Re: RARA-AVIS: "Inherent Vice" and Other Pynchon novels

From: Patrick King (
Date: 29 Aug 2009

  • Next message: jacquesdebierue: "Re: RARA-AVIS: "Inherent Vice" and Other Pynchon novels"

    Of his other books, based on descriptions and Amazon reviews, I might like to try "V." Any comments on "V?"


    As I think I mentioned in an earlier post, it's strongly influenced by Kerouac's ON THE ROAD, but up-beat and sardonic where Kerouac's work is brooding and sentimental. It's Pynchon's first work and in it he introduces his unique use of time and his ideas of shifting genres.

    In 1974 all 3 Pulitzer judges chose GRAVITY'S RAINBOW as the winner of that year's prize. The Pulitzer Committee, however, deemed the book ponderous and unreadable and declined to give a prize that year. The judges, rightly, were furious. Why invite them to judge if their unanimous opinion can be put aside? Pynchon won the National Book Award for GRAVITY'S RAINBOW the same year.

    It was 16 years before Pynchon published another book, 1990's VINELAND.

    So, Pynchon is an extremely controversial author. Some of us are completely involved with his idea and his unusual way of getting them across. Other find him completely unreadable. Pynchon books are not about the characters who are almost always caricatures sometimes of comic characters (AGAINST THE DAY's Al Mar-Faud, for example), not about the story (which always meanders and seldom concludes). Pynchon writes about hope and peril. He's a student of physics and he projects mathematical solutions to his character's often off-the-wall problems in a way that some of us get what he's driving at, or at least believe we do.

    If you don't like his writing style, you won't like any of his books. The style is what he's developing, not the characters or the plot lines. There are very few western universities where Thomas Pynchon is not required reading. Linguistically he's considered a peer of James Joyce, who is also found ponderous and unreadable by some.

    One man's meat... as they say. Personally, I loath Paul Auster's work. In my estimation, Auster pretends to have depth and has none. On the other hand, Pynchon appears to be always on a linguistic wander but in his wanders he discovers gems beyond price.

    Don't be surprised if Pynchon win's the Nobel Prize for Literature in the very near future. Of all those who've won it previously, Pynchon most deserves it with regard to the founding principles of that prize.

    Patrick King


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