Inherent Vice reflections

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Inherent Vice reflections

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aug 30, 2009, 11:19 pm

My first thought is that I'm enjoying it and finding some neat things here and there, but on the whole it's not nearly as well written as the other Pynchon books I read this year. He set the bar ridiculously high and didn't quite make with this one. Still a fun book.

sep 2, 2009, 3:50 pm

Not nearly as well written in what way? I think his prose is as lively as ever and the characters were a lot fuller than they are in his earlier books. Perhaps not as many highfalutin references? In my mind, the healthy smattering of pop culture seamlessly filled in that gap. Cut and dried narrative arc? Some people would say this is a good thing but I find that standard Pynchon chaos draws me in.... but yes, still marvelous fun!

sep 3, 2009, 11:43 am

I am enjoying it more as I go along.

I meant not as well written just on the level of the lyrical beauty of the sentences. There were some sections of V. that made chills go up my spine... that hasn't happened yet with Inherent Vice, but maybe it will?

sep 6, 2009, 4:35 pm

I found the same issue when I read Vineland On the one hand, it can't compete with the insanely labyrinthine brilliance of Gravity's Rainbow or the miniature perfection of Crying of Lot 49 On the other hand, Vineland is one of Pynchon's most personal and politically angry books.

Pynchon reminds me a lot of Rabelais in his wide-ranging knowledge, skepticism of authority temporal and spiritual, and verbal pyrotechnics. Rabelais is also a lot of fun to read. Full of giants, bawdy monks, and lists, lists, lists. Rabelais is not strong on plots or characterization, but fun to read. The volume I read was translated in 1960 and I'm curious if Pynchon could have read the same translation ... if not the original French.

Another comparison to Pynchon -- besides being a Time Lord -- is to the Coen Brothers The plot of Inherent Vice sounds very similar to The Big Lebowski -- convoluted plot, crazy characters, and abundant use of mind-altering substances.

sep 8, 2009, 1:45 pm

The two movies I've seen Inherent Vice compared to are 'The Big Lebowski' and 'Withnail and I'. Both are excellent movies, but I think IV has a totally different feel than both of them.

sep 23, 2009, 3:20 pm

Were there any sympathetic characters in this novel?