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Old 02-12-2010, 01:39 AM   #1
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Thoughts on Thomas Pynchon?

The extent of my experience with this author is his brief spoof in The Simpsons. It's the episode where he shows up with a bag over his head, the bag has a question mark painted on it

Anyway -- I'm going away on Monday and then again in March. So, I figure I'll have a lot of time to read. And I think I want to expand my horizons a bit. So, that's the reason behind my spamalot posts tonight

Anyway -- I was at Barnes and Noble today and my eye caught the cover of "Inherrant Vice" and then I found it available as an eBook (Only on Sony, not on Amazon, isn't that interesting?)

So I read the cover copy and it seems interesting enough. I've already dabbled in the more "literary" masters and been horribly depressed (see my take on Cormac McCarthy and "The Road.") I think I'm open to new suggestions again though.

So what do you all think of Pynchon? Or anything similar

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Old 02-12-2010, 01:57 AM   #2
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I have read either V or Gravity's Rainbow, and Vineland. However, and as may be apparent from my ambiguity, it was over 20 years ago when I was a teen consuming books like a teen consuming McBurger-and-fries. I read them the same way I read the Belgariad books of Eddings during the same time period. In my opinion, that was not the correct method of consumption for me.

What (little) do I remember? That they were books that really required better and longer thought on my part. Greater consideration and reflection. Probably even far greater volumes of knowledge (and experience?) than I had at that stage crammed into my tiny little mind (now, the tiny little mind is there - it's just under much greater pressure ). James Joyce came to mind (not that I've read any of his, other than A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man). Rumour and hearsay lead me that way.

That is, now that I am somewhat more...relaxed, they are books that I would like to read now.

I have read somewhere that The Crying Of Lot 49 is a good place to start (an "easier" read) and that Gravity's Rainbow is probably one to save until you have determined whether you like his work (but then, super-pleasurable if you do). I think Mason & Dixon sometimes has an "Avoid" comment attached to it from some Pynchon-lovers, though I'm sure it has its fans too (Harold Bloom being one).

I'm really not offering anything helpful here, seeing as it's based on memories 25 years buried and almost completely lost, and hearsay. Perhaps it'll encourage someone to come out and correct my perceptions, however, with us both being better for it.

Cheers,
Marc
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Old 02-12-2010, 06:21 AM   #3
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I've read The Crying of Lot 49 for a university course and I really liked it, although most of my classmates didn't. It's a short novel but by no means an easy read. I found that the best way to read this book is without distractions because it can be a complicated book.

I can't compare it to any of his other novels since I haven't read them but it might be a good place to start.
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Old 02-12-2010, 07:25 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by jaxx6166 View Post
The extent of my experience with this author is his brief spoof in The Simpsons. It's the episode where he shows up with a bag over his head, the bag has a question mark painted on it

Anyway -- I'm going away on Monday and then again in March. So, I figure I'll have a lot of time to read. And I think I want to expand my horizons a bit. So, that's the reason behind my spamalot posts tonight

Anyway -- I was at Barnes and Noble today and my eye caught the cover of "Innocent Vice" and then I found it available as an eBook (Only on Sony, not on Amazon, isn't that interesting?)

So I read the cover copy and it seems interesting enough. I've already dabbled in the more "literary" masters and been horribly depressed (see my take on Cormac McCarthy and "The Road.") I think I'm open to new suggestions again though.

So what do you all think of Pynchon? Or anything similar

Thanks for this information. I'm buying it now.




Don
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Old 02-12-2010, 07:40 AM   #5
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Bought it.

This was pulled from Diesel Books - only a few months ago - where it was MUCH higher in price.

Sony is the only place, as mentioned, that carries this title.

Thomas Pynchon is an important American writer. Doctoral dissertations are written on him. He is studied, revered, reviled, argued over, debated.

This title is supposed to be much more accessible to the general public than most of his other works. It's a tribute to noir in books and films.

I'm going to start reading this as soon as I finish my current book. Everything else is going to be shelved out the back door, so to speak, and dumped into the "bin of lesser fiction" - so to speak.

"No man waits for Pynchon." [Well, maybe a woman; but then again, maybe not.]



