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Novel of the week: House of Holes by Nicholson Baker

Baker's new book is a refreshing throwback to the erotic literature of old, said David L. Ulin in the Los Angeles Times.

(Simon & Schuster, $25)

Nicholson Baker’s naughty new novel is “a bona fide filth-fest, so unrelentingly graphic that there’s not much I can quote from it in this review,” said David L. Ulin in the Los Angeles Times. Yet it’s also a refreshing throwback to the erotic literature of old—a dirty book that seeks to “subvert the bounds of the conventional” by using humor as its principal weapon. Its title refers to a sexual amusement park of sorts, and the inventiveness that the author of Vox brings to detailing the retreat’s wonders serves always to suggest that what each visitor is really seeking is true intimacy. Unfortunately, you never get the sense that there are any societal conventions to be toppled by all of Baker’s clowning. “The merry juvenility of the project can, and does, descend sometimes into the fatiguingly puerile,” said Jeff Simon in The Buffalo News. But Baker is a literary bomb-thrower whose every project merits our attention. When you give yours to this book, you’ll be rewarded with laughter—“and rather a lot of it, too.”

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