Pynchon, simply put, leaves EVEN JOYCE far behind...I suggest Vineland first, followed by either GR or M&D...
hm...i'm writing my BA paper about Pynchon's Crying of Lot 49....and maybe i could get help concerning this issue?
There are no issues in Crying of Lot 49.
Pynchon is one of my favorites. I would start with lot 49, or V. if you want more of a challenge.
Gravity's Rainbow - what a read - Bliss
i agree, he´s great...however VINELAND is not a very good book at all. it´s probably a good idea to start with lot 49 but a better one would be to go ahead and grab gravity´s rainbow, without a doubt one of the greatest novels ever written.
does anyone know of a modern english translation of mason&dixon?it may be as fantastic as the rest of his books,but i flat could not read it
I have to a agree with valdemarjurel, compared to GR I find the rest of Pynchon pretty disappointing. GR is just so totally epic in terms of it's themes and metaphors. I've read it some 11 times and still get things from it.
i agree that the rest of his work doesnt quite measure up to gravity's rainbow,but after you've written the finest novel of all time,what do you do for an encore.even the great dostoyevsky only cracked the top ten with c&p and the brothers k.and i really think V. is another top ten book.vineland may not be earth shattering but its still a damn good book.m&d on the other hand may be a great piece of work,but i found it such slow going[not being willing to delve into Olde Englishe researches]that after 3 weeks i gave up .plus lot 49 which though short is an almost perfect elaboration of the idea that just cuz your paranoid dont mean they are not out to get you
A standard problem when your first encounter with any artist is their apogee. Much better to first enounter their works that are merely "good" and then grow with them.
For me this has happened with too many authors, they set a standard which their younger (or older) selves cannot match. Sigh....
The issue at the heart of Lot 49: I'd have to say stamp collection.
Its either that or MASSIVE WORLDWIDE CONSPIRACY.
In fact, whenever I'm having a bit of trouble finding the "issue" in Pynchon's books, I generally just fall back on MASSIVE WORLDWIDE CONSPIRACY-A CABAL OF THE FEW DICTATING THE ACTIONS AND SITUATIONS OF THE MASSES. Or something like that.
>>By Ortho Stice
Well, I just read M&D, and it's quite stunning. Anyway, my topmost novel is still "Life: A User's Manual" by Georges Perec, may be my opinion change when I read GR?
I'm about 600 pages into my first read of GR. People either seem to love it or hate it. It's not such a tough read if you just take it slow and savor the avalanche of words and images. Pynchon's style alone is a thrill ride. Plus, through the linguistic haze, he's saying some heavy stuff about human nature.
Pynchon drops so much knowledge it frightens me.
The density of his works frightens me.
The intensity of his thirst frightens me.
The immensity of his words frightens me.
Agreed. The teacher who turned me on to Pynchie way back in h.s lent me Lot 49 first for a taste, then on to GR. Gotta say that was the best imho. Guess it helps to read M & D after swiggin a few pints of ale and perhaps some other mind benders, then immersing yourself in Anglican church hymns for a bit to get a handle on the lingo--liberally cut with some Swift, of course. Just remember that he's only adding k's, -ough's, and other non-standard spellings of contemporary words. Dig the Chinese-Jesuit connection. Wonder when his next is coming. Anyone know?
Reading anything by Pynchon is an act of attrition. He is a good writer in terms of imagery and poetic sense of tone, but he is too cold and detatched, characterizationwise that is, to be as great as Dostoyevsky or Joyce. He does love his research! I used that Gravity's Rainbow companion after I had read about 200 pages in and I got alot more out of the reading. Once his sources are pinned down (which I bet Pynchon himself doesn't even recall too thoroughly after writing his books!), you can see what is going on. There is order in the miasma of GR. "V." was cool too, as well as "Lot 49". "Mason & Dixon" is also brilliant. I think it may be his best, but I love American History especially filtered through the Pynchonian weirdness. "Vineland" bored me. I didn't finish it. I am happy I read his stuff, but his detatchment from the world shows through in his writing, and this is a prevailing phenomenom of our modern culture, but he was affected by it just a bit too much. I guess he couldn't handle his drug experimentation as well as others. Farina musta gave him some potent acid at Cornell. . . I love his middle name as well: RUGGLES! He is just a freak who was meant to be this weird.
smirkbot, yes, he's cryptic right? I agree. I'm only a little ways into Gravity's Rainbow, but I'm disturbed by his average of three different acronyms per page. I am fighting valiantly against my impatience.
