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

List of Possible Descriptors for Thomas Pynchon’s Novel Against the Day

Study of light and non-light Byzantine mosaic Codex of visible and invisible Musical comedy Daffy Anarchist golf Photograph—the posing of, the taking of, the development of, the product of, the negative of, the future of, the past of, the continuous present of, the potential of… Revenge story Spy game Study of physical and metaphysical Likely… Continue reading List of Possible Descriptors for Thomas Pynchon’s Novel Against the Day

The Chums of Chance Reading List (Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day)

Titles of The Chums of Chance books mentioned in Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day: The Chums of Chance and the Evil Halfwit The Chums of Chance and the Curse of the Great Kahuna The Chums of Chance and the Ice Pirates The Chums of Chance Nearly Crash into the Kremlin The Chums of Chance and the Caged Women… Continue reading The Chums of Chance Reading List (Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day)

“So of course we use them” / Scarsdale Vibe’s Last Evil Monologue (Pynchon’s Against the Day)

Scarsdale Vibe was addressing the Las Animas-Huerfano Delegation of the Industrial Defense Alliance (L.A.H.D.I.D.A~) gathered in the casino of an exclusive hot-springs resort up near the Continental Divide. Enormous windows revealed and framed mountain scenery like picture postcards hand-tinted by a crew brought in from across the sea and all slightly colorblind. The clientele looked… Continue reading “So of course we use them” / Scarsdale Vibe’s Last Evil Monologue (Pynchon’s Against the Day)

Anarchists’ Golf (Maybe a Synecdoche of Thomas Pynchon’s Novel Against the Day)

THE NEXT DAY Reef, Cyprian, and Ratty were out on the Anarchists’ golf course, during a round of Anarchists’ Golf, a craze currently sweeping the civilized world, in which there was no fixed sequence—in fact, no fixed number—of holes, with distances flexible as well, some holes being only putter-distance apart, others uncounted hundreds of yards… Continue reading Anarchists’ Golf (Maybe a Synecdoche of Thomas Pynchon’s Novel Against the Day)

“…the Mask’s desire was to be invisible, unthreatening, transparent yet mercilessly deceptive…” / Another Pynchon Riff

IT WAS MIDAPRIL, Carnevale had been over for weeks, and Lent was coming to a close, skies too drawn and pallid to weep for the fate of the cyclic Christ, the city having slowly regained a maskless condition, with a strange dull shine on the paving of the Piazza, less a reflection of the sky… Continue reading “…the Mask’s desire was to be invisible, unthreatening, transparent yet mercilessly deceptive…” / Another Pynchon Riff

“—boys to your bellybone and chuck a chum a chance!” — Pynchon Riff + Joyce + Moebius + Chloral Hydrate Party

1. Here is a rambling riff if ever I rambled and riffed: 2, First, look, that lovely image—it’s by Jean Giraud, aka Moebius. I came across it a week or two ago and digitally nabbed it. I love Moebius’s work in general and something about the image reminds me of Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day, although maybe… Continue reading “—boys to your bellybone and chuck a chum a chance!” — Pynchon Riff + Joyce + Moebius + Chloral Hydrate Party

The Collective Dream of the Chums of Chance (A Short Pynchon Riff)

1. This is one of the most extraordinary passages I’ve read so far in Pynchon’s Against the Day (pages 422-24 of my Penguin hardback). It comes almost at the end of Iceland Spar, the second of the AtD’s five books, working as a surreal, dream-logic climax to the chapter. Our heroes the Chums of Chance experience an… Continue reading The Collective Dream of the Chums of Chance (A Short Pynchon Riff)

A review of Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down, Ishmael Reed’s syncretic Neo-HooDoo revenge Western

Ishmael Reed’s second novel Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down tells the story of the Loop Garoo Kid, a “desperado so onery he made the Pope cry and the most powerful of cattlemen shed his head to the Executioner’s swine.” The novel explodes in kaleidoscopic bursts as Reed dices up three centuries of American history to riff on race,… Continue reading A review of Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down, Ishmael Reed’s syncretic Neo-HooDoo revenge Western

Annotations on a list of books I read in full in 2020

Flight to Canada, Ishmael Reed A frenetic, zany achronological satire of the American Civil War. I wrote about it here. We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson Jackson gives us a quasi-idyllic-but-also-dystopian world delivered through narrator Merricat, an insane witch whom I adored. Merricat hates with beautiful intensity. The novel’s premise, prose, and… Continue reading Annotations on a list of books I read in full in 2020

Annotations on a probably incomplete list of books I read or reread in full in 2019

The Infernal Desire Machines of Dr. Hoffman, Angela Carter Deeply horny and deeply deprave. Hoffman sprints along with an out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire energy. It’s a picaresque adventure with narrator Desiderio taking on titular mad scientist Hoffman and his war against reality. Wild shit happens and each chapter feels like it could stand on its own as a… Continue reading Annotations on a probably incomplete list of books I read or reread in full in 2019

A review of Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down, Ishmael Reed’s syncretic Neo-HooDoo revenge Western

Ishmael Reed’s second novel Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down tells the story of the Loop Garoo Kid, a “desperado so onery he made the Pope cry and the most powerful of cattlemen shed his head to the Executioner’s swine.” The novel explodes in kaleidoscopic bursts as Reed dices up three centuries of American history to riff on race,… Continue reading A review of Yellow Back Radio Broke-Down, Ishmael Reed’s syncretic Neo-HooDoo revenge Western