Archived Nicholson Baker interview

Nicholson Baker talked in 1999 about the impact on his social life of the publication of Vox (a novel consisting of one phone sex conversation) and The Fermata (the confessions of a man who stops time in order to undress women):

I really don’t like talking about sex at a dinner party in a yo-ho-ho way. Having published two books that are fairly dirty, I find there’s a funny thing that happens, especially with men. They think, “Nick Baker is one of those horny guys who likes to talk about sex, so I’m going to tell sex stories.” The conversation suddenly becomes sexualized and everybody’s kind of squinting, and waving their arms around and thinking “Let’s not be here.” And it’s all Nick Baker’s fault. But I don’t want any of that to happen because I want it all to happen in the book, while the reader is in a state of receptive, imaginative sympathy with the character, or maybe horrified fascination, but somehow on his or her own and able to think about it in private.

A friend told me recently that she once spent the better part of a dinner party railing against Vox, only to discover that Nicholson Baker was sitting right next to her.


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