Baker had a reading at the bookstore where I used to work. He was very tall and quite bald. He read from The Fermata and, while reading, blushed so violently crimson that his head resembled a large, over-ripe tomato perched atop his neck.
Anytime I've thought to read the book I've been put off by the recollection of his vividly scarlet dome.
--- On Thu, 1/8/09, jacquesdebierue <email@example.com> wrote:
From: jacquesdebierue <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Salt River by James Sallis
Date: Thursday, January 8, 2009, 6:37 PM
--- In rara-avis-l@ yahoogroups. com, "Sarah" <sarah.weinman@ ...> wrote:
> Now, Baker's outside the scope of rara-avis - if anything, he's
> probably the antithesis -- but really boys, I must beg to differ.
> Saying THE MEZZANINE is "a novel about an office work's ride up an
> escalator" is to miss the point. Yes, that's the outer framework, but
> Baker's using this mundane task as a window into the joys that can and
> should be found in minutiae. So often we're on the move, rushing off
> somewhere, in the midst of carrying out our daily tasks that we don't
> stop to consider there might be some wonder and fun and exuberance
> found interstitially.
I love insterstitiality and marginality, but in The Fermata Baker
didn't convince me that he's truly weird, a true and original
eccentric. He doesn't carry off the trick of sounding both innocent,
weird and original (like Kafka, Borges, Calvino, Queneau, Bolaño and
Willeford, to give a few examples). It must be really hard to take off
the learned suit and become truly innocent, at least to the reader.
Within our genre, nobody did that like Willeford.
Let me just say that I did not mean to say anything bad about Baker.
He's a good writer.
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