A Box of Matches

A Box of Matches Emmett has a wife and two children a cat and a duck and he wants to know what life is about Every day he gets up before dawn makes a cup of coffee in the dark lights a fire with one wooden match

  • Title: A Box of Matches
  • Author: Nicholson Baker
  • ISBN: 9780375706035
  • Page: 149
  • Format: Paperback
  • Emmett has a wife and two children, a cat, and a duck, and he wants to know what life is about Every day he gets up before dawn, makes a cup of coffee in the dark, lights a fire with one wooden match, and thinks What Emmett thinks about is the subject of this wise and closely observed novel, which covers vast distances while moving no further than Emmett s hearth and homEmmett has a wife and two children, a cat, and a duck, and he wants to know what life is about Every day he gets up before dawn, makes a cup of coffee in the dark, lights a fire with one wooden match, and thinks What Emmett thinks about is the subject of this wise and closely observed novel, which covers vast distances while moving no further than Emmett s hearth and home Nicholson Baker s extraordinary ability to describe and celebrate life in all its rich ordinariness has never been so beautifully achieved.

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    • A Box of Matches by Nicholson Baker
      149 Nicholson Baker
    • thumbnail Title: A Box of Matches by Nicholson Baker
      Posted by:Nicholson Baker
      Published :2019-02-20T03:01:48+00:00

    About "Nicholson Baker"

    1. Nicholson Baker

      Nicholson Baker is a contemporary American writer of fiction and non fiction As a novelist, his writings focus on minute inspection of his characters and narrators stream of consciousness His unconventional novels deal with topics such as voyeurism and planned assassination, and they generally de emphasize narrative in favor of intense character work Baker s enthusiasts appreciate his ability candidly to explore the human psyche, while critics feel that his writing wastes time on trivia Stephen King notoriously compared Baker s novel Vox to a meaningless little fingernail paring.

    190 thoughts on “A Box of Matches”

    1. I have a bad habit of not bothering to review three-star books, just because it’s so hard to anatomize and articulate indifference. How do you make lukewarm admiration sound interesting? It’s like telling someone, ‘I think you’re a really nice person.’ Who wants to hear that?A Box of Matches is, however, a really nice book. It’s polite, well-spoken and blandly attractive. Your mother would like it, and when, after a week or two, it stopped coming around, she’d ask wistfully, ‘Wha [...]


    2. If you turned up at your agent’s office, caught his attention long enough to pitch a new novel idea, and told him the novel would be structured around a box of matches, with each match unleashing a series of domestic anecdotes told by a very boring and precise man, your agent might throw a plant at your head. Nicholson’s agent, however, simply said: “Sounds great, can you have it by February?” Oh, agents. Oh, Nicholson. Oh, mass of unpublished unloved unwanted writers. Oh dear. Anyway, t [...]


    3. I’m jealous of this guy. I’m jealous because he can write about nothing or next to nothing and not only keep my interest but actually get me to enjoy myself. I had a friend once who, during a party game, spent sixty seconds describing paint dry and it was hysterical. But that was only sixty seconds. This book is another thing completely. As others have said there’s no plot, little character development and hardly any dialogue. A man gets up—or aims to get up—at 4am every day during whi [...]


    4. I laughed, I rolled quickly through the contemplative pacing, and I desired to become the character, but alas I lack a fireplace. To me, this book speaks what I most consider classically ideal. It is not a plot driven book (there really is no plot) but it is a scene; it is what I strove to write when I had a chance and encouragement to write for a course in college. I admire Baker (and let's be frank, this book is Baker writing about himself and not even really hiding it), and took much almost g [...]


    5. The Village Voice describes Bakers, "A Box of Matches," as "hypnotics" and it is so very much. With brief chapters and simple sentence construction, the quick style of the book keeps the reader turning the pages. An impressive feat when you consider that there is no gripping intensity or action in the plot. But the novella's brevity and slow river rolling movement is what keeps you with it. Before you realize it, you're three miles downstream, so why not kick back and enjoy the read. As any good [...]


