by Nicholson Baker

A manefesto on masturbation and the female orgasm. A short novel. A short, pointless novel. A male and female meet in a private telephone chat room and talk about their sexual and non-sexual fantasies, though mostly sexual. The author, speaking through the characters that are amazingly similar in dialect, tone, ideas, personality... okay, they are the same person and, I assume, they are the author speaking. One sick puppy. It is said that to write best, write about what you know. This man knows masturbation and is obsessed with the female orgasm. Not worth even picking up at the library. I ended up skimming the last half of the book in hopes of finding something worthwhile. I didn't. NO cubes of fat!

The Fermata

by Nicholson Baker

This book bears the distinction of being only the second novel IN MY LIFE that that I conscientiously did not finish reading, the first being Bourrough's "Naked Lunch" due to it's plotless ramblings but a drugged out "author". This book was equally plotless. The basis for the book, that someone can stop time and be free to explore and live in this frozen existence, starting time back again as he feels so moved, was in itself quite intriguing. However, the main character, and I assume by extension the author, has the sexual maturity of a twelve-year old. This character strips women, looks at them for a spell, carfully redresses them and turns time back on. That's the book. Account after account of what this guy has done. I did skip to the end and browsed the last few chapters and a happy ending occurs when he confesses his abilities to a woman he likes and she believes him and, with the accidental help of one of the book's many mail-order sexual devices, his "powers" are transferred to her. Based on "Vox", I guess I should have seen it coming. Gets one Cuchifrito for the concept but negative fat cubes for the complete debasedness of the characters. NO cubes of fat!
Given some time to reflect, it seems to me that this book is a twist on the "invisible man" theme. By turning off time, this fellow can move around unnoticed. Just a thought.

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Nicholson Baker