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.
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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 DollFrom the Back Cover:
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
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Book Description Vintage. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0375706038. Bookseller Inventory # HGT8661JAEW041615H0257
Book Description Vintage, 2004. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: "[Baker's] most affecting and satisfying novel yet." Newsweek "Wonderful. . . . An opportunity for heightened mindfulness. . . . Baker has made an astonishing specialty of showing just how much is going on in life, and in our heads, when it seems that nothing is." Walter Kirn,The New York Times Book Review "Hypnotic. . . . By simply striking a match, Baker has traveled through space and time to set a world on fire." The Village Voice "Tender, melancholy . . . As Virginia Woolf did, Baker has genuinely transformed the way fiction can render our experience on the page. There nothing else likeA Box of Matchesout there." The Seattle Times. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0375706038
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Book Description Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # VR-9780375706035
Book Description Penguin Random House. Book Condition: New. Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 0375706038
Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 203 x 132 mm. Language: English 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
Book Description Vintage. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0375706038 During a month in the life of a forty-five-year-old editor of medical textbooks, Emmett--married with children, a cat, and a duck--ruminates about the meaning of life during his pre-dawn sojourns alone. By the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning author of Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper. Reprint. 35,000 first printing. Bookseller Inventory # 4765373
Book Description Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 97803757060351.0
Book Description Vintage. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0375706038 *BRAND NEW* Ships Same Day or Next!. Bookseller Inventory # SWATI210884278
Book Description Vintage. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # 0375706038