Graham's Reviews > House of Holes

House of Holes by Nicholson Baker
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's review
Sep 27, 2011

it was ok

The complexity of the sentences (for the most part) feels at about an eighth grade level. Characters are two-dimensional and have names like Shandee and Dune. There is usually no narrative link from one scene to the next. Dialog is bland but purposeful, with the occasional droll pun. It's smut. Not only does Baker seem uninterested in transcending that genre, he works as its preservationist. His book is a fanciful but astute replica of raunchy fiction. As wacky as the scenes are, Baker still writes as a persona. He is not completely letting himself go here.

The main story is how this magical sex theme park, The House of Holes, is set up and run. It's a place where people flirt and fuck beyond the laws of society, geography, or physics. The sex is strictly solo or heterosexual. (nobody picks up smut expecting to find political balance.) The greatest fun occurs early on, before the conventions are understood. He throws in an homage to erotic love in the last story, a silvery ornament, but overall the stories are repetitive and deliberately contrived. But it's all still pretty clever, especially when marketed on Kindle where the free "teaser pages" are analogous to the fictional theme park's marketing.

So, a few hot flashes but no sustained brilliance. The laughs I got from it were worth the price of admission.
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message 1: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth beyond the laws of society, geography, or physics --
wow! go get 'em!

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