Thomas Pynchon

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Not sure if this has been done as a thread before, but anyway...

The Crying of Lot 49 is one of my favorite books ever, but I couldn't get through more than a few chapters of V. It just seemed like the kind of novel a goofy physics major would think was really clever and profound. I just started Gravity's Rainbow, and so far it's a big improvement - amazing writing and not nearly as hard to follow as I'd expected.

What say the rest of you?

Justyn Dillingham, Saturday, 25 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

i wuv pynchon and haf reread every novel EXCEPT v, which i only liked small bits of

(this is like the ten gazillionth pynchon thread on BOTH boards but who cares: he is the ROYAL TENENBAUMS of am lit and that is enuff)

mark s, Saturday, 25 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Fantastic. The thing about Pynchon is that he always has the drop on the reader (cue posts saying "really? I find him drearily predictable" - you can't please everyone). Not read V yet, but Gravity's Rainbow and Mason And Dixon are two of the tattiest books on my shelves.

Matt, Saturday, 25 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I larfed non-stop and so did sterl

Josh, Saturday, 25 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I am very much enjoying The Crying of Lot 49 which I am reading at present for such a slim book it seems to be taking a while, it contains a lot. And I remember liking Gravity's Rainbow, but I too couldn't get through V. I'm not sure why not, in fact I can't really remember much about it at all.

isadora, Saturday, 25 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

recently made girlfriend larf nonstop by explaining/pointing-out fur-henchmen joke.

Sterling Clover, Saturday, 25 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I like Thomas Pynchon. CofL49 is very good and Gravity's Rainbow is just as fantastic as its rep. I muddled through all but the last ten or twenty pages of V before I gave up. It's good to hear I'm not alone with that one.

Dan I., Saturday, 25 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

isn't this only the first official pynchon thread? all the others were drifts and hijacks!

someday we oughta do a group read of GR or something else. the pynchon list is good for that except that it's full of cranky knowitalls who have been on the list for 10 years.

(stab at ile suppressed ha ha)

Josh, Saturday, 25 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

CoL49 is ace hurrah ("We Await Silent Trystero's Empire" is one of those phrases that instantly etched inself onto my skull - "BE JUST" from Kafka's "In The Penal Settlement" compares . . . although both are etchings in the first place but oh well what can you do etc.).

ILE is the sole reason I'm bringing forward my reading of GR to the upcoming holidays - I might even privilege it over Mishima's Sea of Fertility, in a Mishima-fanboy coup shockah.

Ess Kay, Saturday, 25 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

i have read them all and will definitely reread them all, except prob v (and most of slow learner, i guess). i am accidentally rereading vineland at the mo (as in, i thought i'd never read it and then realised that i have). i need to read gr a few more times; i keep getting tempted to start it again, but stop myself cos i have like 300 other books that i've bought this year (literally) that i should really read first.

oh, umm, classic, anyway.

toby, Sunday, 26 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

VIneland was so beautiful - like a merging of Delillo and Tom Robbins. I've never been able to get past 3 pages of GR, despite it supposedly inspiring Smells Like Teen Spirit

Queen G of the Arctic Nile, Sunday, 26 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I'm tempted to say that Ess Kay should be sure of reading the Mishima first, but there's not a lot in it: Mishima is one of my favourite authors, but Gravity's Rainbow is one of the great novels of the last century. I've not read Mason & Dixon yet, but will soon - it's sitting on my to-read shelves waiting. I highly recommend the Pynchon site within The Modern Word, my favourite literary site. (I'm not just biased because I'm writing some stuff for them - not on Pynchon. I'm writing for them because I admire the site so highly.)

Martin Skidmore, Sunday, 26 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Rereading Pynchon needs to happen soon, I think, for me. I really need to see whether it has changed or I have...

