Friday, October 11, 2013

Nicholson Baker rabbit


What can I say, getting the Baker rabbit was a big deal for me. I was nervous he'd say no. My first assignment at the L Magazine (back in 2011) was to write a review for House of Holes. It was my make-or-break debut. I cut my critic's teeth on that book, laughing to myself as I typed The Cock Ness Monster between quotes. To be thorough, I read most of Baker's earlier works, especially the sexy ones: Vox, Fermata--I was lining my jive, so to speak. Getting familiar with his tricks. It's one thing to talk about a book you just read; it's another thing entirely to be able to compare it to its first and second cousins with confidence. 

Room Temperature followed the sexier books--with its rocking chair reflections showing a softer side of fatherhood, and of course I couldn't ignore The Mezzanine--a modern bible of the literary world. The Anthologist closed out the stack, more straight-forward than its tangential predecessors. It's no secret that Traveling Sprinkler is a sequel to The Anthologist, meaning it's mostly for die hard fans already familiar with Baker's previous stuff; fans who might've bummed out by all the sex camp(y) tomfoolery in House Of Holes. But good for Baker; he seems to write what he wants to write. His genuine lack of pretense is what gives credence to his charm.  

Nicholson Baker drew the shy rabbit above on a slow count to five after a (common) admittance that he couldn't draw. "That's an interesting challenge," he said, looking thoughtful, his beautiful white beard ablaze. When we were done, I walked away high on my prize, keeping my sweaty fingers off the jacket on the way to my car. It's one thing to get a rabbit just to see what it'll look like. It's another to shake your hero's hand and see that he's just as nice as you imagined he'd be.

There was an error in this gadget