The Mezzanine

The Mezzanine The story of one man s lunch hour tackling the important issues of life such as Why does one shoe lace wear out before the other and Who invented the spout on the paper milk carton Nicholson Baker i

  • Title: The Mezzanine
  • Author: Nicholson Baker
  • ISBN: 9781862070981
  • Page: 102
  • Format: Paperback
  • The story of one man s lunch hour, tackling the important issues of life, such as Why does one shoe lace wear out before the other and Who invented the spout on the paper milk carton Nicholson Baker is the author of Vox , Room Temperature , The Fermata , U I and Thoughts.

    One thought on “The Mezzanine”

    1. At almost 6:45pm, I approached my house, noticing with annoyance that the bin men¹ had left the bins obstructing the driveway. I got out of the car, leaving the engine running², put the bins in their proper place, and drove the final few metres, parking in the shade of the laurel. I noticed it needed pruning, and worried that if we didn’t do it soon, our delightful neighbours might be put to the embarrassing inconvenience of having a quiet word.As I walked to the front door, I spotted a weed [...]

    2. A jaded, young wealthy aristocrat in French author Joris-Karl Huysmans’ slim novel À rebours (Against Nature) retreats to a country villa to construct a custom-made artificial world where he can live his entire solitary life on his own aesthetic, highly refined terms. In many ways, the main character in this slender Nicholson Baker book is the complete opposite of Huysmans’ - rather than being a jaded aristocrat, Baker’s narrator is an ordinary guy supremely attuned and energized by commo [...]

    3. As I read/battled with/was exasperated by/yelled at/finally accepted/was tickled pink by/was strangely transformed by Nicholson Baker’s utterly brilliant not-really-a-novel various thoughts went off in my brain and made snapping cracking noises like ice breaking. It’s one of the world’s thoughtiest books, even though it’s really quite tiny, but they’re not thoughts like Einstein or Wittgenstein or Stephen Hawking, they're all eensy-weensy thoughts, it’s more like being attacked by a [...]

    4. Whenever I get onto a train I look for the seat farthest from other passengers as possible. If I’m going to read, I need silence, or near silence—I need at least five or six seats distance. Finding the right seat is an exact science. This night, coming home from a concert, I enter the car and there are people spread at an infuriating equidistance apart, almost positioned on purpose at four-seat gaps to upset my four-to-six gap rule. I walk past a few shaggy night-people, including a man lurk [...]

    5. "The mind is refrigerated by interruption; the thoughts are diverted from the principle subject; the reader is weary, he suspects not why; and at last throws away the book, which he has too diligently studied."- Samuel JohnsonToo fat, fat you must cut lean.You got to take the elevator escalator to the mezzanine,Chump, change, and it's on, super bon bonSuper bon bon, Super bon bon.Soul Coughing, Super Bon Bon LyricsThis book is a literary scrimshaw of the mundane. It is basically a man breaking h [...]

    6. Tantric YankThis novella almost felt like having tantric sex with Sting.If it had lasted any longer, it would have become tedious. So, at 135 pages, it was just the right length. Nicholson Baker set out his goals and demonstrated his ability to achieve them, but he stopped just before either he or we lost interest in the whole project.Semen and ShoelacesWhat was he trying to achieve? As often happens, Baker gave us some insight in the book itself:"Observe, in short, how transient and trivial is [...]

    7. THIS BOOK IS ABOUT A BUSINESSMAN HE GOES UP AN ESCALATOR AND THINKS ABOUT THINGSDue to my vast intelegense * and uncanny ability to read minds, I believe I know what you're thinking. It's probably something like this:"You fucking cockbag! I've been waiting for a review from you for a month and a half, eagerly visiting your page every two hours, hoping the number of reviews will have gone up from 42 to 43, hoping also that you will have finally uploaded a picture so I can see your handsome visage [...]

    8. I feel bad about giving this book only two stars. Because Baker is a good writer. No, not just good, he is quite brilliant. It can't be easy to write a book about everyday life's nothingness. But Baker pulls it off. The novel is written in a stream-of-consciousness kind of manner, except the thoughts aren't incomplete or muddled up. The writing is perfectly articulate. Baker flows from one thought to another very smoothly. You know there are times when we find ourselves thinking of something, bu [...]

