One of my more interesting vacations involved a weekend in Palm Desert with Thomas Pynchon‘s just-released Mason & Dixon. Fueled by coffee, date shakes and excitement, I plowed through that book’s 773 pages in 3 days, and emerged from it shaken…dazzled…moved. Yep, moved. What seems to get lost in the shuffle when those of us who still talk about Pynchon talk about Pynchon is how gracefully he can knit together a moment of Maximum Emotional Devastation. I’m thinking now of Mason receiving comfort from his estranged son in the wake of Dixon’s death, or Zoyd Wheeler’s understanding that after so many wrong turns in life, in coming to Vineland, he was finally, FINALLY, guiding his family somewhere right—and good. I could go on and on, and probably will, when next Tuesday sees the release of Pynchon’s seventh book, Inherent Vice. The early reviews are in, and they do look promising—especially if you’ve been waiting for a Pynchonian take on Raymond Chandler set in the very beach towns where he presumably composed Gravity’s Rainbow.
And if you’re interested in that book’s construction, you might want to check out
A Journey Into The Mind Of [p]. The more interesting parts of Fosco Dubini’s (!) documentary trace Pynchon’s footsteps all the way to the apartment he was living and writing in. The least interesting parts revolve around the chase for the man himself.
I mean, we (old fans) all know what he looks like by now, don’t we?!
Louis Menand on Inherent Vice in The New Yorker
Tim Martin on Inherent Vice in The Telegraph
Oh, and big FYI: the Inherent Vice wiki goes live next Tuesday morning!