Category Archives: thomas pynchon

What Is Pynchon’s Greatest Setting?

Wartime London? Post-war Germany? Fifties NYC?

Wired thinks it's LA, and they've got an interactive map (with San Narcisco!) to prove it.

It's a Wiki, so you're welcome to add your own locations as you re-read Vineland and Lot 49 and dive into Inherent Vice for the first time.

Inherent Vice Reviews

A roundup of some early Inherent Vice reviews (all UK for some reason).

The coverage this far hasn't been terribly great; I'm especially referring to Tim Martin's review in The Telegraph. We'll have our own review in TQC's fall issue, upcoming in September.

Will Inherent Vice Be Filmable?

With the possible exception of The Crying of Lot 49, Inherent Vice might just be Thomas Pynchon's first filmable novel. PW reports that the book is circulating through Hollywood:

Though a rep from CAA would not comment about it, we hear Bob Bookman at the agency is shopping the film rights to Thomas Pynchon's August-dropping new novel from Penguin, Inherent Vice. The notoriously reclusive Pynchon, whose biggest flirtation with Hollywood was his pixelated cameo in The Simpsons (complete with bag-over-head), has never had any of his complex postmodern prose turned into a film, so who knows what the fate of Vice will be in Tinseltown. The book, which bloggers started chattering about back in November after some outlets, like the L.A. Times, got hold of Penguin's digital jacket copy, is promised to be leaner and less weighty than some of Pynchon's previous efforts. (It's less than 400 pages, which is something for Pynchon, who's penned 1,000-plus-page tomes.) About a billionaire land developer in late '60s L.A., per Penguin, the novel might be the author's least serious. As Wired noted: "Inherent Vice sounds less like the fractal paranoia of Gravity’s Rainbow and more like the deranged sunshine noir of The Big Lebowski."

I'm a little disappointed in Rachel Deahl for getting the story of the Inherent Vice cover exactly backward. If she bothered to read to the end of the Jacket Copy post that she links to, she'd see that the LA Times actually rightfully credits this blog (including a link) for being the first on the scene. Deahl's phrasing also obscures the fact that the LA Times first reported on the Inherent Vice cover on a blog; indeed, bloggers were "chattering" about the new book long before old-media outlets began to catch on.

Pynchon-Inspired Album

Orchestral group Land of Kush has recorded a five-track CD entitled "Against the Day" and reportedly inspired by Thomas Pynchon’s novel of the same name.

Inspired by and named after the Thomas Pynchon’s novel Against the Day, the music is broken into five sections, named for the book’s chapters. The three primary movements are centred around solo vocalists (Jason Grimmer, Molly Sweeney, Radwan Moumneh) who composed their own lyrics for the piece. In between vocal performances, Shalabi gives the orchestra ample opportunity to strut its stuff, including solos and long instrumental passages that display Sam’s unique balance of composition and ‘expository’ or improvisational instruction.

Here are the track titles:

1. The Light Over The Ranges
2. Iceland Spar
3. Bilocations
4. Against The Day
5. Rue du Départ

A Screaming Comes Across the Sky

Best acceptance speech ever.

Obviously the only sane thing to do is give Pynchon the award in ’09 for Inherent Vice and see if he comes out to play.

Inherent Vice’s Cover

If you’re at all like me, when you saw the cover of Thomas Pynchon’s forthcoming novel you cringed, and then reminded yourself that dust jackets were made to be removed.

Well, it seems that Pynchon himself is to blame for this image. has the details:

The cover illustration is by Maui artist Darshan Zenith. The piece is called "Cadillac Hearse" or, perhaps, "Eternal Summer" — "A ‘Retired’ Caddy Hearse Greets Daybreak at a Beach Surf Shop" — and is one of many prints available on his Cruiser Art website. The 1959 Cadillac Hearse is parked in front of the "Endless Summer Surf Shop" (namechecking the Beach Boys Greatest Hits collection and Bruce Brown’s 1966 surfing documentary!). (Thanks to the Pynchon List for identifying the image.)

Apparently, Pynchon was searching the Web for the right image for the Inherent Vice cover, found the Cruiser Art website
and the "Caddy Hearse" piece, and wanted to use it. Penguin contacted
Cruiser Art and obtained the appropriate permissions. Darren Haggar is
Penguin’s art director for this project.

They also note that the font has been updated, from the bodice-ripper
cursive to a more modern blocky neon (above). A vast improvement, in my opinion.

The book now has an Amazon page (albeit, sans cover). The street date is August 4, but as yet there’s no snappy marketing copy by Pynchon.

New Pynchon Details–Inherent Vice

Penguin has posted its Summer ’09 catalog online (PDF format), and it includes some details as to Pynchon’s new novel.

The title will be Inherent Vice, and it deals with a private eye in ’60s Los Angeles. From the catalog:

It’s been awhile since Doc Sportello has seen his ex-girlfriend. Suddenly out of nowhere she shows up with a story about a plot to kidnap a billionaire land developer whom she just happens to be in love with. Easy for her to say. It’s the tail end of the psychedelic sixties in L.A., and Doc knows that “love” is another of those words going around at the moment, like “trip” or “groovy,” except that this one usually leads to trouble. Despite which he soon finds himself drawn into a bizarre tangle of motives and passions whose cast of characters includes surfers, hustlers, dopers and rockers, a murderous loan shark, a tenor sax player working undercover, an ex-con with a swastika tattoo and a fondness for Ethel Merman, and a mysterious entity known as the Golden Fang, which may only be a tax dodge set up by some dentists.

In this lively yarn, Thomas Pynchon, working in an unaccustomed genre, provides a classic illustration of the principle that if you can remember the sixties, you weren’t there . . . or . . . if you were there, then you . . . or, wait, is it . . .

Sounds like a little Vineland and a little Crying of Lot 49.

The Latin American Mixtape

5 essays. 2 interviews.

All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

Shop though these links = Support this site

Copyright © 2015. Powered by WordPress & Romangie Theme.