V. by Thomas Pynchon My rating: 4 of 5 stars Thomas Pynchon's astoundingly precocious 1963 debut is a double narrative. Its first plot, set largely in 1956, narrates the misadventures of ex-Navy sailor Benny Profane ("a schlemihl and human yo-yo") along with a company of bohemians called the Whole Sick Crew, as they drink and … Continue reading Thomas Pynchon, V.
The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon My rating: 5 of 5 stars A summary of this classic 1965 short novel's unsummarizable plot: California housewife Oedipa Maas becomes executor ("or she supposed executrix") of the will of her late lover, real-estate magnate Pierce Inverarity. She travels from her domestic normality in Kinneret-among-Pines to a … Continue reading Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49
Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon My rating: 4 of 5 stars Moby-Dick—an epic, mock-epic, and Great American Novel—is supposed to be a difficult book, and it is. Its gigantism burst the bounds of novelistic form, its essayistic divagations on cetology delay the development of the linear narrative for the book's entire midsection, its ambiguous symbolism … Continue reading Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow
Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon My rating: 3 of 5 stars [Fair warning: the following is, deliberately, about as aleatory as the novel itself.] Well, I am not this novel's target demographic, to put it in the language of commerce that routed the hippie dream from within. It's only the second Pynchon novel I've ever … Continue reading Thomas Pynchon, Inherent Vice
Late in Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49, his heroine, Oedipa Maas, having stumbled upon the long transatlantic conspiracy of a Tory Anarchist underground postal service founded by a disinherited Spaniard and used by the plotters and by the dispossessed, wanders all night around San Francisco. There she encounters evidence of the postal underground … Continue reading On Bloomsday