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House of Holes: A Book of Raunch [Paperback]

Nicholson Baker
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 8.85 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product details

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (7 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439189528
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439189528
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,224,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Nicholson Baker's House of Holes 11 Dec 2012
By Siru
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Nicholson Baker is great humourists of our time.

I wish more people found his highly erotic books like House of Holes, The Fermata and VOX.
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Amazon.com: 2.6 out of 5 stars  63 reviews
83 of 87 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bawdy and naughty 9 Aug 2011
By "switterbug" Betsey Van Horn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Nicholson Baker has proven that he can make the familiar very strange. Consider his first novel, Mezzanine , where a man is on a lunch hour hunt for shoelaces. All the odds and ends, the digressions and pop-up thoughts that can enter a desultory mind, are playfully and artfully presented in a readable and engaging manner.

In Vox, a lonely man and woman hook up on the phone. They are able to talk about everyday matters and lure the reader into their idle chatter, so that the sexual banter is fluid instead of gratuitous.

In his last novel, The Anthologist, Baker uses stream-of-consciousness to wax poetic and edify the reader about verse. My personal favorite, Human Smoke, is an exquisite tome that shifts the kaleidoscope on history's sacred cows.

Baker chose a small concept idea for his latest, HOUSE OF HOLES, a cheeky plunge into lust and vulgarity so steep and rank, so exhaustive and consummate, that it is recommended to be read in small doses. That's easy, as each surreal chapter is its own short carnal experience. Although some characters appear in several chapters, they are not immersed into a tight, ongoing storyline, except for Shandee, who finds a male arm, which is detached from its owner (Dave), and seeks to find the rest of his body. The eponymous HOH is the main character, and everyone else is a fornicating subject. People come to the House of Holes to make their prurient dreams come true.

Somewhere or anywhere/everywhere are circles that are potential portals--the end of a straw, the putting tee of the seventh green, the fourth dryer from the left at the laundromat at the corner of 18th Street and Grover Avenue--that will suck up (or down) and send the willing concupiscent to the House of Holes. There are no limits to what you can do with your anatomy at HOH, and Baker will provide infinite LMAO and OMG moments as you read.

I don't think any author has come up with so many creative terms for the most intimate parts of our body: meatstick, truncheon, length of badness, bulldog, hamsteak, thundertube, beast, frilly, slobbering kitty, bungee hole, slippery salope, cold Snapple in my condo--well, you get the point.

Highbrow and lowbrow blend together, and it is evident that Baker is a scholar with a wanton repertoire of ideas. Some chapters are more "fulfilling" than others, also. For example, a woman nose-dives into a portal and ends up inside her friend's penis. Getting out was quite the liberating experience for both of them.

Crotchal transfers, temporary scrotal removal, sex with headless men, Penis Washes, Hall of the Armless Men--this is just a fraction of the dizzying booty in this book, just an ampule of the sex blasts of comic and twisted derangement provided between these sticky pages. Rather than read it solo, this would make a humorously lewd parlor game between trusted friends at a dinner party (make that AFTER dinner). You could truth or dare it--read a chapter on a dare--but I wouldn't advise trying any of these tricks yourself, or with each other!

Take a ride on the "Pornsucker" ship or gaze at the 12-screen Porndecahedron of licentious delights. This review comes with a warning, however, something that Erica Jong once said:

"My reaction to porno films is as follows; After the first ten minutes, I want to go home and screw, after the first twenty minutes, I never want to screw again as long as I live."
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surreal, surprising, and hilarious 8 Sep 2011
By JA - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is not for everyone, I'll say that right up top. It is, however, for me. I absolutely loved it... a plunge into pit of happy promiscuity. It is true, as everyone says, that there isn't a traditional "plot" -- the book consists of a series of interlacing vignettes, but characters appear and reappear, moving in and out of each other's stories, summoned when other characters press the "sex now" button or showing up as recruiters (to the House of Holes) after their own initiations. The book is raunchy, yes, but also deliberately and deliciously silly, and Baker gives himself free reign to explore the absurdist outer limits of sexual fantasy in a way that many other writers, particularly prominent ones, would be embarrassed to do. There really isn't any other book like this.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Like an SNL sketch stretched to movie length 15 Sep 2011
By Nedzepelin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Though I've always enjoyed Nicholson Baker's books, I think he falls short with this one. Sure, he has something to say in House of Holes, but he says it over and over again, without much variation. Yes, sex is fun. Fantasizing about sex is fun. Even the most bizarre fantasies are wholesome in their own way. No need to heap it on. If your looking for excellent literary porn, try to find a copy of William Kotwinkle's Night Book. Now there's an entertaining and imaginative book.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Book of Raunch 28 Aug 2011
By Wobo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
First off, the only books I've read by Baker are the Mezzanine, Vox, and Room Temperature, with the last being my absolute favorite. I liked these books because they offered an inquisitive look at curious and seemingly mundane things, descriptions of the ordinary, and views into the simplest things which often reveal a gleam of joy or acknowledgement from the reader.

This book is absolutely nothing like those three books, even Vox which was very sexual.

Anyways, to the things I LIKED about this book: it was very funny in some parts, and it gave me a huge amount of "...wait what?" moments that required a short reread.

An example of that would be the part when

**spoiler**
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The two girls talk about wanting to see a naked man, and the other lady tells them they should just eat this special acorn so they do, and then they poop out the acorn which hatches into little men, which they then rub and which turn into normal men.

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**/spoiler**

However, I felt like the book as a whole was extremely disjointed, and all of the various 'places' and 'things' that occur in the house of holes were simply presented and not given a lot of description. I never felt like I knew any of these characters, from Dave's amputated arm to the Porn monster in the end, but simply saw glimpses into their lives. That is what this book seems like - a glimpse into the lives of extremely horny people who find themselves in a futuristic sci-fi sex-fueled utopia. If that sounds like your type of book, then it'll certainly be a fascinating, eye opening ride. If not, then either glance through this book or avoid it entirely.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crude, rude, erotic, and utterly hilarious! 23 Aug 2011
By Joan Price - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Baker is brilliant writer and a master of invention. In this joyful and irreverent novel, Baker offers a pleasure resort where guests can experience every manner of sexual titillation and fulfillment, including many that they (and we) never could have imagined.

If you've got a fantasy, describe it and it's yours. If you don't, or you stammer trying to communicate it, the House of Holes opens up to show you sex acts, partners (including a tree and a lake), and an overflow of erotic possibilities.

I loved this book, especially Baker's inventive language. Thank you, Mr. Baker, for such fine fun.

Joan Price

UPDATE: The negative reviews have my shaking my head in bewilderment. I think some reviewers didn't realize this is a *parody* of porn -- and an exceptionally clever one!
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