Perhaps being cryptic is his tragic flaw - drawing us in and pushing us away at the same time?
When 1st read Neal Stephenson's stuff I thought, "Man, this guy gets a lot from Pynchon," but I have to say that Neal's last 3 novels - THE BAROQUE TRILOGY - leave MASON & DIXON in the dust.
Still, GRAVITY'S RAINBOW is pretty fucking good, though the rest of his stuff doesn't have that same kind of resonance for me.
(Anyone notice that Pynchon's done credited voice work - in a cameo as himself - on THE SIMPSONS in 2 different episodes now?)
This is basically in response to lanark's earlier post in discussion room.
I wonder how difficult it might be to get a Georges Perec room set up here . . .
"Life: A User's Manual" has a fascination for me also . . . but not nearly
as much (as of yet) as does Joyce's oeuvre. I suppose it takes a while
to an acquire an appreciation of many of Perec's take-offs, send-ups
rebuses & puzzlements.
I am a huge Pynchon fan . . . never finished "Mason & Dixon" . . .sometimes
my mind wanders off the beaten track . . . which may be just all right when
scrutinizing Pynchon things . . . but still . . .
let's get some things going on here . . .re: above.
Gravity's Rainbow is a holy Text-the crying of lot 49 is a small chapter
I've read all TP's novels, and managed to come to some kind of understanding of all, some more than others - I found "Mason & Dixon" to be the easiest read. But his early stories, straight forward narrations, easy to follow: but I just can't figure out the point of "Entrophy", which is always treated with great respect by lit critics; and the one about the folk in the rubbish dump seems a total waste of time and space to me.
Has Pynchon come out with a novel that I am totally UNAWARE of . . .I just say an
advertisement for "Against the Day" by Pynchon in this site . . .I shall certainly
check out the matter at the local book store . . . I don't know how I could have missed
it though . . .because I stay fairly up to date about new releases from my favorite
authors such as Pynchon.
Just wondering whaaaa?
Please excuse the typos/errata above . . .I'm a bit groggy today . . .I meant to print that I saw "saw" an advertisement etc . . .
Thanks for Your Patience --- Sator
Just curious if anyone out there might have looked into Pynchon's "Against the Day" yet . . .perhaps to get some idea about what the reviewers are saying etc.
I did see it at the bookseller's yesterday . . . over a thousand pages which is quite hefty even for Pynchon.
Any ideas re: this matter/theme?
Just thought I'd let the group here know that I'm about 300 pages into "Against the Day" . . .I am enjoying it . . .there's multiple plots all over the place as one would expect . . .occasional great prose passages . . .sometimes his "poetic" imagistic flair reminds me to "V" which overall is still my favorite Pynchon novel. I'm reading a library copy of the "AtD" . . .hopefully I shall have completed a good half of the novel by the time it's due . . .and then I can decide if I want to go all the way through . . .it's not "plot-driver" but one doesn't expect such from Pynchon anyway . . .there's a kind of "edginess" but rather "toned-down" if one compared it to GR.
More later . . .
Your roving reporter ---
I don't know much about Thomas Pynchon except that I love when they make fun of him on The Simpsons!
The thing that I like most about Pynchon is the thing that I hate most about him. His works are meant to confuse, confound, mislead and entertain serious readers. I am of the opinion he achieves this by doing all of the above to himself in his process. (He wrote some of his novels three at a time....is it anywonder the plots and characters in his novels are so ephemeral) It is the unbridled success of this intimidating mix of heady prose, obscure facts, bad puns and blind alley plots and twists that leaves literary types in a school girl fluster of shock and awe at his deconstructivision. I like the ride but have never been sure there was anything beyond his unmistakable talent to his vision. Certainly the novel is a small container within which to try to house life or a comprehensive vision of it. But to taunt and tease everyone within the genre with anti-novels and beautiful prose that intentionally goes nowhere may be more about killing the novel as a satisfying art form than about taking it to a new level. Maybe I don't want to work that hard at a leisure activity.
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