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 26 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I really like Pynchon, but find him frustratingly hard to read. I gave up on both Gravity's Rainbow and Mason & Dixon simply because it got to the point where I had no idea what was going on, and also having to lug a dictionary onto the train was getting annoying. Am I thick? Vineland is uncharacteristically accessible, though - didn't someone spread a rumour that it had been written by someone else?

I don't think I've ever reread a book. Is there enough time? I'd worry too much about the stuff that I was missing out on.

Mike Ratford, Sunday, 26 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I left my copy of 'Gravity's Rainbow' at the bar of The Scotsman Hotel by mistake. Between you and me, I was rather relieved to be shot of it. Maybe it's still there. I recall that there was reference in its pages to a concrete Jungfrau. Maybe I'm not through with it yet after all. Anyone read Robert Coover's Pinnochio in Venice?

Gordon, Sunday, 26 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I've read Pinocchio In Venice and, I believe, all of Coover's other books too. He is a big favourite of mine - much more fun than Pynchon. And producing inappropriate sequels to old classics = classic. Gilbert Adair wrote one (actually pretty suitable) to Lewis Carroll's Alice books, and John Barth has followed on from the 1001 Nights, Don Quixote, Huckleberry Finn and the Odyssey - and that's just in Tidewater Tales.

Martin Skidmore, Sunday, 26 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

If you dug Lot 49 -- I haven't read V. yet -- then it's fairly "important" that you read GR -- meaning that GR expands on Lot 49 -- I think of Lot 49 as a satellite novel to GR, even though GR came after -- GR deals with the same issues as Lot 49 times seven, but with pigs --


Leee, Monday, 27 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I think I must read Gravity's Rainbow then. The Crying of Lot 49 is such an awesome book! The bit where er whassername goes into town & sees evidence of W.A.S.T.E.s activities EVERYWHERE is one of my favourite bits of writing ever. I painted a muted post-horn on my bass guitar, & whenever I did a gig, there's always be some weirdo come up to me afterwards to ask abt it. I wonder if anyone has read "The Reproductive System" by John Sladek? That struck me as a bit similar to Lot 49, albeit rather more schlocky science-fictiony.

Norman Phay, Monday, 27 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I read the Crying of Lot 49 in an afternoon. Gravity's Rainbow took me virtually all of a very eventful summer... it goes without saying that both are aceness on a stick. Haven't read any Pynchon for a while though, and as soon as I get through this DeLillo 'Underworld' rubbish I'm planning on reading more of him. So - V, Vineland or Mason and Dixon?

Matt DC, Tuesday, 28 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

i've read that sladek story, and i can't really see a connection. martin, READ m&d, it's wonderful. i'm probably due a pynchon re-read. does anyone think V is worth a re-read -- it's the only one i really never bothered to go back to. Don't think I'm being over the top, but after I read GR back at college, I found most novels to be a little unrewarding. Even Vineland didn't really rock me. (M&D did). Lanark came quite close (and White Noise obv)

Alan T, Tuesday, 28 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

if yr a hardkore fan, i can mildly recommend this weird book called "Lineland" which is written by some guy that knew Pynchon at college, wrote an article about him in Playboy, and then years later got in back with the on-line pynchon community and had a MAJOR falling out with them. the guy comes over as the biggest arse ever.

Alan T, Tuesday, 28 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I did CoL49 first as prep for GR. I liked it.

Took me 2 and a half years to get through GR. Bits of it were brilliant, bits of it were impenetrable. I persevered, but haven't managed to finish another novel since. I think it killed fiction as an enjoyable pasttime for me.

Jeff W, Tuesday, 28 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Now there's a recommendation.

N., Tuesday, 28 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

_V._ is the only Pynchon I've tried to read. Both times, I've gotten a little past the halfway mark before realizing that the book wasn't rewarding me for the effort I was putting into reading it, although the second time around I enjoyed the first half a lot more.

Dan Perry, Tuesday, 28 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Is it true that the first 5 pages of 'V' contain 10 different sentences that are ALL anagrams of "I knew a chap / his name was Bert / he ate the buttons off his shirt"?

