Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: John D.

From: Patrick King (
Date: 19 Oct 2009

  • Next message: James Michael Rogers: "Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: John D."

    Hmmm... I wonder how INHERENT VICE's sentimental (and quintessentially American) diatribes are playing overseas?


    Here you're comparing apples and oranges. Pynchon is a different animal than John D. MacDonald, James Ellroy, or Edgar Allen Poe for that matter. Whether he's goofing on hipsters, scifi, or hardboiled PIs, Pynchon's audience will follow where ever he leads. While Thomas Pynchon is a quintessentially American voice, that voice does not have an American accent. His political and economical world view, the most significant parts of his books, are probably more at odds in his own country than they are in Europe. INHERENT VICE, which, among other things, refers to the propensity of dentists to become addicted to cocaine because the drug is inherent in their industry, is probably Pynchon's most approachable book ever. It wasn't very well received here because these folks are expecting a real private eye story, not a long joke about private eyes that leaves the hero lost in L.A. smog. I think INHERENT VICE makes the same point Ellroy made in THE COLD SIX
     THOUSAND, but Pynchon's book doesn't take itself seriously at all, while Elroy's book is in deadly earnest.

    Patrick King


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