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Nicholson Baker’s novel, The Mezannine, turned a lunch hour into a postmodern version of The Odyssey. In Room Temperature, originally published by Grove Press in 1984, Baker takes the reader even greater distance in the course of twenty minutes, although his narrator is obliged to be stationary, as he is giving his baby daughter her bottle. Though all in the room is still, the narrator’s mind is not, and in inspired moments of mental flight, Mike’s thoughts on his newfound parenthood lead him back to his own childhood and to reflections on the objects of his youth. From glass peanut butter jars to French horns, from typography to courtship, Baker mixes physics and the physical in a style that has earned him accolades throughout his entire career.

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