Tracer Hand, Tuesday, 28 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Alan T: he WAZ!

Sterling Clover, Tuesday, 28 May 2002 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

three months pass...

I have now gone back to GR and spent half an hour on 2pp. It's still bloody awful, awkwardly pretentious and horribly obnoxious.

the pinefox, Sunday, 8 September 2002 12:19 (twenty years ago) link

he had me at "garlicking of a bread"

mark p (Mark P), Sunday, 8 September 2002 12:23 (twenty years ago) link

Try Mason & Dixon, The Pinefox - it's terrific fun. It has an excellent duck super-robot - I don't see how anyone could resist that! The funniest bit is where Mason is asking a dog about the location of another dog - "Bark if he is to the North" etc. He states after three tries that since the dog has not barked, the dog is clearly stating that the other dog is to the East. Dixon asks him if he is entirely comfortable with his logic.

The Pinefox, do you like any PoMo fiction? I know you are a big Joyce fan (haha though a pal of mine wrote his thesis on Blake and has found him unreadable since, so maybe I'm wrong), and I have known some fans of Modernism's peaks who really dislike anything that's very Postmodern.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Sunday, 8 September 2002 12:54 (twenty years ago) link

Martin: that's a fair question, and your assumption has sth to it.

In general I don't like talking about things as PoMo; if I loved anything I would probably not call it PoMo. Nonetheless, there are some things that might get called PoMo that I like. I have a lot of time for CL49, and a lot of respect for DeLillo. I like at least a bit of Barth, though I am yet to be fully convinced re. the vaunted Barthelme. But you may be meaning sth much more way-out than that.

the pinefox, Sunday, 8 September 2002 14:35 (twenty years ago) link

It was a question rather than an assumption, The Pinefox, and I know Postmodernism is a much abused term which has had much of value leeched from it. Your comment that you wouldn't apply the term to anything you loved suggests an antagonism, but I don't know whether that is to the word or the literary modes it describes. Unless the Barth you like is limited to his first two novels (existential black comedy may shade into PoMo, but these don't get there), you clearly like some PoMo lit.

Although the line between Modernism and Postmodernism is hard to draw (Beckett is a rewarding study here, I think), there is an important difference in the attitude towards meaning, in particular. I've found that some admirers of the former are annoyed and frustrated by what they see as frivolity and emptiness in much PoMo fiction, in its abandonment of the search for and belief in suitable new metanarratives - I'm wondering if that might be how you feel, because combining that with Pynchon's encyclopaedic ambition and scale (partucularly in GR) might exacerbate the annoyance that might cause.

I think there is a smugness to Pynchon's writing too, something I see in quite a few writers of (more or less) his generation, a former-hippy-youth's overconfidence in the rightness of their reading of the world, particularly in ideological terms - it's an impression that has turned me away from Tom Robbins, for instance, who I used to really like a lot. Barth has some of this, but his obvious idolising of great past storytellers, an almost fannish, childlike adoration of and reverence for paradigms such as Homer and Scheherezade, soften that hugely, for me. Anyway, I mention that about Pynchon because these things, particularly in combination, might easily cause a very serious-minded Modernist to feel exactly what you expressed in your "awkwardly pretentious and horribly obnoxious" comment upthread.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Sunday, 8 September 2002 14:51 (twenty years ago) link

hey pinefox will you read one page of gr for every page of the wake that I read?

this is a long term deal and more to my benefit obv. ha

Josh (Josh), Monday, 9 September 2002 03:07 (twenty years ago) link

Josh: I think I already have. (how much FW have you read?)

Martin S: one (main?) thing I don't like about GR = too much sex. As I have said before, GR = post-hippy James Bond [etc etc, as I have said before, etc etc].

