Revelations: Talking About Sex Makes Nicholson Baker Blush

At least according to Charles McGrath’s excellent profile of the writer in New York Times Magazine. You wouldn’t believe such shyness from reading House of Holes, the author’s new book that will be released this month. McGrath writes:

Baker is very funny but also a little melancholy. He sighs a lot. He is modest to a fault, so polite and decorous that he would never dream of employing in conversation the kind of vocabulary that lights up “House of Holes,” a blue-flaring plume of smut-talk.

Quite a surprise considering the book has passages so filthy, we’ll refrain from even reprinting them here. Mr. McGrath, perhaps rightfully, says Mr. Baker “is one of the most beautiful, original and ingenious prose stylists to have come along in decades.” With brilliant conceptual novels like Mezzanine and Room Temperature, we couldn’t agree more, but The Observer considers House of Holes to be a minor entry in Mr. Baker’s oeuvre, even if it is the dirtiest. Though we disagree with Mr. McGrath’s interpretation that House of Holes is “as funny as it is filthy and breathes new life into the tired, fossilized conventions of pornography in a way that suggests a deep, almost scholarly familiarity with the ancient tropes,” the profile paints a fascinating portrait of an often wonderfully talented author. Read it in its entirety here.