    6. This is a short book that took me forever to read - last winter. And I don't really remember if I finished it or not, or whether that even it matters. I loved his little reminiscings. Really. They were fun. Sometimes insightful, sometimes just a slice of life, etc. But, for me, as the book went on it just became less interesting. I loved the way his little ritual started later and later as time went on. I kinda wish he had said "I give up" or "I quit" and then written a long essay analyzing his [...]


    7. If you're going to write a book without a plot, you'd better compensate for it in some major way. This doesn't; it's nicely written but not entertaining. A middle-aged man wakes up early and lights a match for a few days in a row, while pondering his domestic life. It's as boring as that sounds. Baker also wrote 'The Mezzanine' for which the plotline was "A man goes up an escalator and thinks about modern life". But that was an AMAZING read because the prose was so intense and often deeply insig [...]


    8. A man wakes up every morning when it’s still dark, makes a fire and a cup of coffee in the dark, eats an apple, and thinks. This may sound interesting. However, most of what he recalls and describes is mind-numbingly mundane. I have to give credit to Baker for this. It’s no easy to write page after page after page about nothing. And I’m sure he did this intentionally. The portrait of a man who is mentally and emotionally paralyzed? Maybe. But this comes at the expense of tormenting the rea [...]


    9. A Christmas gift from my oldest daughter Laura, the book is a minimalist, episodic, almost diary-like first person account of a father who gets up before the rest of the family every morning, lights a fire, and thinks about what matters. There a lot there that I can't really describe.



    10. A slim little book packed with quirky, sensitive ruminations about life. Emmett awakes every morning, lights a fire and enjoys some quiet time before his family awakes and starts the day. Each chapter (there are 33 because there are 33 matches in his box) begins the same way, "Good morning it's (whatever time) a.m. " and then Emmett shares his thoughts. He enjoys his coffee and a crunchy apple while he meditates. The writing is sensitive and lovely. Emmett's thoughts are deep and yet ordinary. H [...]


    11. Ever since I picked up The Mezzanine on a whim, I've been hooked on Nicholson Baker. Since that first entry into his wonderful world of prose, I've read quite a bit of his writing, both fiction and non-fiction. To me, this book totally takes the cake.I loved the small scale of the narrative "project": as many entries as there were matches left in the narrator's box. It was just so, so perfect.Baker has this way of describing some of the most intimate things you've ever experienced--the smaller e [...]


    12. Bermodalkan sekotak mancis saja Nicholson Baker mampu menterjemah setiap batang mancis yang dikorbankan setiap awal pagi kepada bab-bab yang bersifat catatan harian sekaligus menjadikan ia sebuah buku.Menilai daripada corak rutin harian beliau, boleh dikatakan buku ini terzahir daripada kebosanan Nicholson Baker sendiri ataupun beliau sendiri barangkali seorang yang membosankan. Namun fikiran beliau yang cenderung dan gemar menerbitkan teori-teori bersifat pseudo-sains memberi sedikit hiburan da [...]


    13. I picked up a copy of this after reading Walter Kirn's review in the New York Times. It's a beautiful novel, and Kirn really captures what Baker is seeking to accomplish with it when he says: "His grief, it's hinted, is all prospective. He's mourning the future, not the past. While fondly shampooing his son's hair, he remembers the day when his own body grew long enough to touch both ends of the bathtub at the same time. ''This is all too much for me,'' he thinks, realizing that his son's day wi [...]


    14. Love this author's writing style. Hard to describe a book where basically nothing happens. Each short chapter (the length makes it an ideal commute read) starts the same was "Good morning, it's (Insert time here)", followed by the routine of lighting the fire and making coffee (usually in the dark). Each day follows a soliloquy where Emmett, a middle-ages editor of medical textbooks, muses on the detail of his daily routine and commentary on life. His observations of the family pet duck were par [...]


