A National Book Critics Circle Award–winner elevates the ordinary events that occur to a man on his lunch hour into “a constant delight” of a novel (The Boston Globe).
In this startling, witty, and inexhaustibly inventive novel, New York Times–bestselling author Nicholson Baker uses a one-story escalator ride as the occasion for a dazzling reappraisal of everyday objects and rituals. From the humble milk carton to the act of tying one’s shoes, The Mezzanine at once defamiliarizes the familiar world and endows it with loopy and euphoric poetry.
Baker’s accounts of the ordinary become extraordinary through his sharp storytelling and his unconventional, conversational style. At first glance, The Mezzanine appears to be a book about nothing. In reality, it is a brilliant celebration of things, simultaneously demonstrating the value of reflection and the importance of everyday human experiences.
“A very funny book . . . Its 135 pages probably contain more insight into life as we live it today than anything currently on the best-seller list.” —The New York Times
“Captures the spirit of American corporate life and invests it with a passion and sympathy that is entirely unexpected.” —The Seattle Times
“Among the year’s best.” —The Boston Globe
“Baker writes with appealing charm . . . [He] clowns and shows off . . . rambles and pounces hard; he says acute things, extravagant things, terribly funny things.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Wonderfully readable, in fact gripping, with surprising bursts of recognition, humor and wonder.” —The Washington Post Book World
Baker's irresistibly readable short novel presents the quirkyand often hilariousinner life of a thoroughly modern office worker. With high wit and in precisely articulated prose, the unnamed narrator examines, in minute and comically digressive detail, the little things in life that illustrate how one addresses a problem or a new idea: the plastic straw (and its annoying tendency to float), the vacuous ci vilities of office chatter, doorknobs, neckties, escalators and the laughable evolution of milk deliveryfrom those old-fashioned hefty bottles to the folding carton. Using the keenly observed odds and ends of day-to-day consciousness, Baker allows his narrator to re-create the budding perceptions of a child facing a larger mysterious world, as each event in his day conjures up memories of previous incidents. Through the elegant manipulation of time, and sharp, defining memories of childhood, the narrator dissects each item of apparent cultural flotsam with the thoroughness of a prosaic, though wacky, technical manual. The rambling ``footnotes'' alone are worth the price of this cheerfully original novel.