Title: The Mezzanine
Author: Nicholson Baker
What can happen over a lunch hour? Well, a lot can happen over the lunch hour.
Howie works in the office, his job is unspecified. It is lunchtime, and our hero has popcorn, hot-dog, cookie and milk. We ride with Howie up the escalator to the mezzanine of his office, and also travel through his beautifully keen mind as he explores the most mundane things in the most interesting way.
How did paper milk cartons replace glass milk bottles? Have you ever wondered on the miracle of perforation? Have you ever bothered to notice the buoyant nature of plastic straws? Have you ever given two thoughts about vending machines, paper towel dispensers, and popcorn poppers? Too boring? Try Howie's mind, as Baker glides you through the magnetic maze of meandering thoughts of everyday triviality in the most bizarrely eloquent string of illustrative and vivid word play.
The Mezzanine is an extremely humorous, plot-less, and conflict-less brilliance drowned in a versatile brandishing of descriptive, detailed, and intricate narration of the regular monotony captured in the most ingenious and amusing flow of language, nailing every act to it's very atom, and also through generously sprinkled extensive footnotes.
Here's an excerpt to show you the well-arrayed wordplay!
“The neurons that do expire are the ones that made imitation possible. When you are capable of skillful imitation, the sweep of choices before you is too large; but when your brain loses its spare capacity, and along with it some agility, some joy in winging it, and the ambition to do things that don't suit it, then you finally have to settle down to do well the few things that your brain really can do well--the rest no longer seems pressing and distracting, because it is now permanently out of reach. The feeling that you are stupider than you were is what finally interests you in the really complex subjects of life: in change, in experience, in the ways other people have adjusted to disappointment and narrowed ability. You realize that you are no prodigy, your shoulders relax, and you begin to look around you, seeing local color unrivaled by blue glows of algebra and abstraction.”
As a hilarious gimmick, The Mezzanine entertains you thoroughly leaving you smiling unawares at the vast description of broken shoelaces, comments on Aurelius's Meditations- all made in the same zest and comic droll.
I loved it, it was a very amusing read!