Monday, November 27, 2006

Why I read Pynchon

I recently bought a copy of Thomas Pynchon's 1083 page "Against the Day". Since he only writes a novel every decade or so, it's something of an event.

Pynchon is one of those writers that you either get or you totally fail to get. I read "Gravity's Rainbow" and "V" and "The Crying of Lot 49" at University, so I guess I was at an impressionable age. It could have been "Catcher in The Rye" or "Ulysees" or "Catch 22". Well, for me it was all of these.

He specialises in writing dense multi-dimensional stories set in paranoid, irrational worlds. Very like real life in fact. The plots tends to be secondary to big ideas, long words, strange page-long lists. The journey is more important than the destination.

So far so good - I'm 5 pages in and enjoying the idea of a dog that reads Henry James and knows which side of an airship to pee from (don't ask).

Warning : I may become almost impossible to understand for the next few weeks. I'm already looking for an opportunity to use the word "absquatulated" in a sentence. Ooo I just did ...

My favourite piece of Pynchon is a description of his desk as being covered in "bureaucratic smegma". Well worth checking it in the dictionary if it doesn't immediately make you laugh.

1 comment:

Kenny said...

Absqua...what? It's no wonder you hammer me at crosswords!