The Quantum Pontiff

New Pynchon Novel Out

Well there goes a chunk of my time. A new Pynchon novel is out: Inherent Vice. According to this New York Times review it’s much more like Vineland and The Crying of Lot 49 than Gravity’s Rainbow. I’m sure there will be much teeth gnashing among the literati, but personally, I’m a huge fan of Vineland

I’ve previously mused that a reason that Vineland gets poor reviews is (a) “Gravity’s Rainbow” is pretty epic and has a subject with which current readers can approach without dislodging their own beliefs too much, and (b) literature professors don’t like being told the sixties failed.

Anyway time to see if it’s in the bookstore! I’m particularly excited to hear that there is a character named “Shasta” and that Lemurians make an appearance. Pynchon’s definitely spent some time in my old neck of the woods!

Comments

  1. #1 Ericb
    August 4, 2009

    I wish the literati would give the guy a break. He’s published two epic monsters in a row, let the guy have a little fun. I was thinking he was due for a shorter work, like a glass of orange juice after an all night bender. I just bought it and browsed through it and it looks great.

  2. #2 Jonathan Vos Post
    August 4, 2009

    http://www.latimes.com/features/books/la-ca-thomas-pynchon2-2009aug02,0,388767.story

    “Inherent Vice” is Thomas Pynchon doing Raymond Chandler through a Jim Rockford looking glass, starring Cheech Marin (or maybe Tommy Chong). What could easily be mistaken as a paean to 1960s Southern California is also a sly herald of that era’s end…. In classic Pynchon fashion, random incidents add up to conspiracy — maybe. Behind powerful figures loom shadowy, more powerful figures, and complex layers of knowledge lead to confusion as much as clarity. There is also a lot of sex (if little romance), many pop-culture allusions (one scene references at least two classic noir films), characters who cross over from Pynchon’s other work (“Vineland,” predominantly) and silly names galore.

  3. #3 Karl D'Adamo
    August 4, 2009

    You just like Vineland because it reminds you of Yreka.

  4. #4 Sven DiMilo
    August 4, 2009

    shit…shit…shit…I got distracted and stalled out in the middle of Against the Day last Spring…now must…catch up…

  5. #5 Dave Bacon
    August 4, 2009

    You just like Vineland because it reminds you of Yreka. You confuse Yreka and Eureka :) But yes, it does remind me of home.

  6. #6 Kaveh
    August 4, 2009

    I have been reading Gravity’s Rainbow for a whole year now… I still read it.

    The other night I picked it up again (after a week) and I realized with horror that I had no idea who these characters were… until I found out that that it wasn’t “gravity’s rainbow” but “against the day” that I was looking at!

  7. #7 Jonathan Vos Post
    August 5, 2009

    “Against the Day”,
    Page 566

    In a dream…

    This passage, describing Kit’s dream of Umeki and the message it conveys, pulls together many of the main themes of Against the Day, tying things together in a way that Pynchon seldom does, almost as if he’s providing a rather large piece of the puzzle to help the reader understand the novel:

    “Deep among the equations describing the behavor of light, field equations, Vector and Quaternion equations, lies a set of directions, an itinerary, a map to a hidden space. Double refraction appears again and again as a key element, permitting a view into a Creation set just to the side of this one, so close as to overlap, where the membrane between the worlds, in many places, has become too frail, too permeable, for safety…. Within the mirror, with the scalar term, within the daylit and obvious and taken-for-granted has always lain, as if in wait, the dark itinerary, the corrupted pilgrim’s guide, the nameless Station before the first, in the lightless uncreated, where salvation does not yet exist.”

  8. #8 David
    August 5, 2009

    My wife grew up in Vineland.

  9. #9 Jud
    August 12, 2009

    I must get over my disappointment that Amazon had this available for sale on Kindle (love mine!) but it was subsequently pulled.

    I love longer Pynchon because there’s more of it to enjoy!

    Howzzat for an undeniable fact, eh?

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