Thomas Pynchon

  • bainbrge 20 Sep 2006 20:27:45 1,687 posts
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    I know there's a "what are you reading now" thread, but my nascent obsession with Pynchon brooks no restriction on creating a new one.

    I've just finished "Gravity's Rainbow", and "The Crying of Lot 49", and they're bloody amazing. I can't believe the themes he uses in both books - i'm told he started some novels on the basis of an abstract theory, and then builds the plot around that.

    I now have a burning desire to learn more about Rilke, various forms of entropy, Brenschluss points (and derivatives in general), Thurn and Taxis (who knew they even existed?), and Slothrop's pavlovian erections caused by Nazi rockets.

    Much recommended - anyone else enjoy reading his books?
  • Pike 20 Sep 2006 20:30:33 13,459 posts
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    I've started on Gravity's Rainbow thre times and grew bored after ten pages each time. The guy needs to learn some restraint.
  • bainbrge 20 Sep 2006 20:34:55 1,687 posts
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    I thought that too initially - but there's definitely a rythym, everything starts fitting together after a while and you find yourself doodling "Rocketman was here" on random bits of paper.

    The Crying of Lot 49 is a little less like the inside of someone elses hallucination.
  • CerealKey 20 Sep 2006 21:29:42 2,860 posts
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    I managed 100 pages of Gravity's Rainbow and then had to stop.

    He's got a new book out soon, bainbrge.
  • Trillion 20 Sep 2006 21:45:06 76 posts
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    I thoroughly recommend Mason & Dixon - it's one of my all-time favourite books.
    It's more accessible than Gravity's Rainbow, and very, very funny.

    Edited by Trillion at 10:02:41 22-09-2006
  • Cuchulainn 20 Sep 2006 22:03:52 845 posts
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    Yup, Gravity's Rainbow is my nemesis, bookwise. Started it maybe 4 times now. Get about 100 pages in and think "eff this, what else is on the shelf?" I'd really like to read it from what other people say about it, but I just can't get into it..
  • Dgzter 19 Jul 2016 16:08:49 3,226 posts
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    Ten-year necro \o/

    Off work poorly today (head cold in this fucking weather? go figure), so decided to pick up Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow again.

    I read it many years ago and it really was a head-fuck then, and I'm glad to see that even after all this time it retains that sort of impact. His prose style really is superb; bit of a tome though, so I envisage it taking up the best part of my Summer reading this year.

    Anyone else read this, or returned to it, recently?
  • BeebleB 19 Jul 2016 17:57:20 1,328 posts
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    Yea I read it this year. Didn't follow what was going on for the first 100 pages and some of it is bonkers but in a good way.
    Great read though with some really good writing and some of it is really funny. Definitely want to read some more Pynchon at some point but not for a while.
  • anephric 19 Jul 2016 22:31:44 4,207 posts
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    I've tried and failed to get through Gravity's Rainbow twice. I've read dense prose before, and not been deterred, I just can't get into it.
  • Mr_Sleep 19 Jul 2016 22:35:15 23,457 posts
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    Twice for me too. I keep staring at it on my shelf, it taunts me.
  • anephric 19 Jul 2016 22:42:27 4,207 posts
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    I feel somehow intellectually deficient that it keeps thwarting me. I might start lying and say I really dug it, like I did with House of Leaves, when I'm down the pub (in my room) drinking beer (wanking) with the boys (forever alone).
  • SilentTristero 20 Jul 2016 00:12:41 445 posts
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    One of the greatest.

    Didn't think the Inherent Vice adaptation was too bad either
  • Dgzter 20 Jul 2016 08:32:19 3,226 posts
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    @anephric I certainly wouldn't feel intellectually deficient. I soldiered through it in my early-twenties, but I guarantee you that I barely comprehended about a third of it at the time. Will be interesting to see how it goes now some ten years later :)

    Interesting that you mention House of Leaves. I definitely came away from that feeling that it was reaching too hard to be pretentious and textbook-definition 'postmodern'. Also found the way he played with format and structure to be infuriating; I get he was shooting for that sort of ergodic literary effect, but it didn't really work for me.
  • anephric 20 Jul 2016 09:45:34 4,207 posts
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    I used to read tonnes of high-falutin' stuff in my 20s - Mann, Zola, Mishima. Pynchon just knocks me into a cocked hat. My middle-aged brain is too addled to absorb that sort of stuff now.
  • robertaugustdemeijer 23 Jan 2017 10:11:26 32 posts
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    Crying Lot of 49 is quite readable and just as intellectually tingling as his longer works.

    If you don't enjoy a Pynchon work by page 40, don't feel stupid. You might want to give David Foster Wallace a chance, though.
  • simpleexplodingmaybe 23 Jan 2017 10:30:40 14,003 posts
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    I really liked Crying of Lot 49 and thought Vineland was pretty good too. Both were at the heart of my time of reading lots of Will Self and Kurt Vonnegut so Pynchon fell in nicely there.

    Terrible attitude I know but I've always been a bit put off by the length of his other stuff.
  • AidenLaidlaw 3 Jun 2020 21:18:57 1 posts
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    Hi, this is fun to learn, I think it's worth it. I myself am still a university student, I like to learn, read a lot of interesting literature, write essays, create different projects, I organize competitions, conferences myself, and that's cool. Here is one of my works https://tooly.io/childhood-obesity/, Obesity in children: global epidemic and ethical issues are a very complex topic, we organized meetings and consultations to help people, children. I recommend to go and read, good luck and success!

    Edited by AidenLaidlaw at 21:19:14 03-06-2020
  • mudskipp 3 Jun 2020 21:31:38 81 posts
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    Damn you aidenlaidlaw, I got well excited seeing this thread bumped. I really really like inherent vice but gave up just after halfway with gravity's rainbow. I didn't feel like I was getting anything more out of it that I'd already got. I think I prefer his shorter stuff and wary of trying another huge one.
    Has anyone read bleeding edge? I liked vineland too and everything bar the play section in crying lot of 49.
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