Some comments to my original post:
> AI admit I had a bit of an 'eh' reaction to it... Which is not to
> say I thought INHERENT VICE was bad, but I wouldn't
> grade it above an A-minus, and when it's Pynchon, you hope for more.
An "eh" reaction gets an A-minus? Man, if you were a high school
teacher, the kids would love you!
> in general I think you are more likely to enjoy his writing if you
> like the humour.
Well, I get the jokes, and some of them are pretty good (I love the
Sinatra bit -- it's pure Marx Brothers), but much of the humour would
come off better accompanied by a giant spliff and a bag of Doritos.
> Yes, I think some may be missing the big, the very big, picture:
But not the poster, of course.
Or maybe, just maybe, there is no "big... very big picture," after
all -- just the wishful thinking of the faithful. Maybe Pynchon just
tried to write a detective story. Which is sorta cool.
I mean, it's pretty obvious what Pynchon's themes are so far in
INHERENT VICE. And they don't need an Erector set of pseudo-
intellectualism or a ton of academic posturing to spot. After all,
under the barrage of words and digressions, he's not exactly subtle.
Oh, sure, if you put enough tweedheads in a room and set them all in
deconstruction mode eventually you'll get all sorts of unique
interpretations and blather about "non-falsifiable speculation," "the
beauty of the ‘forking paths’ and their effect on things" and "the
basic splitting process of the alternate realities and histories as
followed by the ordinary and extraordinary ray" as exemplified by the
alternative tangents of Doc's investigation.
Pynchon himself might be amused by some of these interpretations. I
Stare at a blank wall long enough, you'll see the entire universe.
The "big, the very big, picture" may simply be that Pynchon has
written a detective novel, and done an adequate -- but not earth-
shattering -- job of it. There are worse crimes.
My guess is that maybe Pynchon himself is a fan of the genre, and
decided to have some fun. And this lightweight romp is what he came up
with. But you probably have to find his stuff utterly hilarious to
breeze through almost 400 pages of it. He may be a great writer, but
he ain't no Richard Prather or Robert Leslie Bellem. And he sure ain't
no Donna Moore.
And as far as dope humour goes, Cheech and Chong are funnier.
Doesn't mean that Pynchon can't write. Maybe the rank and file (viewed
with so much disdain by some on this list) are simply less impressed
by literary pretension, and more impressed by strong characterization
and tight, taut writing; two trademarks of the genre that Pynchon has
decided to dip his toe into.
After all, there just might be a good story under there somewhere. Cut
out 200 pages and a lot of the lamer jokes, and INHERENT VICE might
make a dandy (and quite funny) HardCaseCrime book.
Kevin Burton Smith
The Thrilling Detective Web Site
"Wasting your time on the web since 1998."
RARA-AVIS home page: http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/
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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 25 Aug 2009 EDT