I think Pynchon can Write but I don't think I feel the gain in his relative unclarity.

the pinefox, Monday, 9 September 2002 07:01 (twenty years ago) link

It's odd that the PF, a fellow of subtlety and discernment in appreciating the things he loves, becomes so splenetically scattershot about the things he hates or fails to understand. To object to such a densely populated novel as GR on the basis of one character's lovelife = strange over-reaction, I think. (Modernism-as-weirdness may be une hareng rouge with regard to the PF and Joyce - I suspect that he really likes him as post-Flaubertian Melancholy Ironist.)

Jerry the Nipper (Jerrynipper), Monday, 9 September 2002 07:50 (twenty years ago) link

b-b-but they *all* have that lovelife!!!

the pinefox, Monday, 9 September 2002 07:53 (twenty years ago) link

I'm sure if you combine it all, what I have read might total er five pages. so no, you're way ahead of me ha.

yeah, other people who get it on in gr: roger and jessica, pirate and scorpia mossmoon, katje and blicero and what's his name, katje and BRIGADIER PUDDING even jesus, enzian and blicero, a bunch of people on thanatz's yacht, er leni pokler a bit I think (but does FRANZ POKLER ever get any? hmm), and uh...

of course all along (many of those happen sort of episodically), slothrop keeps on having secret agent sex after the london part of the book is over: katje, geli tripping, the actress, the girl on thanatz's yacht, trudi and whatsername at saure's place, and I'm sure there are more. plus he has uh amorous encounters with more people, incl some girls at the hermann goering, the spa where marvy chases him, the red cross girl or whoever, the PIG briefly...

Josh (Josh), Monday, 9 September 2002 11:30 (twenty years ago) link

FP has a fantasy of getting it on with his "daughter" (or TP has a fantasy of FP having that fantasy)

mark s (mark s), Monday, 9 September 2002 11:35 (twenty years ago) link

Josh - with everything I've ever said against the book, I didn't know it was THAT bad.

the pinefox, Monday, 9 September 2002 11:46 (twenty years ago) link

There is a lot of fucking in GR, yes, but it's hardly post-hippy James Bond... Tyrone = complete schlemiel, for example, and has complex relations with his "imperial organ". And of course his sexual response is from the very start *conditioned* via Them - so it's not entirely a mindless cross-continental shagathon.

Jerry the Nipper (Jerrynipper), Monday, 9 September 2002 11:47 (twenty years ago) link

Also not clear how much of TS sex actually happens, surely?

mark s (mark s), Monday, 9 September 2002 11:49 (twenty years ago) link

we've been here before btw: PF doesn't accept that fantasy-as-control is an element in GR

mark s (mark s), Monday, 9 September 2002 11:52 (twenty years ago) link

"the pf fails to understand" = "it's not really endless promiscuous post-hippy fantasy sex, it's a scampi platter for £6.95 - I'll bring the condiments over"

the pinefox, Monday, 9 September 2002 11:53 (twenty years ago) link

Mmm, yes, I love the section where Floyd Perdoo and Harvey Speed fail to track down TS's conquests and fall prey to watermelons and "the prevailing fondness...for mindless pleasures".

This paper kind of deals with these issues, in a rather-too academic fashion.

This masculinist gigantism can is by no means self-evidently pro-feminist. Gravity's Rainbow often reads like a male fantasy gone out of control: the phalli are a little too large, the female characters too eager to bed down with Slothrop, the victims of sadists far too eager about their own pain.7 And because the narrative doesn't offer final readings, it is never quite clear how much really is mockery or disruption and how much is the residue of real assumptions about gender. These exaggerations self-consciously invite a feminist critique, from an outsider's perspective. But the novel itself does not supply that critique; it can only inflate or dislocate the discourses of its own crimes, and so at once gesture to a newly written self and reduplicate an old and tiresome one.

Jerry the Nipper (Jerrynipper), Monday, 9 September 2002 12:21 (twenty years ago) link

uh oh I fear I have only made things worse.

Josh (Josh), Monday, 9 September 2002 12:44 (twenty years ago) link

seven months pass...
We just can't get rid of him!

the pinefox, Thursday, 24 April 2003 11:29 (nineteen years ago) link

I started reading V last week.

