House of Holes: A Book of RaunchBook | Nicholson Baker By Jeff Brewer
A raunchy little romp.
Told in a series of vignettes, Nicholson Baker's latest novel, House of Holes, mixes raunchy erotic fantasies with soft-core surrealism. Each vignette features interchangeable characters, all of whom are willingly or unknowingly extracted from their normal lives through "portkeys"—openings such as straws, earring holes, a clothes drier, a circle made from someone's thumb and index finger—and deposited into a dreamlike alternate universe, appropriately known as the "House of Holes." Once inside the pleasure resort, the characters are interviewed and assigned to their appropriate fetish rooms, by turns aptly or punningly named things like the Hall of Penises, the Groan Room, etc., where they become eager participants in wild sexual fantasies that range from simple gender-bending to much more peculiar exploits. As Baker's characters are reduced to their raw sexual desire, they take on more significant roles, successfully serving as separate portholes into Baker's provocative project. And when he's at his best, Baker brilliantly riffs on the limits of conventional sex by exploring how his characters' salacious libidos can lead to a delicious mess of unbridled and liberating bursts of imagination.