    9. Whatever happened to predictabilityThe milkman, the paperboy, evening TVHow did I get delivered hereSomebody tell me, pleaseThis old world's confusing meThe corporate environment has changed a lot since 1990. These days, memos are no longer circulated in hard copy, and the stapler is something of an arcane object. The world has moved on. We no longer lament the loss of the milkman or paper straws (who knew that straws used to be made from paper!) But many things remain the same: the implicit rul [...]

    10. This book is so good. It's about something I've wondered about and been fascinated by but have remained unable to articulate for almost my entire life: how the material culture and physical environment of our time and place shape human experience. I've been interested in that idea since I was a little kid but have never understood how to conceptualize it clearly.At the moment I can't think of many things more exciting than discovering a novel that addresses a huge question you've had for so long [...]

    11. It is three forty-three in the morning and I stand over a changing table. My naked newborn child lays on his back on the concave cushion and I hold his feet together above him so that he does not kick himself or drag his feet through his own feces. I slide a new, clean diaper underneath the dirty one, then grab and pull the dirty one out from under him. I wrap the dirty diaper around itself, making a tight little ball that contains and prevents any leakage with some unknown combination of soft, [...]

    12. Published in 1986, The Mezzanine will have special resonance for anyone of my generation and above, with its deliciously accurate descriptions of Prell commercials, cigarette vending machines, and other recently gone extinct species of our culture. As a 27-year-old experimental novel, I was afraid the style might be dated, but quite the opposite: I think readers today might feel this book's reverence for the physical world, even a late 20th-century American physical world dominated by franchises [...]

    13. I am a child, according to The Mezzanine wonderer, if the end of adulthood is the end of childhood nostalgia as basis of comparison. I am a child. It was a time (it felt like the kind of forever when your mind wanders and you can't remember what you were doing before when you snap out of it. This is not a long book) before I let go of my old childhood definitions. I had a name for the "personality type" of the narrator: "Protected dork". They were awkward as I was in a way that society didn't to [...]

    14. This is the book for those readers who like a protagonist they can identify with. Ever break a shoelace? And for gods' sake don't skip the footnotes.

    15. It's hard to rate this book, because on many levels it is brilliant. Just brilliant. Yet, lets just say, there is not much narrative tension and that is an understatement of the century.The writer is hilarious. And the character, a complete nerd who cannot stop thinking about the most mundane daily activities that we all don't bother thinking about, is amazingly well developed in merely 120 pages.So, basically it's about a man who leaves his office to find new shoelaces. That is the book. Along [...]

    16. Wow did I love this - I think the concept, which is relatively easily understood (a man on an escalator has a series of thoughts about life's mundanities ), doesn't get across how funny this is, or how insightful. I laughed out loud at this book so often(the sharp analysis of the pleasures of vending machines, dispensers, footnotes, bathrooms, small-talk, cashiers) but I equally enjoyed the slow accumulation of facts about the protagonist's life and his constant dance across the surface of nosta [...]

    17. I really loved this book. I've not read many novels since high school, and thus don't have a lot to compare it to, but I think it might now be my favorite book.To give away the plot: Man rides up escalator, thinks about stuff. That's it -- no other characters, no "rising action," or whatever they called it in English class, but it's still dazzling and engaging. Nicholson Baker picks up little details and riffs on them, spending pages nesting digression within digression (with the aid of liberal [...]

    18. I, too, have wondered, based on the handrail of an escalator moving faster than the steps, how often the handrail laps the steps! And I had to read the perforation footnote aloud to my puzzled husband trying to explain how perfect this book is, and how seriously funny it is and at the same time how the evocation of a texture of our lives -- like the perfect description of that satisfaction in the two-stage resistance of a stapler -- creates something that feels like nostalgia, but more substanti [...]

