Probably the most undeservedly overlooked of Nicholson Baker's novels, Room Temperature is a delightful, heartwarming tome. Any attempt at synopsis would only serve to make the book sound dreadfully boring. After all, during the entire 116 pages the narrator is feeding his small child. No car chases or steamy love scenes. Just a father feeding his baby. Rather than relying on typical, often stale plot devices, Baker relies on his considerable talent at description to maintain the reader's interest, and he succeeds in a big way. Room Temperature is touching in a way that none of his other books are. The father-child bond is explored in such breathtaking detail that one finds the book impossible to put down, despite the lack of a discernable plot. Nicholson Baker is not for everyone. His quirky prose and lack of traditional plot lines are sure to put off many readers, but fans of Updike are sure to find a great read in Room Temperature
A major disappointment after The Mezzanine. Baker goes to the well once too often by trying to recreate that excellent book here. That first book seemed to avoid crossing over into pretentiousness by giving us a self-deprecating narrator and by simply pouring on the wit and intelligent observations and forcing you to laugh. Here, pretentiousness and self-indulgence abound. The subject matter is just far too personal to connect with the reader and, simply, it seems that Nick didn't try as hard the second time around. If you enjoyed the pretentious and turgid essay "Lumber," then this might be for you, but if you were drawn to this book after reading more engaging Baker fare such as U and I, The Mezzanine or Vox, stay away.