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thereviewman

The Review Man

Formerly of Goodreads, now of both words, in the coming times only here?

Currently reading

Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature
Margaret Atwood
Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals
Robert M. Pirsig
Simulacra and Simulation (The Body, In Theory: Histories of Cultural Materialism)
Jean Baudrillard, Sheila Faria Glaser
Leaven of Malice
Robertson Davies
The Salterton Trilogy
Robertson Davies
Effi Briest (Penguin Classics)
Theodor Fontane
Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World
Nicholas Ostler
Cases And Materials On The Law Of Torts
Robert M. Solomon
Public Law : Cases Materials and Commentary
Philip Bryden, Craik, Neil, Craig Forcese, Forcese, Craig
A Property Law Reader
Bruce H. Ziff
Inherent Vice - Thomas Pynchon Inherent Vice is probably the least Pynchon-y Pynchon novel out there: it's short (only 300-odd pages), not terribly dense (no references to the quaternion group or rocket science) and not terribly life-changing either. If not for his name on the front cover, I'm not sure I would've marked it as his work right away. Of course, there are all sorts of Pynchon-esque elements scattered throughout Inherent Vice too: random pop songs, paranoia dripping from every paragraph, ridiculous names. (Art Tweedle? Puck Beaverton? Larry Sportello? Mickey Wolfmann? You can't make this stuff up.)

So what does that make Inherent Vice? In some ways it was a disappointing mystery story with a plot didn't resolve as cleanly as I would have liked. Or maybe it's about setting, about the stoners who created the 60s as we know them, about the people who eventually moved on.

I read Inherent Vice as quickly as I could (mostly because I had about 10 other books on the go) and it was a dizzying affair. As I neared the end, I started confusing characters and motives and backstories; I couldn't remember where I had first seen Puck's name and I totally forgot why that guy wearing the Shasta tie was important. But in some ways, my confusion mirrored Doc Sportello's quite nicely -- while Doc was wading through a mess of places, names and assorted drugs, I was trying to find my way through his equally confusing story. And I didn't even begin to look for thematic elements at work in the novel.

Inherent Vice is an odd little work that doesn't quite fit on Pynchon's bookshelf, but it's still a lot of fun to read. There're a few funny parts too -- look for Denis wearing a slice of pizza on his head. You'll have to read it to believe it.