Man Walks into a Room by Nicole Krauss
Sneaking in one last book for 2007. Appropriately, it is actually a remainder table find 🙂
Man Walks into a Room is Nicole Krauss’s first (or debut, as the literati like to say) novel. Krauss is married Jonathan Safran Foer. Foer is, aykb, a literary darling. I haven’t read any of his work (though I might have to now) because having read MWiaR, I have to wonder why he gets all the attention.
Loved this book.
One of the dust jacket blurbs says, “Man Walks into a Room is that rare thing: an evocative, finely written first novel that is a true work of fiction.” —A.M. Homes. (In that respect, it reminded me of Eden and her first novel, which she really needs to find a publisher for!)
Samson Greene is a 36-year-old literature professor with a wife and a life in New York city until the removal of a benign brain tumor causes him to lose the last 24 years of his memory. MWiaR is about his reaction to that loss, but it is also an exploration of mind and memory, loneliness and intimacy:
…then and there it occurred to him that maybe the emptiness he’d been living with all this time hadn’t really been emptiness at all, but loneliness gone unrecognized. How can a mind know how alone it is until brushes up against some other mind? A single mark had been made, another person’s memory imposed onto his mind, and now the magnitude of his own loss was impossible for Samson to ignore. (pp. 192-193)
Near the end of the book, there was a riff on WASPy nicknames like Pip and Chip and Kick. Would’ve been a throwaway bit, except one of the names was Apple. Had to check the dates to see if she was poking fun at Gwyneth Paltrow, but no, Gwyneth’s daughter wasn’t born until 2004. I guess she was just prescient 😉
- Excerpt from prologue and chapter 1.
- Review at the Village Voice (from May 2002).
- Review at the San Francisco Chronicle (from June 2002).
- “The Last Words on Earth” (short story), the New Yorker, February 2004
- Interview at Small Spiral Notebook. (November 2007)