Book Review: Thomas Pynchon | Inherent Vice

Being the author that he is, Thomas Pynchon is not known for his brevity or linear narrative. Pynchon has been writing since the '60s is characterized by verbose, meandering and postmodern prose, and over the course of his illustrious tenure as one of America's great literary men he's touched on pretty much every issue known to Americans since we "lost our innocence" during the World Wars. I begin with all this biographical background becuase, having just finished his most recent work, Inherent Vice, I have no intention of falsely boasting a literary pedigree of a high enough order to review this book.

Instead, thanks to the technological advances of the ARPAnet a.k.a. the Internet—which makes an appearance in the novel—I have stumbled across this Inherent Vice Wiki page and in turn, I found the thorough and most enlightening "Call It Capitalism," a review written by Thomas Jones for the London Review of Books. I refer you to his review over my own because, as Jones points out:

"We’re not even 25 pages in, and Doc [the protationist] hasn’t yet been contacted by the widow of Coy Harlingen, who used to play the saxophone in an experimental surf band called the Boards, and who may not in fact have died of a heroin overdose, as everybody supposed, but be working as a counter-revolutionary triple agent for the FBI or some other, even more secret government – or possibly supra-governmental – agency. Phew."

Nuff said. If not, check this youtube video—narrated by Pynchon himself—that sets the stage for his '70s-beach-bum-PI-pothead-mega-conspiracy-crime-caper-against-capitalism story.

—Joshua P. Ferguson


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