U and B


February 15, 1996

“In the Mail”
The New Yorker
20 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036

Dear Editor,

Nicholson Baker, at the end of his wonderful homage to Updike, U and I, wonders if he might have influenced his idol, however slightly, with his own writing. New editions of the book could now be modified with a more confident conclusion. For Updike, in his funny and skillful essay, “Paranoid Packaging” (February 19), has undoubtedly written a Nicholson Baker piece. The attention to minutiae, particularly the minutiae of our age of plastic-packaged mass-production, is precisely the hallmark of the younger writer’s best work. The “direction of indebtedness,” to quote Baker, has indeed been reversed.


Marshall Jon Fisher