When I was in college, maybe summer after sophomore year, Thomas Pynchon was gonna be the guy I decided to love and get into. It was initially because his name and the cover of “V” drew me in and I have a fascination for long books and I was just convinced he was my guy. Turns out he’s an incredibly rewarding writer, and an incredibly frustrating writer.
So books like V and The Crying of Lot 49 are both pretty frustrating and pretty rewarding. Crying of Lot 49 is lesser in both categories. Gravity’s Rainbow is a book I’ve read, inasmuch as I consumed it, but I don’t know what I got out of it, and I will reread it soon. Mason and Dixon is a lifegoal kind of book for me and Against the Day is mostly just long, and once I can deal with that part of it, it should be fine. I have the audiobook of Bleeding Edge somewhere around here and will get to that soon.
This one though is weird. It’s a perfectly readable and easygoing book. It’s neither that complicated plotwise or through language, and so, I just couldn’t get that into it. It feels very lesser to me because it doesn’t present the kind of challenge I think about with Pynchon. And so my rating of it is rather lukewarm. It’s funny because I think I knew this the first few times I picked it up to read it….like how after a chapter or two I lost track of it. It’s not fair to the book per se, because it’s pretty funny and it’s not boring really. But it also just doesn’t feel like one of his. He’s definitely channeling Richard Farina and Hunter Thompson for this one, but it feels like he’s dabbling in a writing that not really his own. It’s the same kind of way a musician can do a really good rendition of a cover but their soul just isn’t in it. Something just doesn’t quite connect for me.
It’s an LA mystery….a kind of drugged out Chinatown….but you can feel it that Pynchon is just an East Coast guy whether he likes it or not.