House of Holes by Nicholson Baker

12465523House of Holes by Nicholson Baker
Published: 2011 by Simon Schuster
Adult, Fiction, Magical Realism
Pages: 272
Format: e-book
ISBN: 9781439189535
Book Depository

1 star

When I first heard of House of Holes, I thought: Ohhh, is this going to be one of those satirical magic realism novels that’s going to hit me in the back of the head with clever symbolism and metaphors, philosophy and what not?

Well, now that I’m done reading this, I can readily tell you that I’m on the fence. Of course, that’s not the entire truth because I’m not really on the fence too. In fact, I’m trying to convince myself that I’m on the fence because I was convinced that there’s supposed to be a greater meaning to this book—that there’s something else other than how creative the author got with some words.

You see, there are moments in this book which made me think like this. Little moments of wisdom like:

“I think I’m a bit in love,” said Shandee, “and the weird thing is I don’t know what Dave looks like, or what his voice is like, or what his personality is like, or anything.”

“Ain’t that the way it is sometimes,” Lila said. “You don’t know a damn thing about them and yet you love them to pieces.” Lila gave Dave’s arm a pat, sighing, and handed it back (p.34).

Then, there are moments like this just makes me think that those moments of wisdom are just figments of my imagination:

“Will you dance for me? Let your breasts roam for a moment — I need to see how they dance.’

‘Okay.’ She danced, and as she danced, she tried to think of the most delicious salads she could imagine — with artichokes and sundried tomato and blue cheese dressing, and beets, lots of beets” (p.185).

So, if I’m wrong about this book having a deeper meaning, if House of Holes is simply a book of raunch with some humor (not satire!) and nothing more, then I think I’ve read one of the more creative raunchy but shallow novels. Though, the humor didn’t really reach me since the tone of the entire novel is rather off, and I found the raunchy moments boring.

However, if this book was actually intended to be some kind of satire, then it has certainly missed it’s mark. There are barely any hidden meanings or critiques, and there is a severe lack of character development and plot, which made the book too shallow to be meaningful as well.

So yeah, you can see why I’m stuck and unable to form a more concrete opinion of this book.



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