House of Holes (a book of Raunch) is a delightfully dirty book by Nicholson Baker. It is about a magical sexual playground where any sexual fantasy can be fulfilled for a price, and if you don’t have the money for it, you can certainly work it off. Want a larger dick? Are you willing to give up your arm for an indefinite amount of time? Want to have a larger ass? Okay but you may have to work awhile at the Wall of Asses and let strangers spank you. Want to have sex with a guy with a great body but no head? They have a room for that.
As you might imagine, this book is very surreal. It is also really dirty. There are no main characters as the book flits around to different characters who sometimes reappear and sometimes never appear again. Magic abounds with pseudo-sexual theory. In no way is this book meant to be taken seriously which helps creates a mood very similar to a quick masturbation fantasy.
The upside to this surreality is the lack of time wasted. Most reviews I have read can’t even quote a passage from the book because it is filled with sex. The downside to this is that characters are rarely deeper than a description of their bodies and their libido. I don’t think any character had a last name and towards the end I was getting greatly confused on whether I was reading about a new character or someone that I saw several chapters ago. It is a lot like an orgy that way.
There is a shitload of imagination in this book. The Pussyboard lets women surf using their pussies for control. The Groanroom is completely dark and no talking is allowed but other sounds are. They have a Handjob Cumshot competition and a gift shop. The book is more like an anthology of sex and crazy ideas.
The only real disappointment I had was the lack of representation of homosexual sex. As an erotic writer, I understand that it can be impossible to write about sex that you don’t care for, but I usually at least include homosexual characters. With all the name dropping of special rooms and services, it would have been nothing for Baker to mention in passing that a male couple was headed somewhere. Considering that the House of Holes was supposed to be a place for any fantasy, this omission was terribly glaring.
Having said that, this is the most imaginative erotica book I have read from a mainstream publisher. Silly, light and devoid of deeper meaning, this book goes over the top and stays there. I found it to be a lot of fun but I had to read it in smaller bites than most books because the lack of a main character made it hard to follow.
I give it Three out of Five Pam Griers