> The Things You Can Read: Review: Traveling Sprinkler by Nicholson Baker

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Review: Traveling Sprinkler by Nicholson Baker

Title:  Traveling Sprinkler: A Novel
Author:  Nicholson Baker

Genre:  Realistic Fiction
Themes:  Aging, Relationships, Identity
Publisher/Publication Date:  PENGUIN GROUP Blue Rider Press/September 17, 2013

Source:  Net Galley
Rating:  Five of Five Stars
Finished/Not Finished:  Finished

One-sentence summary:  A professor of poetry longs to write the protest song of his generation as he struggles to deal with his life at fifty-five.

Cover Art:  Neutral on the cover

Try Traveling Sprinkler if you liked...The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker, Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, Night Film by Marisha Pessl

First & Second line:  "Roz called to ask me what I wanted for my fifty-fifth birthday. One of her many good qualities is that she remembers people's birthdays." Traveling Sprinkler: A Novel by Nicholson Baker

Buy, Borrow, Listen, or Avoid:  Buy, Borrow, or listen if you like realistic fiction, which deals with the types of themes previously mentioned.

Why did I get this book?:  I liked the summary, and I am a fan of quirky Indie films, and this book sounded like an Indie film from the description.


After reading the summary of Traveling Sprinkler , I really wanted to read the novel, but worried that not having read its predecessor, The Anthologist, I'd be at a big disadvantage.  Not to worry, Baker's newest novel is easily read as a stand alone.  I'm sure the history of Paul's relationship with his former girlfriend, Roz, was developed in the first novel, but Baker tells you just enough to understand the current relationship between these two characters, so as not to feel at a loss.  I have to admit, after reading his newest novel it did make me want to get my hands on a copy of The Anthologist as soon as humanly possible.  I loved  Paul Chowder, the protagonist, that much, and will be going through withdrawals, until such time, as I can find a copy of Nicholson's prior book.

If you are a fan of Indie movies then you will welcome Baker's newest novel with open arms.  Its a novel version of a really clever, quirky Indie film.  From avoiding working on his current poetry book, to working out at Planet Fitness, we see a man floundering to deal with the second of the two F birthdays:  Fifty-five.  To fill his days he attends Quaker meetings, dabbles in finding the best cigar,  muses about Debussy, teaches himself to play the guitar, feeds his neighbor's chickens, and ruminates about minute details from his past.  If you are expecting an action packed novel full of mini-climaxes you should look elsewhere for your next read.  This is a slow journey that is to be savored much like a traveling sprinkler.

"Roz called to ask me what I wanted for my fifty-fifth birthday.  One of her many good qualities is that she remembers people's birthdays." Traveling Sprinkler: A Novel by Nicholson Baker

A new novel by bestselling author Nicholson Baker reintroduces feckless but hopeful hero Paul Chowder, whose struggle to get his life together is reflected in his steadfast desire to write a pop song, or a protest song, or both at once.

Does Traveling Sprinkler: A Novel by Nicholson Baker grab your attention?  Is it a novel you'd be interested in reading?  Have you read any of Nicholson Baker's other books?  Let us know here at The Things You Can Read!

Happy reading to all! ☮

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