I think it's a good thing that, although I have seen mention of, I have never read about pynchon here.

RJG (RJG), Thursday, 24 April 2003 11:35 (nineteen years ago) link

I gave up on GR yet again right after starting this thread. I reread Lot 49 last month though and I still like it.

Justyn Dillingham (Justyn Dillingham), Thursday, 24 April 2003 11:38 (nineteen years ago) link

haha jerry is otm

"well, no, i usually, uh-" this is embarrassing for perdoo, it's like being called on to, to justify eating an apple, or even popping a grape into your mouth- "just, well, sort of, eat them... whole, you know"

Chip Morningstar (bob), Thursday, 24 April 2003 18:35 (nineteen years ago) link

three months pass...
'I see no place to pin my thoughts' - Richard Butler, 1991

I finished Gravity's Rainbow yesterday. I wondered exactly how to express my reaction, or opinion. The more I wondered, the more my reactions threatened, or promised, to alter.

I shouldn't exaggerate that last point, though.

Some day I would like to take, or make, some room to say, and possibly also discover, some of what I think of the book.

the pinefox, Thursday, 7 August 2003 15:56 (nineteen years ago) link

Has anyone seen A Journey into the Mind of P? Did you thole the whole screening?

David. (Cozen), Thursday, 7 August 2003 16:16 (nineteen years ago) link

Pynchon must be tired of telling customer support people he doesn't want to be recorded whenever he calls CS?

Leee. Earl Grey, hot. (Leee), Tuesday, 26 December 2017 22:23 (four years ago) link

I got Vineland for Christmas. Maybe I'll finally read it this year.

Matt DC, Wednesday, 27 December 2017 09:27 (four years ago) link

two years pass...

Good piece on Vineland and the protests.

xyzzzz__, Sunday, 13 September 2020 17:01 (two years ago) link

good review: of course the best pynchon is always the one i just reread (i will never reread V.) but i have a special fondness for vineland and this piece is good on much of why, its sadness, its kindness (the portrait of zoyd-prairie's father-daughter badinage and affection is lovely, and convinces me that whatever else his set up mystery-man pynchon has a daughter, you read it here first)

but yes, most of all it's so so good at a particular undissolved loyalty to a particular (doomed but potent) political moment, as kissing cousin to (of all things) chris marker's le fond de l'air est rouge. i wasn't at all a red diaper baby (mum and dad were well meaning eco-liberals) but for a time i did have 68er maoist students for baybysitters and recall puzzling over the literature they had lying around, full of the UK version of this season of revolt, pictures and design more deeply affective than the words. somewhere i possibly even have their copy of barbara garson's macbird!, an absurd overwrought evocative fragment of this exact same time -- borrowed to make sense of it (i never made sense of it)

mark s, Sunday, 13 September 2020 21:51 (two years ago) link

(first performance: STACY KEACH as macbird, amazing)

mark s, Sunday, 13 September 2020 22:01 (two years ago) link

yes that gets at the deep love I also have for that book, the undying truth of the heart of what drives radical politics, also eloquently expressed in parts of AtD, imo.

sleeve, Sunday, 13 September 2020 22:09 (two years ago) link

also, it is so so so West Coast, I love that about it

sleeve, Sunday, 13 September 2020 22:10 (two years ago) link

It's only two or three years since I finally got round to reading Vineland - I remember the opening scenes being terrific and yes the father-daughter relationship being very affecting but the whole thing running out of steam very on.

I guess all his best ideas were going into Mason and Dixon which surely he was writing the whole time he was working on Vineland.

Matt DC, Sunday, 13 September 2020 22:17 (two years ago) link

disagree, that is not my experience with it at all, the throughline for me is all about the enduring conflict between the FPS film crew and the Feds. plus, it's way funnier than M&D imo (which I also love, for lots of different reasons.

sleeve, Sunday, 13 September 2020 22:27 (two years ago) link

I've read three TP books and haven't understood any of them nor understood why anyone would like them. I guess that's commitment, of a sort.

