The Everlasting Story of Nory Hardcover – 30 Apr 1998
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"Baker has created a world in which imagination still gets the better of its new roommate, reason. . . . [The Everlasting Story of Nory is] a map of the 9-year-old mind, drawn perfectly to scale." --Daily News
"Baker turn[s] his celebrated powers. . .on the strange inner life of an American girl. . . . Nory is as large as life and twice as
natural." --The New York Times Book Review
"Thoughtful and daft, sure-footed and tentative. . . . [The Everlasting Story of Nory is] pitch-perfect." --The Wall Street Journal
"Tender, insightful, and hilarious." --Harper's Bazaar --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From the Inside Flap
Our supreme fabulist of the ordinary now turns his attention on a 9-year-old American girl and produces a novel as enchantingly idiosyncratic as any he has written. Nory Winslow wants to be a dentist or a designer of pop-up books. She likes telling stories and inventing dolls. She has nightmares about teeth, which may explain her career choice. She is going to school in England, where she is mocked for her accent and her friendship with an unpopular girl, and she has made it through the year without crying.
Nicholson Baker follows Nory as she interacts with her parents and peers, thinks about God and death-watch beetles, and dreams of cows with pointed teeth. In this precocious child he gives us a heroine as canny and as whimsical as Lewis Carroll's Alice and evokes childhood in all its luminous weirdness. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Sweet it is, but it lacks a coherent story arc, apart from Nory's growing friendship with bullied Pamela. It would have been nice to set it against the run up to an event such as a school play to give some pace. Mostly it's just a day by day account together with Nory's rather weird stories she makes up in her mind, and a little repetitive.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The Everlasting Story of Nory is a refreshing reminder of how important it is to stay creative, young, and open minded. Baker documents the life of Eleanor (Nory) Winslow, a nine year old American girl who is spending a semester at an English school.
Like most 9 year olds, Nory dreams of things that most adults are too jaded to consider-- like creating a museum of plastic sushi, or being a pop-up book engineer.
As adults we may take ourselves too seriously, or trivialize the lives of children-- but Baker runs time in reverse and brings the adult reader back to fourth grade, to a land of run-on sentences and malapropisms, where the lives of insects and adventures of stuffed ! animals are more significant than politics or money or other phenomena that adults hold so close to their hearts.
If there is a darker theme beneath this story, I haven't been able to find it. Rather, Nory is about the distinct flavor of happiness that disappears when we become teenagers and adults. Warning: this book may compell you to act like a 9 year old.
This book is insightful, brilliant, etc - it's also USEFUL if you have school age children in your life. When they can't talk yet, we know they're not rational; but it's so easy to forget that children look like they have a lot more figured out than they sometimes do. Hang out in the inside of Nory's mind for awhile, and remember how confusing and scary and wonderful and BIG the world was when you were small.
The book also presents a textbook example of parents allowing a child's good sense to guide her in a moral dilemma. Again, of course the literary value of the book is more important, but how fabulous to read a book with such a flawlessly moral tone as well.
The major let-down of The Everlasting Story Of Nory is that it never quite coalesces into the novel that it wants to be. Where Baker's previous novels have succeeded in being both meandering streams of consciousness as well as complete stories, TESON falls short of the mark. TESON reads more like a collection of short stories than a novel. (The Martian Chronicles come immediately to mind. The stories are certainly closely linked, but by no means comprise a novel.)
Despite that failing, however, The Everlasting Story Of Nory remains a delightful read.