Of the eight books by Baker that I've read, I place this one in the running with Box of Matches and Vox for award of The Simplest. At first I thought that impression came out of the fact that the book is a dialogue between two people (like Kiss of the Spider Woman), but Baker's Vox worked that way, too. And it doesn't get much simpler than Room Temperature—guy feeds baby; guy thinks while feeding baby. But what strikes me as simple about Checkpoint is that it seems to be about just one thing: how it can feel to be a powerless citizen and sponsor of a particularly atrocious war.
Why Baker's one of my favorite writers comes through in this text as much as any of them, though the subject matter is a little bit dreary (his intention) marking the book as not my favorite:
- he demonstrates an almost religious attention to everyday idiosyncrasies of the mind and of spoken language
- every book has a different structure and style ... I really like that
- and then there is the simplicity