Wednesday, October 12, 2011

THe Groove Book Report: House Of Holes - Nicholson Baker - Simon and Shuster - $36.00

First, a wee commercial message: 'If you have a sex ache that needs relief, jump onto a Smutship and jig right over to the House of Holes. Oh,yes indeed, you'll find all sorts of gratification available, the huge variety is limited only by your own imagination. Ask and ye shall receive -- inhibitionists need not apply.

Baker, himself may look like quiet, calm almost puritanical - judging by his cover photo - but his writing is a veritable aladins cave of sexual fantasies and daliances. Yet there is an overwhelming femini touch here. In House of Holes only women get to visit this adult fun-park for free. Men, it seems must pay. If they run ot of money they can forfeit a limb or even their head to keep 'going'. One even gives up their most sacred appendage, as one man did swapping his penis for a womans' bits Then, in an amzing twist ended up being screwed by his own dick.! Another gives his right arm, literally to swap his for alargerpenis. Just a couple of examples of how Baker twists standard sexual fantasies into a very raunchy take on the standard wet dream.

There's no such thing as kinky sex in the House of Holes; every technique appears to be regarded as perfectly normal. For example, women visiting the House of Holes sometimes select a no-brainer option: sex with a headless (but otherwise alive) male body. Perhaps that's an apt metaphor for our contemporary popular culture, in which professional models and athletes are spectacularly rewarded, whereas the TV show Jeopardy constitutes our most profound national celebration of intellectual activity.

Nevertheless, the publication of House of Holes is not a major literary event. There's no deep plot or character development appears here to interfere with the unrelenting march of orgasmic vignettes. All chapters are short and only a few characters intertwine throughout the book, so we neverreally get to a final, err climax!. Sorry, had to be said.

There is plenty sporadic humor, but its few literary pretensions reduce to some clever puns and occasional references to cultural luminaries like Borodin, Dickens, and Hawking. The principal achievement is likely that it yields a huge thesaurus of novel sexual synonyms for genitalia. Yet again,despite the lurid graphic depiction of sexual activity, this is a book of 'un-titillation', which I get - is the point!

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