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October 17, 2008

Sell Me on Thomas Pynchon

Downblog, someone asked if he should read Gravity's Rainbow.

I say No.

I have to disagree with counter. It sucks. I know 30 people who have never gotten past the fucking banana fritters in chapters 1-3.

I hate it. I've tried reading it four times. My eyes slide off the page. He's too interested in weaving esoterica into prose.

You've probably already read it, but let me suggest the Cliff's Notes to any Pynchon -- Crying of Lot 49. 150 pages, punchy fast and funny, and pretty much it's the same Pynchon as in any of his brutally long books, so you're covered. You can pretend you read Gravity's Rainbow -- just swap out banana fritters for The Trystero.

I can take esoterica and wordplay for 150 pages. For 600 -- no thank you, Madam.

PS, since this is a geek site, I'll tell you something else:

The Pynchon pastiche The Illuminatus Trilogy sucks too, even for a "fun book." I tried to read that this summer, having heard about it since college.

What's the point?

PPS, I'm kinda drunk.

PPPS, if you want to read a classic "literary" corkscrewed-view of WWII novel, go with Catch 22. You'll hate it for 60 pages, begin to submit for the next 40, and love it the rest of the way.

And no banana fritters for 100 pages, either.

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posted by Ace at 02:09 AM

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