It was ok ☺
I won’t say much about the plot- if you’ve read Pynchon before, you’ll know why!
While reading this I kept thinking about something [a:Louis Theroux|92848|Louis Theroux|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1273540184p2/92848.jpg] said, which was (I never remember exact quotes) along the lines of: people always say “I don’t read enough”, but nobody ever says “I don’t watch enough TV”, so in that sense TV is a medium that people aren’t afraid of, which he appreciated in terms of his audience. Well, [a:Pynchon|235|Thomas Pynchon|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1344580482p2/235.jpg] has written the kind of Pynchon book that people can’t be afraid of- it’s simple enough, finding the references are good fun, its nowhere near as transgressive as his back catalogue (I found one or perhaps two sexual encounters? One was vague and the other one was absolutely pathetic! I’ll let you find it though, it was pretty funny), so great! If it’s taken him this long to create the kind of retroactive stepping stone that will get more people reading Gravity’s Rainbow
, that’s just fine.
And as I’ve said before, when I read Gravity’s Rainbow, there were a number of changes I wanted that would have improved my enjoyment, which were: larger pockets of coherent passages, less characters and less disgust. Then in Against The Day
all these changes were made, and it was a wonderful book but comparably the mind-boggling density of it was diminished (still mind-bogglingly denser that so many other books). With Bleeding Edge we see the density diminished further still through these same three changes and more, creating a backwards ramp of difficulty through the Pynchon portfolio- and that’s just grand! (What I’m trying to say is, read everything Pynchon has ever written.) Oh, and the signposts for the potential date of events are much clearer: characters mention films that come with their date of release, videogames that they play had specific release dates (that are not really mentioned, but still burned into the memory of my childhood) but the band of possible time in which events could be taking place is vastly decreased. The 90s-00s references are one of the most fun things about this book, and there’ll definitely be some “Oh yeah, that!” moments as well as amusement that Pynchon is aware of pokemon, Furbies, Quake machinima etc.- I don’t know why he wouldn’t be! Pynchon is the kind of social commentator that I imagine a lot of his references are aware of, quite appropriate for his self-referential postmodern stylings- I mean to say that I bet Arnold Vosloo is touched that he had his own sentence and fictional fan in a Pynchon book! And that’s another thing, there's something about the way this time period is documented that is much more intimate. I find it hard to believe Pynchon deliberately researched all of this and wasn’t forced by his son to play Super Mario or see The Mummy films (nothing wrong with those examples anyways, great fun), but all of this is still tinged with his sense of humour, winking at us about his personal life in his fiction without letting us know anything about the reality.
I think it would be silly to say that the way BE is written isn’t deliberate, or that Pynchon’s “lost it”- maybe there’s something about the time period that is more open, less confused, perhaps the reduced number of characters and the clarity of the plot represents a disconnectedness or a greater transparency following the advent of the internet, in which hundreds people with silly names can’t get up to perverted things then drop off the page. I’d like to believe that ☺ Although from such a master of conspiracy and paranoia, I was dying to hear him say more about 9/11, and I wish he had.
So what the hell are the 3* for?! This book is well better than most, but it’s hard not to be disappointed given what the author is capable of. So all in all, I greatly appreciate the need for this book but I expected more.
Hope you keep writing mate, I’m still a fan4lief!!!!!!!!!