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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly original, perceptive, funny and thought provoking
Every so often, one comes across a book that is truly unique. As far as I am concerned, this, for me, is it. The life and times of a lunch hour set out in a highly descriptive and annoyingly accurate tale of life. The book is divided into sections outlining the various thoughts of one man going to lunch, who has more in common with us than we may care to realise. We are...
Published on 29 Aug 2000

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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Clever, but ultimately dull.
Crammed into a single lunch hour of a rather odd, obsessive main character, this book begins as a series of witty observations and thoughts on the mundane but intricate details of everyday life. These are the kind of details that most of us ignore in their hundreds daily, but Baker takes time to dissect, explain and theorize upon them. It's an engaging, interesting...
Published on 3 April 2002


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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly original, perceptive, funny and thought provoking, 29 Aug 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Mezzanine (Paperback)
Every so often, one comes across a book that is truly unique. As far as I am concerned, this, for me, is it. The life and times of a lunch hour set out in a highly descriptive and annoyingly accurate tale of life. The book is divided into sections outlining the various thoughts of one man going to lunch, who has more in common with us than we may care to realise. We are told of the subject's inner most thoughts, such as office etiquette, the transition from paper to plastic straws, and the 'obvious' trials encountered when your shoelace decides to die. The true genius of this book can be realised when one reads a section on the life expectancy of a shoelace. I admit, one may find it difficult not to skip to the next chapter in the hands of an ordinary author, yet one becomes fascinated with the depth of thought that has gone into this (and every other) section, which has been brought together through an amazing eye for wit and detail.
Not only is this book a pleasant change from the normal "paint-by-numbers" approach to story formulation, one is surprised at the simple humour that can be found in the apparently simple acts that our subject performs during his day.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Minutiae matters, 6 Nov 2006
This review is from: The Mezzanine (Paperback)
There are a million and one tiny thoughts that flit unbidden through the human mind every day, and most slip through the fingers before they are even acknowledged. Baker has a gift for retaining these wraith-like filaments of imagination and making them concrete. In what is ostensibly a collection of the thoughts of a man on his lunch hour, Baker takes us through a wildly diverting tour of the minutiae of everyday life, from the coincidental but strangely logical patterns of shoelace wear and tear, to the merits and aesthetics of Soviet-esque stapler arms. Brilliant and jaw-droppingly intuitive, Baker serves up a lunchbox treat of hyper-stylish trivia liberally seasoned with backhanded jokes and a supreme understanding of the human mind.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Series of observations about minutiae, 28 Mar 2006
By 
Martin Harley (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Mezzanine (Paperback)
It seems to be fairly dividing the audience down the middle, this book. A couple of other reviewers have given it just one star, & said the author's trying too hard to be clever. Others have said he's engrossing, fascinating and funny.

I guess one way to approach it is to ask yourself how your own brain works, and realise what it is you spend your day thinking about - the sort of stuff you find interesting. It's a very personal question, and your answer will be particular only to you, because other people's brains don't work the same way. Question: Do you find it fascinating to think about the tiny, fine details of things, such as why one shoelace wears out before the other (why not both at the same time, since you walk on each foot the same amount?); or gents wash-room ettiquette ?

If you're that type of person, then you will find Nicholson Baker an auther who shares your curiosity - and he uses his books to hold forth on the minutiae of life - the sprockets in celluloid film; candlewick bedspreads; the day-dreams we have - and he does it in a highly funny way. Me: I find his books fascinating and he makes me laugh, and if you like this book, try "Vox", "The Fermata" and "A Box of Matches".
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an obsessive synthesis through nightsight binoculars under, 28 Feb 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The Mezzanine (Paperback)
Ever wondered how things work,the everyday little things we use and do? Do you like footnotes and digressions?Baker is on acid,but superbly controlled -I don't know how he did it. He grabs approaches from early Beckett,Georges Perec,Paul Auster and even self improvement like Pirsig's Zen and Motorcycle Maintenance.It is probably at the end a lament for childhood memories or a rite of passage through minutiae to what?I read it in alcohohol recovery and it showed me the small picture can be the big one.Unfortunately all the shared references are USA it would be good to have a GB cultural edition.At the end a work of possible genius.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entering someone else's mind, if only for a little while..., 2 Oct 2011
By 
Charlie Styr (Shropshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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I really enjoyed this book. I am not a book critic by any means, I have only just started reading on a regular basis, but I am enjoying it greatly, good books, bad books, all genres and ideas.

When I read about the author of this book in a newspaper I looked up the first work which was mentioned in the article, "The Mezzanine", I read descriptions and it sounded exactly like what I would enjoy in a book. What I love about media, whether it be photography, film or now books, what I like is to immerse myself in the ordinary, but not my ordinary, someone else's ordinary. I adore films such as Lost in Translation for example, and this book fit the bill to give me pleasure.

I was right in what I suspected, I read the book in only a couple of days, as it is very small, 135 pages in the edition I read. It's structure is unique, at least unlike anything I have read, with long, floating foot notes that wander from the source and become small stories in themselves, whilst the main story itself continues on. I was laughing to the point at tears at some of the chapters, especially his lengthy discussion of men's bathroom etiquette in an office situation... hilarious!

I would recommend this book to anyone that loves to immerse themself in, as I said, someone else's normality, their every day lives, but an every day life that is not your own. This book submerges you in the mind of the main character, and you feel as though you are along for the ride of one of his lunch breaks - it's really great.

Wholeheartedly recommended.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Mezzanine, 7 Mar 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Mezzanine (Paperback)
This is as great a book as 'Catcher in the Rye'. If you like a book where nothing much happens, but everything ( and I mean everything) is noted down, mulled over, and given great significance for its existence in the moment, then you should enjoy this book. If you think about things, or get stuck on the correct spelling of easy words, then you should enjoy it too.
If you want to start thinking about the detail of what you do, and the why of you doing it, then this book will give you the chance to realise your dream.
If you want to read about a lawyer who nearly gets murdered by his client, John Grisham is down the hall.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Proust with Asperger Syndrome, 27 Sep 2008
By 
Daniel Bor (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Mezzanine (Paperback)
Proust with Asperger Syndrome. Baker describes one work lunch-hour with dizzying detail, and an array of huge, memory-saturated asides about the little, technical things in life: shoelaces, straws, staplers, escalators, etc. At times this can become tedious, but I also found it terribly immersive, wonderfully fresh, and in the end full of a life-affirming reverence for the wonders of technology and the human curiosity that has generated it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read, 31 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Mezzanine (Paperback)
Interesting elongated description of everyday things, if that's what you want. Guess it may have too many words for a lot of people.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love this!, 11 Jun 2011
This review is from: The Mezzanine (Paperback)
I bought my first one of these when I was at university had to buy another because the first one was so worn out.
MM

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0054LNNIQ/ref=docs-os-doi_0
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! It is one to experience but may not appeal to all readers but I would wholeheartedly reccomend it, 13 July 2009
By 
Mrs. C. A. Hedges "Clare antony" (Suffolk UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Mezzanine (Paperback)
The Mezzanine (Granta Paperbacks)
Read this book! You will be enriched by detail and astonished by your empathy.
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