Don

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Old 02-12-2010, 08:14 AM   #6
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No wonder I'm so confused the title is actually "Inherent Vice"

As far as Pynchon, I think he's one of those over-rated literary darlings like James Joyce, and William Gibson, but hey who am I. I've tried reading a couple of his books but they never we able to grab me.
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Old 02-12-2010, 08:40 AM   #7
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This title is supposed to be much more accessible to the general public than most of his other works. It's a tribute to noir in books and films.
I can confirm the accuracy of this. Think of Sam Spade reborn as a late 1960's hippie.

Inherent Vice is Pynchon's most unrepresentative work. Anyone who reads it alone will not have an accurate idea of him.
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Old 02-12-2010, 09:14 AM   #8
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I think you will enjoy Inherent Vice. It's nice and juicy, so take your time. It's not a race to get to the end of the book, and this one is one to think about as you read.

As with any book or poem that is considered "real" literature, I always recommend doing a little pre-reading. Google Pynchon and read a criticism or two about the book, the writer, and the times in which he was working. No need to make an extensive study, just sort of familiarize yourself with the general ideas you will be presented with.

We used to have to go to the library and find books or journals with a discussion of the material. Now it is soooo easy to just go online and find tons of info. Take advantage of those criticisms and it will really enrich your reading.

But just briefly. Don't over-prepare and ruin the experience. And enjoy the book!
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Old 02-12-2010, 09:23 AM   #9
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Quite a variety of opinions at GoodReads:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5...-inherent-vice

Also at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Inherent-Vice-.../dp/1594202249

It does appear this book is quite atypical for Pynchon.

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Old 02-12-2010, 11:55 AM   #10
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I should have expected this. But the reason I generally stay away from "literary" works is the pompous assholes that usually follow them with lemming like fervor.

In checking GoodReads for reviews, I made it down maybe 3 lines before I found the first one

But I'll still be checking it out. Hell, I made it through The Road without slitting my wrists. I think I can tackle Pynchon.

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Old 02-12-2010, 07:31 PM   #11
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If it's too much, try something "literary" like Tom Robbins. His books, always based on odd premises and often odder content, are usually pretty fun. I recommend Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, Jitterbug Perfume and Skinny Legs And All as starters. An entertaining writer, and not "slit your wrists" stuff at all.

Cheers,
Marc
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Old 02-12-2010, 07:55 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by jaxx6166 View Post
The extent of my experience with this author is his brief spoof in The Simpsons. It's the episode where he shows up with a bag over his head, the bag has a question mark painted on it

Anyway -- I'm going away on Monday and then again in March. So, I figure I'll have a lot of time to read. And I think I want to expand my horizons a bit. So, that's the reason behind my spamalot posts tonight

Anyway -- I was at Barnes and Noble today and my eye caught the cover of "Inherrant Vice" and then I found it available as an eBook (Only on Sony, not on Amazon, isn't that interesting?)

So I read the cover copy and it seems interesting enough. I've already dabbled in the more "literary" masters and been horribly depressed (see my take on Cormac McCarthy and "The Road.") I think I'm open to new suggestions again though.

So what do you all think of Pynchon? Or anything similar
Pynchon is worth the try but be fore warned that he can be very difficult to finish. I have read three of his books and am mixed on my opinion of him. He seems to write for literary critics and profs in Uni... However, he does show brilliance in his books. I think montsnmags made a good suggestion...try Cryling lot first before moving onto his big books.

Overall, I'd say he is overrated but he does make you think. As Rushdie wrote on a blurb on one of his books.....paraphrased of course....

Reading Pynchon is like watching a movie backwards where you do not know the plot, much about the characters or where the book is going but it is a hell of a ride.....

about sums him of for me.
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Old 02-12-2010, 08:05 PM   #13
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If it's too much, try something "literary" like Tom Robbins. His books, always based on odd premises and often odder content, are usually pretty fun. I recommend Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, Jitterbug Perfume and Skinny Legs And All as starters. An entertaining writer, and not "slit your wrists" stuff at all.

Cheers,
Marc
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Old 02-12-2010, 09:26 PM   #14
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Robbins is good but, for me two was enuf....
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Old 02-12-2010, 10:56 PM   #15
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Robbins is good but, for me two was enuf....
I'll admit, I only just made it through Half Asleep In Frog Pyjamas, and never finished Fierce Invalids In Hot Climates, though I did thoroughly enjoy the three books I earlier mentioned.

(Sincere question) In light of the OPs original post, do you have suggestions of other authors, hidari? There is self-interest here - I'm interested for my own TBR list too.

Cheers,
Marc
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