Gerneten-flüken cake (jed_), Monday, 14 September 2020 01:11 (two years ago) link

Crying, Vineland and M&D, fwiw.

Gerneten-flüken cake (jed_), Monday, 14 September 2020 01:13 (two years ago) link

they're funny

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Monday, 14 September 2020 01:19 (two years ago) link

Pynchon been on my mind so much recently as the sanest documentarian of how conspiracy theories work on people, and a sanity check marker for me to revisit now as interest in them has migrated from the left to the right. Vineland I read when it came out, and the characters in that book absolutely formed a template for me as I came across later agitprop like 'Underground' or films like Robert Kramer's 'Milestones' (and Mark S OTM about my favorite Marker film and I'd throw in Alain Tanner & John Berger's 'Jonah Who Will Be 25 In The Year 2000' as well)

still have not read past Vineland, and the last year does not leave much room left for fiction but it does make me wish I'd already taken in Mason & Dixon

xpost I always send people to Crying first, if that one bounced then no fear. we could use a film version of that around now.

Milton Parker, Monday, 14 September 2020 01:22 (two years ago) link

they're funny

midly and occasionally. they mostly make me feel stupid for not finding them more so.

Gerneten-flüken cake (jed_), Monday, 14 September 2020 01:39 (two years ago) link

obvsly I'm not saying I'm right and your wrong, I'm just perplexed by it. I saw the film of Inherent Vice and found the fact that a character was called Japonica to be very funny.

Gerneten-flüken cake (jed_), Monday, 14 September 2020 01:44 (two years ago) link

that’s another reason people enjoy his books: all the good names

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Monday, 14 September 2020 02:15 (two years ago) link

imo Against The Day is the one to start with, yeah it's the longest one but it's completely charming and considerably less cryptic than GR

I really need to read Vineland. Will try to score a copy at some stage

imago, Monday, 14 September 2020 08:34 (two years ago) link

My dumb take on Vineland is that it sits on the leading edge of the contemporary vogue for female action heroes.

Ruth Bae Ginsburg (Leee), Monday, 14 September 2020 17:42 (two years ago) link

I read Vineland 3 years ago and, despite it being a bit uneven, I liked it a lot. It's his most earnest of the ones that I've read (49, GR, Vineland, M&D, IV).

Mason & Dixon is still my favorite. It has such a huge heart.

James Gandolfini the Grey (PBKR), Monday, 14 September 2020 18:22 (two years ago) link

Crying of Lot 49 was a total blast, I wanted to read it again as soon as I finished it.

Vineland has been staring at me from the top of a stack, think I’ll get to it sooner than later

I bought the Mason and Dixon hardcover new for like 5 bucks in high school cuz it was one of those clearance items in the front of Barnes & Noble. Kinda figured it wasn’t well regarded because of this?

brimstead, Monday, 14 September 2020 18:41 (two years ago) link

but obviously I was mistaken re:M&D

brimstead, Monday, 14 September 2020 18:41 (two years ago) link

Me and a friend read M&D at the same time, not sure I would have gotten through it without the outside motivation but very glad I did, his best imo

turn the jawhatthefuckever on (One Eye Open), Monday, 14 September 2020 18:48 (two years ago) link

I read The Crying of Lot 49 a couple of months ago, really liked it. I thought this was an amazing passage coming in 1965 (quoted it on Facebook): "When those kids sing about 'She loves you,' yeah, well, you know, she does, she's any number of people, all over the world, back through time, different colors, sizes, ages, shapes, distances from death, but she loves. And the 'you' is everybody. And herself."

clemenza, Monday, 14 September 2020 18:56 (two years ago) link

pynchon reading meltzer in crawdaddy :)

mark s, Monday, 14 September 2020 19:32 (two years ago) link

A blueprint for Meltzer, anyway (checked, and he started at Crawdaddy in '67).

