Room Temperature

Room Temperature

3.7 4
by Nicholson Baker

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In his second novel, Baker turns a young father's feeding-time reverie into a catalog of the minutiae of domestic love.


In his second novel, Baker turns a young father's feeding-time reverie into a catalog of the minutiae of domestic love.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Baker's first novel, The Mezzanine , was hailed for its minimalist conceit--the story of a lunch-hour sortie to buy shoelaces--and its exhaustive cataloging of objects encountered and thoughts entertained. For readers impressed with the precision of Baker's descriptive powers but chilled by its clinical rigor, this second novel will deliver a welcome warmth. Occasioned by a 20-minute bottle-feeding of his infant daughter ``Bug,'' narrator Michael Beal, a young house-hus- band, transforms the sounds and textures of an autumn afternoon into an absorbed--and absorbing--reverie: ``The Bug's nostril had the innocent perfection of a cheerio a tiny dry clean salty ring, with the odd but functional smallness . . . of the smooth rim around the pistil of the brass pump head that you fitted over a tire's nipple to inflate it.'' In a refreshing bit of candor, the narrator baldly states the author's goals: ``I certainly believed, rocking my daughter on this Wednesday afternoon, that with a little concentration one's whole life could be reconstructed.'' In a classic pairing of form and content, meditations on the images of infancy develop into mature, if somewhat ingenuous, reflections on the transit to adulthood. This is a small masterpiece by an extraordinarily gifted young writer. (Apr.)
Library Journal
This stunningly original novel is more like a prose poem than a work of conventional fiction. Rich in playful humor, and with an abundance of ingeniously observed detail, it describes a young father's inspired musings as he spends a quiet afternoon with his infant daughter. Baker has a poet's way of investing everyday objects and experiences with a magical, emblematic intensity (his loving description of the musical qualities of a glass peanut butter jar is truly memorable). The result is a deftly woven interplay between the narrator's childhood memories and his experience as a new parent and husband. At times, the disarming intimacy of the author's tone seems to border on the self-indulgent, but Baker is such an inventive stylist that this minor fault should be overlooked in the light of his impressive achievement. Highly recommended for all collections of fiction.-- Christine Stenstrom, New York Law Sch. Lib.

Product Details

Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
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Product dimensions:
7.44(w) x 11.28(h) x 0.35(d)

Meet the Author

Nicholson Baker has published five novels–The Mezzanine, Room Temperature, Vox, The Fermata, and The Everlasting Story of Nory–and two works of nonfiction, U and I and The Size of Thoughts. He lives with his wife and two children in Maine.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
Place of Birth:
Rochester, NY
B.A. in English, Haverford College, 1980

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