Simply put, this book contains perhaps the worst-reasoned arguments against a public figure ever and the most hysterical liberal freak-outs. It doesn't help itself by being poorly-written.

I read this book because it was thin. There, I admit it. Sometimes I read books because they are thin and quick t
Andy Tischaefer
Meh. I think this book would have meant more to me if I had read it in 2005. As an exploration of frustration and anger at the government, I suppose that it works, but as a story it really goes nowhere.
An odd little book, but I liked it - a quick read, only 115 pages. Jay asks his good long time friend Ben to drive a few hours to meet him in Washington D.C. Jay starts a tape recorder and tells Ben that he's made a decision to take action - to kill the President (George W). Ben is horrified, of course. The conversation wanders around all sorts of issues while Ben tries to convince Jay that his plan is a very bad idea, for lots of reasons. I'm pretty sure very conservative readers would not be a ...more
Obviously meant to be provocative...and it is. Perhaps a little dated since it's so of the moment in 2004. But worth reading and discussing.
So, so odd, yet really intriguing. I laughed and I thought and I did enjoy it.
Having Bush around is pretty horrible. I think even Republicans can agree with this. Also a lot of bad literature as well. This is a story about plans to kill Bush and the dialogue regarding the in's and out's of such a plan. On one level it's interesting with respect how contemporary culture is responding to such an idiot. But on the other hand it's takes everyone a notch down below everything else. To even mention Bush brings the whole country into an idiotic level. The worst President has als ...more
Robert Heckner
Interesting. Well written.
Eric C
This is a short one that comprises a conversation between two old friends, the crazy of which has revealed a plan to kill President Bush. There was a lot of hype about this one before the 2004 election. Of course, it's not interesting anymore. Though, I doubt it would have been interesting then either. The conversation is a pretty bland, and the
crazy friend is too crazy to identify with.
I love Nicholson Baker and I loathe George W. Bush, so this book should be something that I would like. But.... It just feels wrong to desire the murder of another person, no matter how vile that person is. I couldn't get over that hump. It's well-written and quickly read, but still too much for me even as a Gedanken exercise.
Eric T. Voigt Voigt
I wonder how popular this book would be if George Junior WAS assassinated. This book (and having "Falling Man" currently checked out) has given me a hunger for contemporary history discussed in a fictional format. I may be on the look out for such books. "The Master" has made it to Western Michigan. I should see that tonight.
Ben Bush
Not Baker's best. I'd recommend Mezzanine or Box of Matches. It's interesting to notice the references to World War II archive research now that his non-fiction book Human Smoke has arrived. It was funny to read this right after the Obama election with sentiments in more or less a different situation.
Brian Solem
Mar 24, 2008 Brian Solem rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: would-be assassins.
Checkpoint is a short read, populated with some interesting approaches to handling one's dissatisfaction with US politics and the Iraq war. The dialogue isn't great, nor is the development of a plot or characters, but if you see it at the library, check it out for a pleasant way to kill two hours.
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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
More about Nicholson Baker...
The Mezzanine Vox The Anthologist The Fermata House of Holes

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