BOOKS: A Peeper's Paradise

In The Fermata, Nicholson Baker offers an overextended voyeuristic tease

Nicholson Baker's brand of soft-core porn is better written than is usual for such naughty stuff, and now and again the suggestion is made that what he is writing is mainstream fiction. Or even, in the case of Vox (1992) -- his long transcription of an entirely satisfying anonymous phone-sex relationship -- that he is producing something like satire, driven by something like a point of view. A concept for our times: how safe can sex get, not just from infection but from imperfection, and of course from conception, though not from Baby Bell? His new novel, The Fermata (Random House;...

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