Fiction Baker, Nicholson A Box Of Matches

ISBN 13: 9780099448389

A Box Of Matches

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9780099448389: A Box Of Matches

A man gets up earlier and earlier each day, dresses in the dark, makes his coffee and lights the fire with a box of matches. Then he rummages through the thoughts that crowd his head and preoccupy him. Here is mid-life domesticated man, whose thoughts veer brilliantly from love and marriage, to firelighters and suicide, in the twinkling of an eye.

This is Baker at his best, humorous and observant, revealing the underlying truths about the ephemerality of life, the joy of small things, the darkness just the other side of everyday life - all human life in a box of matches.

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Review:

One man's simple, colloquial meditations on his past, his family, and his life's daily minutia are the substance of Nicholson Baker's A Box of Matches.

Feeling that life is passing him by, Emmett, a middle-aged medical textbook editor, decides to wake up early each day to sit by a fire in his country house and record his thoughts in a diary. "Good morning," Emmett begins, "its January and its 4.17 am, and I'm going to sit here in the dark." From this vantage point, Emmett reflects stream-of-consciousness style on whatever occurs to him, no matter how mundane: his recent trip to Home Depot, how he met his wife, the habits of the family duck. Routines, such as how he makes his morning coffee in the dark or picks up his underwear with his toes, are described with childlike reverence and directness.

All told, nothing much happens in A Box of Matches, which seems to be the point. Baker is more interested in the idea that for many, life is made up of such apparent trivialities, and that only by pausing to appreciate them can anyone gain any lasting satisfaction. Baker emphasises this through the moments of understated wisdom and joy that Emmett derives from ordinary occurrences, such as the daylight through the window: "a simple light that goes everywhere but with no heat, aware that it is taken for granted and content to be so."

This is the philosophical equivalent of a one-joke premise, however, and there are moments when Emmett's naiveté and laundry list-like narrative wear thin. Likely understanding this, Baker has wisely kept things short. A curious, often charming novel, A Box of Matches will inspire some readers, while inspiring frustration in others. --Ross Doll, Amazon.com

Review:

"Extraordinary prose" ( Sunday Times)

"As Kipling was to the secrets of the jungle, so is Baker to modern domesticity, equally ready with fascinating observation" ( Daily Telegraph)

"There is a good deal more everyday wonder here than in a hundred original miscellanies" ( Observer)

"This might be Baker's best yet - you're in for a treat" ( Evening Standard)

"Like the small, agreeable sensations it so deftly evokes, this modestly scaled story is a pleasure that can add cheer to an entire day" ( Spectator)

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 198 x 130 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. A man gets up earlier and earlier each day, dresses in the dark, makes his coffee and lights the fire with a box of matches. Then he rummages through the thoughts that crowd his head and preoccupy him. Here is mid-life domesticated man, whose thoughts veer brilliantly from love and marriage, to firelighters and suicide, in the twinkling of an eye. This is Baker at his best, humorous and observant, revealing the underlying truths about the ephemerality of life, the joy of small things, the darkness just the other side of everyday life - all human life in a box of matches. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099448389

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 198 x 130 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. A man gets up earlier and earlier each day, dresses in the dark, makes his coffee and lights the fire with a box of matches. Then he rummages through the thoughts that crowd his head and preoccupy him. Here is mid-life domesticated man, whose thoughts veer brilliantly from love and marriage, to firelighters and suicide, in the twinkling of an eye. This is Baker at his best, humorous and observant, revealing the underlying truths about the ephemerality of life, the joy of small things, the darkness just the other side of everyday life - all human life in a box of matches. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099448389

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Book Description Vintage Publishing. Paperback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, A Box of Matches, Nicholson Baker, A man gets up earlier and earlier each day, dresses in the dark, makes his coffee and lights the fire with a box of matches. Then he rummages through the thoughts that crowd his head and preoccupy him. Here is mid-life domesticated man, whose thoughts veer brilliantly from love and marriage, to firelighters and suicide, in the twinkling of an eye. This is Baker at his best, humorous and observant, revealing the underlying truths about the ephemerality of life, the joy of small things, the darkness just the other side of everyday life - all human life in a box of matches. Bookseller Inventory # B9780099448389

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Book Description Vintage. Book Condition: New. 2004. Paperback. A man gets up earlier and earlier each day, dresses in the dark, makes his coffee and lights the fire with a box of matches. Then, he rummages through the thoughts that crowd his head and preoccupy him. Here is mid-life domesticated man, whose thoughts veer from love and marriage, to firelighters and suicide, in the twinkling of an eye. Num Pages: 192 pages. BIC Classification: FA. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 195 x 130 x 13. Weight in Grams: 144. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780099448389

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