Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Every Thomas Pynchon Novel, Briefly Ranked

I saw Inherent Vice yesterday. That's the Paul Thomas Anderson movie based on a Thomas Pynchon novel. I've tried Pynchon a few times and can't do it. I read The Crying of Lot 49, got a couple of hundred pages into Gravity's Rainbow a couple of times and failed to find the verb in the first sentence of Mason & Dixon.

I was curious how PTA would approach it, knowing that he was probably the only person who could. I suppose he did a good job, because I couldn't get into it either. There's a dense conspiracy plot that's really really hard to follow. I'm sure it holds together, but I don't think anyone on first viewing can follow who does what and who says what and oh yeah what did that character do the last we time saw them? I'm sure that's just like the novel (though it's apparently one of the easier Pynchon books to follow). It's a dense plot with a really weak narrative.

So it's really about the journey and the atmosphere the film creates. 1970s LA Noir with stoners. I have to say, I just don't care. Yes there are some funny scenes and from some friends who saw it, I could have had a better audience. I saw it with about 25 people who I think each (including me) laughed once, at a different scene. Friends saw it in a packed house with people laughing all the way through. Regardless, this is no Lebowski.

Anyway, Vulture lists Every Thomas Pynchon Novel, Briefly Ranked if you want to give it a shot.

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