U & I

A True Story

Nicholson Baker

Published: 7 July 2011
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 192 pages
ISBN: 9781847083517


When Nicholson Baker, one of the most linguistically talented writers in America, set out to write a book about John Updike, the result was no ordinary biography. Instead Baker's account of his relationship with his hero is a hilarious story of ambition, obsession, talent and neurosis, alternately self-deprecating and self-aggrandizing. More memoir than literary criticism, Baker is excruciatingly honest, and U & I reveals at least as much about Baker himself as it does about his idol. Written twenty years before Updike's death in 2009, U & I is a very smart and extremely funny exploration of the debts we owe our heroes.

About the author

Image of Nicholson Baker

Nicholson Baker was born in New York in 1957. He is the author of eight novels, including The Mezzanine, Vox and Room Temperature, all published by Granta Books, and five non-fiction works, including a book about John Updike, U & I, and Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper, for which he won the 2001 National Book Critics Circle Award. More about the author


‘A meditation on how we remember, and how we celebrate, writers and writing.’



‘A subtle, funny and, in its way, profoundly serious study of the means by which art and artists are made’ John Banville

‘An intense, touchy, rivalrous extended essay on his obsession with John Updike ... neither Updike nor anyone else could write a book quite like this’

‘An offbeat homage and confession of authorial anxiety’

‘Nicholson Baker is a canny modern writer. He is building a sharp and singular library of the interior life and U and I is a decisive and welcome addition’ Robert Winder

‘One of the most entertaining and penetrating studies of literary admiration since Vladimir Nabokov's Pale Fire

‘Ridiculously talented’

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