9780375706035

A Box of Matches

Baker, Nicholson

ISBN 10: 0375706038 / 0-375-70603-8
ISBN 13: 9780375706035
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: 2004
Binding: Softcover
Editorial Reviews:
Synopsis:
Emmett has a wife and two children, a cat, and a duck, and he wants to know what life is about. Every day he gets up before dawn, makes a cup of coffee in the dark, lights a fire with one wooden match, and thinks.

What Emmett thinks about is the subject of this wise and closely observed novel, which covers vast distances while moving no further than Emmett’s hearth and home. Nicholson Baker’s extraordinary ability to describe and celebrate life in all its rich ordinariness has never been so beautifully achieved.

Review:
One man's simple, colloquial meditations on his past, his family, and his life's daily minutia are the substance of Nicholson Baker's A Box of Matches. Feeling that life is passing him by, Emmett, a middle-aged medical textbook editor, decides to wake up early each day to sit by a fire in his country house and record his thoughts in a diary. "Good morning," Emmett begins, "it's January and its 4:17 a.m., and I'm going to sit here in the dark." From this vantage point, Emmett reflects stream-of-consciousness style on whatever occurs to him, no matter how mundane: his recent trip to Home Depot, how he met his wife, the habits of the family duck. Routines, such as how he makes his morning coffee in the dark or picks up his underwear with his toes, are described with childlike reverence and directness. All told, nothing much happens in A Box of Matches, which seems to be the point. Baker is more interested in the idea that for many, life is made up of such apparent trivialities, and that only by pausing to appreciate them can anyone gain any lasting satisfaction. Baker emphasizes this through the moments of understated wisdom and joy that Emmett derives from ordinary occurrences, such as the daylight through the window: "a simple light that goes everywhere but with no heat, aware that it is taken for granted and content to be so." This is the philosophical equivalent of a one-joke premise, however, and there are moments when Emmett's naiveté and laundry list-like narrative wear thin. Likely understanding this, Baker has wisely kept things short. A curious, often charming novel, A Box of Matches will inspire some readers, while inspiring frustration in others. --Ross Doll

Review

Review:
PRAISE FOR DOUBLE FOLD

“There’s no mistaking the passion and intelligence he brings to his task or the fiery zest with which he relays his most damning anecdotes.”— Chicago Tribune

“Provocative . . . impassioned and compelling.”— The New York Times

PRAISE FOR THE EVERLASTING STORY OF NORY

“Delightful . . . Reading [it] is similar to listening to a series of piano etudes, each with its own theme playfully developed.”— Time

“Thoughtful and daft, sure-footed and tentative . . . pitch-perfect.”— The Wall Street Journal

From the Back Cover

 

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A Box of Matches (ISBN: 9780375706035)
Baker, Nicholson
ISBN 10: 0375706038
ISBN 13: 9780375706035
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Baker, Nicholson
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Book Description: Random House USA Inc, United States, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 203 x 133 mm. Brand New Book. Emmett has a wife and two children, a cat, and a duck, and he wants to know what life is about. Every day he gets up before dawn, makes a cup of coffee in the dark, lights a fire with one wooden match, and thinks. What Emmett thinks about is the subject of this wise and closely observed novel, which covers vast distances while moving no further than Emmett’s hearth and home. Nicholson Baker’s extraordinary ability to describe and celebrate life in all its rich ordinariness has never been so beautifully achieved. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780375706035

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Baker, Nicholson
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Book Description: Random House USA Inc, United States, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 203 x 133 mm. Brand New Book. Emmett has a wife and two children, a cat, and a duck, and he wants to know what life is about. Every day he gets up before dawn, makes a cup of coffee in the dark, lights a fire with one wooden match, and thinks. What Emmett thinks about is the subject of this wise and closely observed novel, which covers vast distances while moving no further than Emmett?s hearth and home. Nicholson Baker?s extraordinary ability to describe and celebrate life in all its rich ordinariness has never been so beautifully achieved. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780375706035

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Book Description: Paperback. Book Condition: New. 133mm x 14mm x 205mm. Paperback. Emmett spends his days in front of the fire thinking yet he travels great lengths. Emmett has a wife and two children, a cat, and a duck, and he wants to know what life is about. Every day.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 192 pages. 0.204. Bookseller Inventory # 9780375706035

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