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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More whimsical episodes in the chaotic life of Paul Chowder, 13 Aug. 2014
By 
Thomas Cunliffe "Committed to reading" (Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Travelling Sprinkler (Paperback)
Travelling Sprinkler is a follow-up to Baker's novel, The Anthologist. It is written in the first person by fictional poet and academic Paul Chowder and sees Paul continue his disorganised life following the break up with his girlfriend Roz. Paul has now published his book Only Rhyme and has seem it adopted by a few colleges, pushing the sales considerably. Paul now spends his days visiting neighbours, messing about with a home music studio and plotting how to win back his girl-friend, who is still on his mind far more than she should be. He is experimenting with extra strong cigars and scorches his throat and messes up his mind with some pretty dangerous brands he finds in a local cigar store.

We are treated to Paul's thought-processes as he tries to get on with his life and this makes for a whimsical and amusing read. Many passages stand out - the barn-fire, the Quaker meetings, the uncomfortable meetings with Roz. In some ways you want to give him a shake and tell him to get a grip, but his generally chaotic life is all part of the charm of the book. In the Anthologist I learned a lot about poetry through Paul's digressions into his theories about rhyme. In Travelling Sprinkler I didn't learn much other than how you can create complex musical arrangements on your computer.

I would ideally like to give this book 4.5 stars. It only misses the fifth one because it's fractionally less good than The Anthologist but this does not mean that I don't esteem it as a great read.

Incidentally, the enhanced e-book edition of this book contains recordings by Nicholson Baker of the songs the fictional Paul produced in his studio. You can find samples quite easily by searching online for them and they sound pretty good in my opinion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like plot driven books then this isn't for you, 12 Aug. 2014
By 
chris "chrisellis93" (Croydon, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Travelling Sprinkler (Paperback)
Although this novel again features Paul Chowder from The Anthologist it can be read on its own and is a step up from that book in that the ramblings are broader-based and funnier. If you like plot driven books then this isn't for you. But if you like a book that pumps you full of ideas that you had never thought of before, indeed amusingly you had never wanted to think of before then you may get a lot of pleasure from it. His best so far I think.
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5.0 out of 5 stars 'I want to tell you something new', 8 Jan. 2015
By 
Eleanor (Oxford, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Travelling Sprinkler (Paperback)
"Travelling Sprinkler" consists of a monologue from Paul Chowder, the protagonist of Baker's novel "The Anthologist". Paul, a failed poet and reluctant ex-boyfriend, is recording this novel for us ("I have so much in my head that's screaming to get out. Politely requesting passage."), interspersing accounts of cigar-smoking, music-making (his compositions are available as a Spotify playlist) and Quaker meetings, with meditations on poetry, music, and anything else which comes into his head.

I loved this book. Nothing much happens, but that it isn't the point. What makes you keep reading is Paul's voice, alternating between profundity and bathos, the voice of a fundamentally decent, sometimes foolish man, trying to get through the days. I haven't read "The Anthologist", but I am now eager to seek it out and spend more time with Paul Chowder.

[I was given a free download of this book by the publishers for review.]
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 10 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Travelling Sprinkler (Kindle Edition)
jaunty, replete with contemporary references
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Travelling Sprinkler
Travelling Sprinkler by Nicholson Baker
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