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Inherent Vice

January 12, 2009

The word on the street is that Thomas Pynchon will release a new book titled Inherent Vice on August 4th, 2009. I certainly hope the word is accurate–primarily because I just pre-ordered my copy from Amazon. According to the 2009 Summer Penguin Press Catalogue (pdf) the novel is, “part noir, part psychedelic romp, all Thomas Pynchon.”

For a few months I’ve been listening to Against the Day–Pynchon’s 2006 novel as read by Dick Hill–and have been finishing Slow Learner–his collection of early short stories for the last week or so. At the moment, I can’t seem to get enough Pynchon. What intrigues me about his work is that the reader cannot seem to dig deep enough to wholly understand Pynchon’s prose.

Example: Because I thought that Pynchon had possibly made up a mathematical quandary, I did a quick Google search for the Riemann zeta function that set me down an hour long quest of digesting ridiculous mathematical equations that I couldn’t possibly understand. I like to imagine that Pynchon understands everything he writes about, but I don’t know that it is possible.

I tend to go through phases with authors. I was heavily into Hanif Kureishi for a few months, then it was Don DeLillo, then Paul Auster, and now it’s Thomas Pynchon (with a bit of Cormac McCarthy mixed it). I imagine that I will next switch to Philip Roth to round out the contemporary American greats (at least according to Harold Bloom).

What have you been reading recently?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 12, 2009 7:40 pm

    “What intrigues me about his work is that the reader cannot seem to dig deep enough to wholly understand Pynchon’s prose.” Aaaaarrrrrgggghhh. That’s what drives me crazy about Pynchon. When I read him I feel stupid.

    I got a new book in from Amazon today, Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food. I’ve just gotta read something that wasn’t written in the 18th century or I’m gonna go crazy!

  2. eric permalink
    January 15, 2009 4:40 pm

    I had some kind of revelation somewhere in the middle of Against The Day where I realized that this is an author not to be taken too seriously. ATD reads like a childhood adventure story, but since it’s R-rated, and has an elevated vocabulary and prose style, it’s tolerable when read by an adult. When I see people over the age of 20 reading Harry Potter books, I want to buy them a copy of ATD.


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