    19. The head of the main hero is freighted with such outright trash and garbage that he keeps mentally digesting that he has no time to live his life.“The pursuit of truth doesn't have clear outer boundaries: it doesn't end with the book; restatement and self-disagreement and the enveloping sea of referenced authorities all continue.”One has enough time to consume but one hardly has enough time to start living.

    20. “I love the constancy of shine on the edges of moving objects” reads a footnote in Baker’s “The Mezzanine” and might as well describe the book in whole.This is a novella-sized work that takes a reader far without length. Baker dives into observational consciousness and swims around just long enough to captivate without going overboard. I found myself at times laughing harder and yep-me-tooing over footnotes in a way that sometimes DF Wallace can’t even touch.And but so that should te [...]

    21. This is the first time I've read something that really reminded me of Wallace, without actually being something by Wallace. Baker's attention to detail is really impressive here, as it should be, since this novel is basically a celebration of attention to detail. Ever wondered about the architectural similarities between locomotives, phonograph tonearms, and staplers? (I know nothing about phonograph tonearms, actually) How about the twilight age and slow death of bottled milk delivery? Or the i [...]

    22. The Mezzanine sent my head into over analytical floptwist; the relatable introspection, the crisp details, and oh geez gode footnotes, from up to down to across and back up again. Options explored with footnotes: 1) Stop mid sentence, read the footnotes, come back 2) finish the tangent, go back and read the footnotes 3) screw these footnotes. But I never chose option 3 for fear that I might miss something crucial, regarding broken shoelaces, the buoyancy of paper straws, whistling in the men's r [...]

    23. This book is simply dull. Its gimmick is that it documents the random thoughts passing through its narrator's head during a completely uneventful lunch hour. I knew before starting that the book was essentially plotless, but I had hoped, rashly, that it wouldn't also be pointless. The narrator witters on about the patterns of wear on his shoelaces, the varieties of escalator experience, and how he puts on his socks. None of it is particularly interesting, none of it has any kind of unifying them [...]

    24. WHAT a refreshing read! Written from a unique point of view that rarely makes an appearance in literature. As much as I enjoyed the little idiosyncracies, sadly it just wasn't my cup of tea.

    25. Quite a brilliant little book, but possibly only because the author seems to live inside his own head as much as I do. What happens here is 120 pages of one man going to get shoelaces on his lunch break and coming back to the office. That's it. That's all that happens. The rest is commentary on just about every mundane activity that could possibly happen on such an "adventure." If you're already saying to yourself, "oh, one of THOSE books," bail out now. This isn't for you. And I certainly can't [...]

    26. Nicholson Baker's novels are examples of of trying to imbue the minute trivialities of modern life with unseen philosophical and personal significance. Exhibiting an affinity for minutiae and ponderous disquisition, he is noted for transforming otherwise banal human activities into finely wrought descriptions of thought and serious consideration. His technique of extreme magnification and loitering contemplation has been described as creating a “clogging” effect in his fiction, thus slowing [...]

    27. This is a little gem, with a few laughs, and the character's attention to the seemingly insignificant details during a work day are rendered significant, making your own feel not only worthy of contemplating and savoring, but necessary. "Manifestly, no condition of life could be so well adapted for the practice of philosophy as this in which chance finds you today!" As he says, upon leaving a job, your focus is upended, such that where mostly you felt the importance was the work and job itself, [...]

    28. The Mezzanine's obsessive protagonist appeals to my post-grad, corporate working self who also spends most of my working hours 'meditating' over trivial shits (including writing this review). I particularly enjoyed the Aurelius references and self-aware footnote abuse. The elevator, possibly the most important motif, reminds me of Rem Koolhaas' The Harvard Design School Guide to Shopping / Harvard Design School Project on the City 2 where he details the dictation of spatial/temporal experience t [...]

    29. Let's just say, this was the longest 135-page book I've ever read. I knew going in that it was a stream-of-consciousness, footnote-heavy, type of ramble. I'm okay with that style, and I even relate to it. If I were to write a book, I'd certainly want to go off on tangents and riff about random things. But, I just didn't connect with the mind that was being presented here. This could be misconstrued, but there was something so "male" about the author's thought process. Or, at least, that's how it [...]

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *