There is no avoiding time (Pynchon’s Inherent Vice)

Sauncho was giving a kind of courtroom summary, as if he’d just been handling a case. “. . . yet there is no avoiding time, the sea of time, the sea of memory and forgetfulness, the years of promise, gone and unrecoverable, of the land almost allowed to claim its better destiny, only to have the claim jumped by evildoers known all too well, and taken instead and held hostage to the future we must live in now forever. May we trust that this blessed ship is bound for some better shore, some undrowned Lemuria, risen and redeemed, where the American fate, mercifully, failed to transpire . . .”

From Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice. The passage, near the end of the novel, acts as a summary—or rather one of several summaries—to Inherent Vice’s shaggy plot. The blessed ship is The Golden Fang, aka Preserved. I’ve been sketching out a riff on Inherent Vice the novel, Inherent Vice the film, and The Crying of Lot 49. (This passage also kinda sorta summarizes The Crying of Lot 49. And Mason & Dixon).

4 thoughts on “There is no avoiding time (Pynchon’s Inherent Vice)”

  1. I’m curious whether you think Pynchon over does the details. I’ve recently tried to read Gravity’s Rainbow and his most recent novel and just felt overwhelmed/bored by the endless detail on just about everything. what are your thoughts? maybe it’s because my taste runs to the opposite extreme, i.e., ‘telling’ detail trumps ‘endless’ every time.


  2. If you don’t like details then you wouldn’t like a lot of great writers. “Ulysses” makes “Gravity’s Rainbow” look almost like a quick sketch . That’s what’s great about literature, there’s a style for everyone. It’s all good.


  3. I find the entire movie enthralling. The detail is essential to its flavor. It makes me think of the old days; days that I thought were long forgotten. It’s just a cool film.


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