clemenza, Monday, 14 September 2020 19:37 (two years ago) link

yes i know

mark s, Monday, 14 September 2020 19:40 (two years ago) link

but it does seem kinda meltzerish

mark s, Monday, 14 September 2020 19:40 (two years ago) link

maybe not mean enough

mark s, Monday, 14 September 2020 19:40 (two years ago) link

When I posted on FB, I compared it to Sheffield's Beatles book.

clemenza, Monday, 14 September 2020 19:42 (two years ago) link

The band, the Paranoids, they were good too; reminded me of one of those fake bands you'd see at the time on The Flintstones or The Munsters.

clemenza, Monday, 14 September 2020 19:44 (two years ago) link

five months pass...

Someone deceived me. Thomas Pynchon is alive and well. I apologize.

— Louise Glück (@PoetLouiseGluck) February 16, 2021

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 16 February 2021 23:49 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

^^^this better still be so

mark s, Friday, 30 September 2022 09:48 (one month ago) link

meanwhile checking in on my reread-it-all ratings:

i actually spoiled GR for myself by doing too mch back-reading (maybe also by rereading it too often): it's probably now slipped right down to my list

least favourite still always V. (which is just too beat generation for me)

i'd need to reread the last three for this to be definitive (AtD took me ten years -- with several interruptions and restarts) but i think my current order is

IV --- need to reread this as the actual sequel to VL

― mark s, Saturday, 19 November 2016 00:19 (five years ago) bookmarkflagline

AtD: currently my favourite, tho this always kinda just means the one i read most recently
M&D: i think his best and deepest -- i love that it's abt america just before the revolution (he must have just shouted w/glee when he discovered in pre-novel research that one of M&D stayed in the UK and one emigrated) (tracer tells me THE SOTWEED FACTOR is also abt america just before the revolution, so i guess i shd read that
VL: very fond of this, it's the one where he learnt to do affection between characters and i prefer him like that -- tho it leaves brock vond a weak reed (like he forgot how to do villains)
BE: getting a raw deal here -- his "novels of times as they are now" (this, VL and CoL49) are always full of alert observation, and i think there's tons here that's (a) accurate and (b) not in any other novels -- need to reread, maybe disenchantment will kick in (ie my allergy to cyberpunk -- as i was reading it i was thinking "i much prefer this to gibson")
IV: re the film (which i liked) even quite smart ppl seem to go with "who needs another big lebowski?" -- well i hate big lebowski, who needs even one, IV isn't a bit like it… book is lowish mainly bcz i'm a tiny bit allergic to marlowism
GR: putting it here looks challopsy -- and i think you can find me raving abt it on early ilx (s.clover will remember) -- but i honestly read this once too many times (8 or 9) and just have no will to, again; this surprised me too (it has great set-pieces of course)
CoL49: superb as a second novel by a young writer, several great set-pieces and startling ideas*, like VL and BE a "novel of times as they are now" (fun to read alongside didion) but his inexperience sentence-making shows now and then, several of the characters don't really work (for example the paranoids), and i always felt tripped up and let down by its brevity
V.: a handful of scenes i still remember from reading it first and only time c.1981, but i also have an allergy (much larger this time) to beatnikery and this i remember as rancid with it >:( never tried to reread it, i know i probably should
SL: bleh, there's really nothing much here (his intro essay is quite funny)

*the man's face on the stamp transfixed with fright and horror

― mark s, Wednesday, 12 April 2017 22:49 (five years ago) bookmarkflaglink

not much to add: i did actually start a (tenth?) GR reread a couple years back and this time beached but i think that was mainly pandemic depression: i hardly managed to read anything in 2020 or 2021 -- my impression (i was trying a superclose read for once where i actually decode everyt sentence instead of just skipping it) is that i'm not as smart as i was when i first read it or else just less inclined to believe my own bullshit lol. i think -- since ppl were discussing it on the novels-unfinished thread -- that despite being short CL49 is one of the tougher TPs, partly bcz his attitude to the characters is at best enigmatic (if he loves em he's not showing it). maybe BB is overranked here? -- but i was unpersuaded by much of the critical disappointment (dudes he always gets that). anyway i shd reread; and AtD also of course

mark s, Friday, 30 September 2022 09:57 (one month ago) link

Glad to see some Bleeding Edge appreciation on here.

