post-paranoia pynchon

I just re-read The Crying of Lot 49, which I hadn't picked in in a decade or two, and it was interesting (and quite enjoyable).

It was interesting to see Pynchon writing about the 1960s before "the Sixties" really happened (or at least before the specific time period that's the foundation for Vineland and Inherent Vice). And this was not a conscious decision on his part, since TCoL49 was the last Pynchon novel to be set in the era when he was writing it. He had no idea what was about to happen.

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Submitted by collins on Mon, 08/23/2010 - 18:22

godzilla and the duck

One thing got left out of my last post ("Inherent Vineland") because I couldn't figure out exactly how to express it. I was trying to explain the objective reason that things like the Godzilla footprint in Vineland are less valid and more annoying than, for example, the amorous mechanical duck in Mason & Dixon.

This difficulty is not going to be solved by changing the sentence structure, I discovered, because the real problem is that the basic premise is not true.

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Submitted by collins on Mon, 08/23/2010 - 18:22

inherent vineland

I just finished re-reading Vineland, and it is true (as I reported before) that I remembered its flaws much more clearly than its positive aspects.

In the New York Times, Michiko Kakutani said that Inherent Vice was "a workmanlike improvisation on Vineland." For my taste, it's more like another try, much more successful, at the same general idea. Inherent Vice is Vineland done right.

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Submitted by collins on Mon, 08/23/2010 - 18:21

tori amos and inherent vice

Tori Amos performed solo on her early tours, just her and her piano, with occasional assistance from Steve Caton on guitar. I never saw her during those years, but I have watched the Live from New York video many times.

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Submitted by collins on Mon, 08/23/2010 - 18:21

thomas pynchon's gayest novel yet?

I was going to write that Inherent Vice has more gay people in it than any of Pynchon's earlier novels (with the usual caveat that I only made it 200 pages into Against the Day), but as I thought about it I realized that something much more interesting is going on.

There are really no "gay people" in Inherent Vice. What the book actually shows is a time and place when people didn't feel a need to declare their sexuality one way or the other (or another), when people felt free to experiment and do whatever they felt like at any given moment.

spoilers follow

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Submitted by collins on Mon, 08/23/2010 - 18:20

big and heavy

(Or why Inherent Vice will never be recognized as Thomas Pynchon's best novel.)

I'm not saying that it is his best novel. I'm not ready to make that kind of assessment yet, and my choice would probably still be Mason & Dixon. However, the reasons why IV will never be recognized that way have nothing to do with its quality.

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Submitted by collins on Mon, 08/23/2010 - 18:20

a few random thoughts about inherent vice

1. The plot actually does make sense. Who committed what crime and why, it all ties together.

2. The setup is classic: an old flame comes to the detective, asking for help. He agrees to help her, and, when beginning the investigation, he is knocked unconscious. When he wakes up, his police department nemesis is there, accusing him of a murder. The cop then decides to release him, but the old flame has already vanished. (This is, for example, the plot of virtually every episode of Pat Novak for Hire.) Other clients come to the detective, to hire him for apparently-unrelated cases, but then connections start to appear.

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Submitted by collins on Mon, 08/23/2010 - 18:20

my history with thomas pynchon

Well, first of all (if you couldn't guess), my history with Thomas Pynchon consists entirely of me reading his books.

And I confess that I'm hazy even about that "relationship." For example, I don't know which of his books I read first. I have the idea that I tried Gravity's Rainbow a couple of times, couldn't get into it; tried V., liked it; buckled down and read GR; then read The Crying of Lot 49.

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Submitted by collins on Mon, 08/23/2010 - 18:19

welcome

This is my site about Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon. The content is drawn from some posts I made on my blog (www.u-town.com/collins), but it will be more organized here.

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Submitted by collins on Mon, 08/23/2010 - 18:19

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