A book by Nicholson Baker (most famously known as the author of Vox), published by Random House in 1998. It follows an almost-year in the the life of Eleanor Winslow, nicknamed "Nory" (which sounds Japanese, but it's not). Nory is a nine year-old American girl who is living in Threll, England. She has a wonderful imagination and wants to grow up to become a dentist (with a Ph. D.). Her main problem is that she hasn't got too many friends, at least not in England. And the two friends she kinda does have (Kira and Pamela) don't like each other (especially Kira). I would say that The Everlasting Story of Nory about her adventures, but really there isn't any real adventure -- at least not in the Saturday Matinee-sense -- except maybe for her day-to-day living which, really, when you think about it, is adventure enough.

While I was reading The Everlasting Story of Nory, I was entertained well enough, except that there just didn't seem to be anything happening. Oh sure, she went to school, got into a fight or two and made up a lot of stories that the told herself in the mirror, but there was no real plot or discernable theme. That bothered me because I usually find books like this to be more of a celebration of an author's mastery of technique rather than a meaningful work of artistic merit.

But I have to say that I liked this book. It was very compelling and it "stuck" with me and made me think about my own life, which is something I think only very good books can do. Stylistically, The Everlasting Story of Nory sort of reminds me of someone like Richard Brautigan, if he ever wrote about a nine year-old girl, so of course I have to recommend it.

Looking at amazon.com's reviews, it seems like people who liked The Mezzanine and Room Temperature enjoyed Nory. The people who liked Vox and The Fermata, didn't.

According to the back cover, The Everlasting Story of Nory was a New York Times "Notable Book". I'm not sure that that's a point in its favor, but I thought I'd mention it, just in case.

Rating: *** (out of 4 stars)

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