“…in the direction of increasing entropy” (Another Riff on Pynchon’s Novel Against the Day)

1. So in the final pages of Against the Day, Thomas Pynchon takes us back to those heroes of the ether who initiated the book, the Chums of Chance. They’ve been absent for a long stretch, with only the occasional mention here or there to assure us that yes, they are still in the narrative, but under… Continue reading “…in the direction of increasing entropy” (Another Riff on Pynchon’s Novel Against the Day)

“…a spectral cavalry, faces disquietingly wanting in detail, eyes little more than blurred sockets…” (Another Riff on Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day)

Another riff on/citation from Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day. In this episode, our heroes, Chums of Chance Chick Counterfly (chief science officer) and Darby Suckling (chief horndog) have found their way to an off-brand time machine, managed and (shoddily) maintained by Dr. Zoot (whose doctorate seems unlikely). Dr. Zoot sends the boys (ostensibly) to the… Continue reading “…a spectral cavalry, faces disquietingly wanting in detail, eyes little more than blurred sockets…” (Another Riff on Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day)

“Smite early and often” (Another Riff on Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day)

1. The passage I’ll be riffing on today is hardly the funniest or most dazzling piece of writing I’ve encountered so far in Thomas Pynchon’s massive, shaggy novel Against the Day. However, I think this stretch of writing neatly and concisely illustrates the perspective (maybe world view is a better term; hell, we could even go with fancy-pants Weltanschauung here) of… Continue reading “Smite early and often” (Another Riff on Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day)

“…he enjoyed a sort of dual existence” (Another Riff on Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day)

He had brought with him a dime novel, one of the Chums of Chance series, The Chums of Chance at the Ends of the Earth, and for a while each night he sat in the firelight and read to himself but soon found he was reading out loud to his father’s corpse, like a bedtime… Continue reading “…he enjoyed a sort of dual existence” (Another Riff on Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day)

The Chums of Chance vs The Legion of Gnomes (Citation from + Riff on Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day)

At first the “noise” seemed no more than the ensemble of magnetoatmospheric disturbances which the boys had long grown used to, perhaps here intensified by the vastly resonant space into which they were moving ever deeper. But presently the emission began to coalesce into human timbres and rhythms—not speech so much as music, as if… Continue reading The Chums of Chance vs The Legion of Gnomes (Citation from + Riff on Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day)

Three potential starting points for reading Thomas Pynchon

Today is Pynchon in Public Day, so today’s Three Books blog offers three books that I think may make good entry points for those interested in, but perhaps unnecessarily daunted by, Thomas Pynchon. My intuition is that many readers’ first experiences reading Pynchon may have been like mine: I read The Crying of Lot 49 as a college […]

Continue reading Three potential starting points for reading Thomas Pynchon

A riff on starting Robert Coover’s first novel, Origin of the Brunists

Origin of the Brunists is Robert Coover’s first novel. First published in 1966, this long novel tells the story of an apocalyptic religious cult that forms around the sole survivor of a mining accident. The novel begins with the Brunists prepping for the upcoming end of the world (doomsday is scheduled for the weekend). After this… Continue reading A riff on starting Robert Coover’s first novel, Origin of the Brunists

Pynchon in Public Day, 2018

What the hell is Pynchon in Public Day? My (incomplete) annotations of Gravity’s Rainbow An argument for three possible starting points for reading Thomas Pynchon In which I read Playboy for the Thomas Pynchon article   List of Possible Descriptors for Against the Day Captain Geoffrey “Pirate” Prentice’s bodacious banana breakfast for a bunch of hung over army officers… Continue reading Pynchon in Public Day, 2018

Three potential starting points for reading Thomas Pynchon

Today is Pynchon in Public Day, so today’s Three Books blog offers three books that I think may make good entry points for those interested in, but perhaps unnecessarily daunted by, Thomas Pynchon. My intuition is that many readers’ first experiences reading Pynchon may have been like mine: I read The Crying of Lot 49 as a college […]

Continue reading Three potential starting points for reading Thomas Pynchon

Three Books (that are good starting points for reading Thomas Pynchon)

Today is Pynchon in Public Day, so today’s Three Books blog offers three books that I think may make good entry points for those interested in, but perhaps unnecessarily daunted by, Thomas Pynchon. My intuition is that many readers’ first experiences reading Pynchon may have been like mine: I read The Crying of Lot 49 as a college… Continue reading Three Books (that are good starting points for reading Thomas Pynchon)

A rambling and possibly incoherent riff on Inherent Vice (film and novel) and The Crying of Lot 49

A. The first time I saw Paul Thomas Anderson’s film Inherent Vice, I was in the middle of rereading Pynchon’s novel The Crying of Lot 49, which I hadn’t read in fifteen years. I remembered the novel’s vibe, its milieu, but not really its details. B. I read The Crying of Lot 49 and then immediately reread it. It seemed much… Continue reading A rambling and possibly incoherent riff on Inherent Vice (film and novel) and The Crying of Lot 49

I review my review of Thomas Pynchon’s novel Inherent Vice an hour before seeing PTA’s film adaptation

I’m leaving to (finally) see Paul Thomas Anderson’s film Inherent Vice in a few minutes. I’m going with my uncle. (I also saw No Country for Old Men with him in the theater. This point seems hardly worth these parentheses). Below, in block quotes, is my review of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice (which I published here—the review obviously—in 2009). My 2015 comments… Continue reading I review my review of Thomas Pynchon’s novel Inherent Vice an hour before seeing PTA’s film adaptation

Thomas Pynchon’s Mason & Dixon (Third Riff: The Rabbi of Prague)

A. I’m a few chapters–three, precisely—from finishing Mason & Dixon. “Finishing” is not the right verb here, though—Pynchon’s novel is so rich, funny, strange, and energetic that I want to return to it immediately. B. But I need to backtrack a bit, riff on one of my favorite episodes—Chapter 50. C. (First riff and second riff… Continue reading Thomas Pynchon’s Mason & Dixon (Third Riff: The Rabbi of Prague)

Happy Birthday Mr. Pynchon

Happy Birthday to Thomas Pynchon, who turns lucky 77 today. “The Whole Sick Crew,” George Plimpton on Pynchon’s V. Captain Geoffrey “Pirate” Prentice’s bodacious banana breakfast for a bunch of hung over army officers (Gravity’s Rainbow)— Routine: plug in American blending machine won from some Yank last summer, some poker game, table stakes, B.O.Q. somewhere in… Continue reading Happy Birthday Mr. Pynchon