    15. Once again, Nicholson Baker scores a bulls-eye. This short narrative of a man's early morning thoughts in solitude captures perfectly the way my mind wanders through yesterday, the plan for today, and pretty much anything else that occurs to me when I am not purposefully doing something. I think this may be a must-read for any woman who has ever wondered, "how does his mind work?" Men will experience the glow of recognizing one of our own and also appreciate the self-insight and awareness this l [...]



    16. I thoroughly enjoyed this little book. Day to day life but written so beautifully that it made you want to get up early and sit in front of a fire too. Lovely!


    17. I love the way this man writes. And also what he writes about. My experience of this book was clean and bright and sort of woody-smelling, sort of like a hand-made fire.


    18. For a light diversion from ""Ulysses," I read this book, which turned out to be not so "light."On the surface, “A Box of Matches” by Nicholas Baker is a pretty dull novel in terms of its content! It is, however, anything but shallow. In fact, it could serve as a psychological study of boredom—probing into the unconscious thoughts of its protagonist, Emmett.All through this short book, Emmett, seeks to escape that boredom: For example, if he could only have someone shoot an arrow into his h [...]


    19. This is certainly not for everyone. A Box of Matches is a short, sweet and simple book about a dude who wakes up at the crack of ridiculous every morning to light a fire, eat a piece of fruit and think about his life. Over the course of 180ish pages the narrator goes through his daily activities, plays with his kids, looks at the Maine sunsets, feeds his family duck and has a lengthly discussion of the merits of sitting down to pee in the middle of the night if you are a human with a penis. Alth [...]


    20. The writing is amazing. Nicholson Baker is adept at making the mundane somehow magical. This book's beauty is all down to the details and in that way, it is spectacular. However, there is no central plot and the entire thing feels very experimental. There is no progress and you could read the chapters in any order at all and it'd still make perfect sense. Each chapter isn't different another from the ones around it to make it stand out as an individual story or event, but the entire thing isn't [...]


    21. - This is the first book I've read in like ten years that manages to scratch the e'er elusive E.B. White essay itch. - There's a story in here about an ant farm that will make you feel like a stoic ship's captain standing on a rocky Northeastern shore, staring out at the gray and spiteful surf, pretending the moisture on your aged and leathery cheeks is the sea's salty spray and not your own tears. - Nickyboy continues his streak as the most essential writer on male urinary patterns. - You've go [...]


    22. Soporific, which can be useful. It is also ironic, given that it is about daily early rising. It has a very Northeastern U.S. feeling, if that appeals to you -- because it is familiar, or because you are a native Westerner who finds Northeastern US life intriguing, or for some other reason.As someone who has always lived in a Mediterranean climate, I felt sorry for the snowbound pet duck.


    23. A quick read of less than a week, about a schizophrenic man, and his late night/early morning obsession with following the routine of making coffee in the dark. With the repetition of finding the mug, putting in the coffee, turning the machine on and waiting. Baker writes the thoughts of the man in his early morning hours as a way of life. Seeing the world differently through the darkness and letting the fire act as a sort of cleanser allowing him to think about his life.


    24. A pretty strange book with not much of a plot. A collection of early morning musings about seemingly quotidian daily events from Emmett, who has a wife, two children, a cat, and a duck. Each morning begins as he strikes a match to start a fire, and as the work progresses, you can see that he is frightened by change and his own mortality. The last chapter is the last match in the box. Interesting concept that kept my attention but didn't blow my mind.


    25. When I am restless for a book to read but can't seem to get into anything, Nicholson Baker's books usually do the trick. I love his hyperfixation on tiny, everyday moments. If you can, read this book first thing in the morning after you've just built a fire in the wood stove it's the best companion imaginable.


    26. A man gets up early every morning, lights a fire in the dark, and thinks random thoughts. Some days his thoughts are amusing, some mundane, and some are pure poetry. I enjoyed this. It made me think about my own strange and silly daily meditations on nothing and everything.




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