version's Thomas Pynchon masterclass

version

Well-known member
Actually just looked again... seems like Vineland is bottom according to everyone but me. But the rest stands. Consensus?
I'm rereading Vineland atm and loving it. It's miles better than I remembered. The structure's insane; flashbacks inside flashbacks. He's on top form prose-wise too. I reread Bleeding Edge a couple of days ago and enjoyed it even more than last time, but going back to this one's really shown it up. It's longer, but you can tell he doesn't have the same command of his talents by that point. There aren't as many of those dense, descriptive paragraphs and he leans more heavily on gags and pop culture references.

I haven't finished the reread yet, but I think I disagree with @Slothrop on Vineland's handling of the counterculture now. I'm up to the bit where we hear what happened to Weed Atman and, so far, my impression's less that Pynchon fully believes in the revolutionary potential of the 60s and more that he thinks there's something admirable in opposition to the state and that the response and behaviour of the American state in the 60s was so appalling he can't help sympathising with the counterculture.

He shows the hippies doing some brave things and having certain ideals at one time or another, but he also shows them screwing each other over, not really knowing what they're talking about and making stupid decisions. It's not a particularly rosy portrait, even if the police etc are the big bad.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
I'm rereading Vineland atm and loving it. It's miles better than I remembered. The structure's insane; flashbacks inside flashbacks. He's on top form prose-wise too. I reread Bleeding Edge a couple of days ago and enjoyed it even more than last time, but going back to this one's really shown it up. It's longer, but you can tell he doesn't have the same command of his talents by that point. There aren't as many of those dense, descriptive paragraphs and he leans more heavily on gags and pop culture references.

I haven't finished the reread yet, but I think I disagree with @Slothrop on Vineland's handling of the counterculture now. I'm up to the bit where we hear what happened to Weed Atman and, so far, my impression's less that Pynchon fully believes in the revolutionary potential of the 60s and more that he thinks there's something admirable in opposition to the state and that the response and behaviour of the American state in the 60s was so appalling he can't help sympathising with the counterculture.

He shows the hippies doing some brave things and having certain ideals at one time or another, but he also shows them screwing each other over, not really knowing what they're talking about and making stupid decisions. It's not a particularly rosy portrait, even if the police etc are the big bad.
Would you say it's a better bet than TCoL49 for someone pondering whether to read a third Pynchon novel? (i.e. not GR or V., in my case.)
 

version

Well-known member
I prefer it atm, but I think Lot 49's probably a better bet. That being said, maybe one of the later ones with the change of tone like Vineland might appeal to you more if you've already read two of the three early ones.

I imagine you cba with another big one for the time being, but I can picture Mason & Dixon being the one you'd enjoy the most.
 

catalog

Well-known member
5nrvci.jpg
 

catalog

Well-known member
my mate is re-reading AtD right now, he's read it before and loves it the most of all the pynchons, so much spo he named his son "Frank".

He said he's rereading slowly, apparently this is what pynchon advised, few pages every few weeks, eke it out over a year.

whereas i burned through it.
 

luka

Well-known member
if you were going to do pynchon justice which a) i cant be bothered to do and b) probably isnt worth it not only would you need to read slowly you would also need to pursue all the libnes of research eg alright then what was ig farben
 

luka

Well-known member
but reading it and not doing that i guess is an even bigger waste of time than doing it properly. worst of all worlds. so i think im done with pynchon
 

catalog

Well-known member
there's enough standout passages in against the day, definitely, to reward a skim. like those bits with frank avenging his father in the desert town called hell, or the guy who is making chaos (gas).

it's a lot better than gravity's rainbow in that way i would say, far more coherent and "easy" for want of a better word.

but equally, slow reading is probably a good idea. and pursuing all the lines. i think version's doing that really, cos he's just reading him again and again and applying him to stuff.

i take a lot of notes on all the books i read and write about them on here and talk about them a lot as well.
 

catalog

Well-known member
but weren't you saying somewhere else about modernist writing that reading all the commentary is an important thing to do. i dunno if i would ever be able to go down a pynchon rabbit hole but one of the reasons i wrote those long posts when i was reading AtD is cos i was wondering what someone else might say about those bits.
 

luka

Well-known member
but also rememeber that you can treat several books by the same author as one long book which gives you more options.
having said that, for you, at this stage of your journey, it is probably best to read the maximus poems
 

catalog

Well-known member
the olson? yeah maybe. i have a mental block with poetry as poetry but blake has been helping me to come out of it.
 

luka

Well-known member
it doesnt read as poetry, you wont notice it go down. i mean, a lot of it isnt poetry its just stuff he's read, fact, and stuck down on the page
 

catalog

Well-known member
yeah i'll try get hold of a copy at some point. i did have it in mind from ages ago cos of sinclair, but i stopped that avenue when i read some of sinclair's actual poetry and thought nah.

have you ever written prose? i like a lot of prose written by people who used to be poets - sinclair, bolano
 

luka

Well-known member
stuff about the history of the settlement and its settlers, facts and figures. to create a gestalt. its a book you will understand and enjoy and more importantly it will give you entry into an exclusive club. everyone has read pynchon but olson is mostly forgotten.
 
Top