Published: 7 July 2011
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 144 pages
The Mezzanine is the story of one man's lunch hour. It addresses the big questions of corporate life, like: Why does one shoelace always wear out before the other? Whose genius lies behind the folding spout on the milk carton? Whatever happened to the paper drinking-straw?
Nicholson Baker's hilarious debut novel documents the thoughts of an office worker as he day-dreams on the escalator, on his way to buy shoe-laces. Sparklingly original, intelligent and digressive, it paved the way for authors such as David Foster Wallace and Joshua Ferris and introduced one of the most controversial and acclaimed authors in America today.
‘The Mezzanine's ambitions are as grand as its obsessions are small, and out of that dispartiy comes a refined and engaging chatter strung about wiht great jokes. It's also useful, full of debates about paper towels and putting on socks ... Andy Warhol would have loved this book: he would have bought 2,000 copies, just for a laught. Everybody else should make do with just the one’
‘Baker's brilliant, hyper-stylish comedy of modern manners announces the arrival of a true original. His novel is a trumph of intellectual shock - the shock of the newly seen’
‘Nicholson Baker turns out not to be a smart-arse but merely smart - among the smartest, as anybody who does themselves the favour of reading this short book will quickly discover’
‘With its enjoyably digressive footnotes, this short but hugely inventive novel helped point the way for the audacious styles of writers such as Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace. Twenty-three years on, The Mezzanine retains much of its power and humour ... Baker is brilliant at making even the smallest observation seem important. In many ways, The Mezzanine feels just as relevant as it would have done in 1988 - with one obvious exception. Most people, these days, wouldn't sit on a bench drinking milk pondering the meaning of life during their lunch break. They'd prod at their smartphones and check Facebook, digressions that can't hold a candle to Baker's’ Ben East