Blogged Out Ma Nut

Emoticoning but with letters.

Against the Day - Thomas Pynchon Is it ok if I get a lil’ pretentious on your asses?

(What am I talking about, this is a Pynchon review, it’s almost compulsory! In fact, the above could be P’s tagline- I’ll call his agent and set up an… oh yeah, I forgot.)


Reading this book is a lot like travelling along the Riemann zeta function that Pynchon seems so fond of. Locally, we travel small coherent distances, moving round a logical path, but when we zoom out and observe the story globally, we see how convoluted and complex it really is. Cutting a vertical cross-section through the function, we'll see the same sets of characters and storylines sometimes, but a lot of empty space where we're on our own. You can read tens, twenties of pages of this book that are like small packets of story that make sense, but go any further and you’ll get completely lost.

Here we see Pynchon older (I didn’t say mature), more relaxed, and off drugs, and so are his characters for the most part. Also they’ve stopped multiplying, in more than one way: there’s only 100+ of them instead of the 400+ of [b:Gravity's Rainbow|415|Gravity's Rainbow|Thomas Pynchon||866393] for eg., and they have significantly less sex (thankfully- TP’s ‘lovemaking’ scenes make [b:Fifty Shades|10818853|Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1)|E.L. James||15732562] look like marital missionary!) Sometimes, when they make a second, third? What? Fourth appearance? You even remember their names! Great! Those were exactly the changes I wanted from GR, and yet I still like GR more, only because of its more enjoyable settings as well as my own stubbornness and first Pynchon nostalgia (oh, last year! How long ‘twas ago lawl)

Still we see his traditional format of writing from a talent tower above all other novelists, but with his mind in the gutter. Also you’ll read familiar themes of predestination, the futility of war, unconventional love, yadda yadda and plenty of silly songs too. Spoiler alert: not a single kazoo this time!

Although I did find the ijk, vector, quaternion chat (and Tesla cameo was stoopid) a bit aimless and reminded me of my least favourite Pynchon trait, the interjection of showy-off academic chat that almost deliberately excludes you from having fun with him. Yeah, [a:Joyce|5144|James Joyce|]’s ideal reader was himself, but that wasn’t a good thing, dude (or wazzit or wizzit I gettit). Nonetheless, it’s hard not to be charmed by big P’s playful genre-hopping neither- boy’s adventure novel runs into hardboiled crime begets… is that supposed to be [a:Henry James|159|Henry James|]? At least this time you can celebrate your own cleverness as well as his. And some sections could even be described as… sweet.

Good on you mate. I’ll read the rest, too :D

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