I am using your worlds, Friday, 30 September 2022 10:09 (one month ago) link

I have less than 50 pages to go in AtD. Love some parts (beginning, Colorado sections) and feel blessed to have 1100 pages of Pynchon, but it is overstuffed. M&D remains #1 for me.

i need to put some clouds behind the reaper (PBKR), Friday, 30 September 2022 12:51 (one month ago) link

not! long! enough!

(it took me ten years to finish)

mark s, Friday, 30 September 2022 13:17 (one month ago) link

did we know that his full name is "Thomas Ruggles Pynchon"

Critique of the Goth Programme (Neil S), Friday, 30 September 2022 13:33 (one month ago) link

Thomas Ruggles Pynchon Jr.

mizzell, Friday, 30 September 2022 13:57 (one month ago) link


Critique of the Goth Programme (Neil S), Friday, 30 September 2022 14:04 (one month ago) link

Surprised to see the low rating for Slow Learner - I think The Secret Integration is one of the loveliest things he ever wrote.

Shamefully as a dedicated TRP fanboi I am still not even halfway through Against the Day ;_;

Piedie Gimbel, Friday, 30 September 2022 14:27 (one month ago) link

I had seen his full name before because I have read his wikipedia page many times, but I don't think I ever followed the link to his ancestor William Pynchon, and saw the Pynchon coat of arms

mizzell, Friday, 30 September 2022 14:30 (one month ago) link

mark s, Friday, 30 September 2022 14:47 (one month ago) link

This would be a fun Nobel Prize surprise.

The self-titled drags (Eazy), Friday, 30 September 2022 15:57 (one month ago) link

also, it is so so so West Coast, I love that about it

― sleeve

Thought this also about Lot 49 (in terms of urban-suburban sprawl and puzzle pieces gradually being noticed under the sun of thee Golden State) and was reminded of it last year when reading Devil House (also whenever the narrator of Wolf In White Van goes outside it's highlighted, but indoors as well, always with us), and when reading Emma Cline's The Girls.

dow, Friday, 30 September 2022 17:10 (one month ago) link

Maximalism’s Big Daddy. His novels, in which entropy reigns supreme, are dense and complex and uncover the murky and incongruous mechanics of life, but without providing a single answer. Authors like him only come once in a lifetime. Award the 2022 Nobel Prize to Thomas Pynchon.

— Luis Panini (@TheLuisPanini) October 3, 2022

xyzzzz__, Monday, 3 October 2022 22:03 (one month ago) link

Hey take it over to the Great Real Names thread, M. Panini!

Misirlou Sunset (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 3 October 2022 22:04 (one month ago) link

one month passes...

A game on this site was trying to find an author who was as wild as Pynchon. I really liked this piece of Laiseca, the novel hasn't been translated but it does sound wild.

xyzzzz__, Friday, 18 November 2022 16:41 (one week ago) link

I read Mason & Dixon this year and it was lovely

G. D’Arcy Cheesewright (silby), Friday, 18 November 2022 17:30 (one week ago) link


xyzzzz, thanks for that link. The description of Laiseca sounds so much like Pynchon! Very interesting and now I want to read it but don't speak or read spanish :(

The Bankruptcy of the Planet of the Apes (PBKR), Friday, 18 November 2022 18:14 (one week ago) link

Quite a few ambitious works are being translated btw. This is out Match next year.

xyzzzz__, Sunday, 20 November 2022 16:57 (one week ago) link

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