The End of Oulipo?

The End of Oulipo? My book (co-authored with Lauren Elkin), published by Zero Books. Available everywhere. Order it from Amazon, or find it in bookstores nationwide. The End of Oulipo

Lady Chatterley’s Brother

Lady Chatterley's Brother. The first ebook in the new TQC Long Essays series, Lady Chatterley's Brothercalled “an exciting new project” by Chad Post of Open Letter and Three Percent. Why can't Nicholson Baker write about sex? And why can Javier Marias? We investigate why porn is a dead end, and why seduction paves the way for the sex writing of the future. Read an excerpt.

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Translate This Book!

Ever wonder what English is missing? Called "a fascinating Life Perecread" by The New Yorker, Translate This Book! brings together over 40 of the top translators, publishers, and authors to tell us what books need to be published in English. Get it on Kindle.

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Fall Read: The Tunnel by William H. Gass

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Naked Singularity

Summer Read: A Naked Singularity by Sergio De La Pava

Fans of Gaddis, Pynchon, DeLillo: A group read of the book that went from Xlibris to the University of Chicago Press. Info here. Buy the book here and support this site.

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Life A User's Manual by Georges Perec

Starting March 2011, read the greatest novel from an experimental master. Info here. Buy the book here and support this site.

Last Samurai

Fall Read: The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt

A group read of one of the '00s most-lauded postmodern novels. Info here. Buy the book here and support this site.

Tale of Genji

The Summer of Genji

Two great online lit magazines team up to read a mammoth court drama, the world's first novel.

Your Face Tomorrow

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Ten Memorable Quotes from William Gaddis’ Letters

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Interviews from Conversational Reading

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See this page for interviews with leading authors, translators, publishers, and more.


  • Nostalgia June 15, 2014
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  • Accepting the Disaster by Joshua Mehigan June 15, 2014
    The first collections of most young poets, even the better ones, carry with them a hint of bravado. Flush with recognition, vindicated by the encouraging attentions of at least one editor and three blurbists, the poet strikes a triumphant pose and high-fives the Muse: “We did it, baby.” When Joshua Mehigan published his impressive first collection, The Optim […]
  • The Histories of Herodotus, translated by Tom Holland June 15, 2014
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  • Bullfight by Yasushi Inoue June 15, 2014
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  • Sworn Virgin by Elvira Dones June 15, 2014
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  • On the Letters of David Markson June 15, 2014
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  • Storm Still by Peter Handke June 15, 2014
    Storm Still (Immer Noch Sturm) does not necessarily represent new terrain for Handke. Originally published by Suhrkamp Verlag in 2010 and now available for English-language readers thanks to Martin Chalmers’ fluent translation, the play chronicles the dissolution of the Svinec family, a family of Carinthian Slovenes—a quasi-fictionalized version of Handke’s […]
  • Red or Dead by David Peace June 15, 2014
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Inherent Vice’s Cover

Vice
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. ThomasPynchon.com 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.

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  1. 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...
  2. Pynchon at 13 Pynchon enters The New York Times best-selling fiction list at #13. This link also includes an artist’s extrapolation forward from a high school yearbook photo...
  3. Master P Ron Silliman thinks the new documentary about Thomas Pynchon pretty much sucks. What we get instead is a tour of some elements of the Thomas...
  4. Weight of Numbers Journey This is interesting. The Times (London) takes you through the three year odyssey of Simon Ings’s The Weight of Numbers, from conception to publication. To...
  5. Big Money or Critical Taste Who wins? At Art Basel in Miami Beach last December, just as we were about to go out and perform on the imminent death of...

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6 comments to Inherent Vice’s Cover

  • Scott, I am not an expert in Thomas Pynchon but I am an expert in 60s classic rock, so I thought I’d mention that this image contains a hidden reference to Neil Young along with the apparent reference to the Beach Boys. Neil Young famously drove a hearse around Los Angeles in his early years, and later he wrote a song about it called “Long May You Run” which contains the lines:
    “Maybe the Beach Boys have got you now
    with their waves, singing ‘Caroline No’”
    (Coincidentally but unrelatedly, I just wrote about this song on LitKicks, though I had no idea about this cover).
    I don’t know if this fact will prove relevant to Pynchonians, but it is a fact, so I’m sending it along. Here’s a link (there must be many others as well) describing the legendary tale I’m talking about.

  • DCNahm

    1. “Ghostbusters”
    2. I like the cover.

  • Yeah, have to say I like it too. I would describe it as anti-chic, or jolie laide.

  • If this is Pynchon’s way of signaling that he would like to get in on the writing for the forthcoming “third Ghostbusters movie slash video game”, that would certainly signal the dawning of a golden age.

  • EC

    To me it looks like a tongue-in-cheek version of an Elmore Leonard cover. Because, like, I, er, saw one at an airport book kiosk . . .

  • Tim

    Levi – I doubt if the car in ‘Long May You Run’ was the hearse. He last saw that car alive near Blind River, Ontario after they missed that shift on the long decline. Been there lots – the highway hills are incredible.
    I’ve always wondered why the Beach Boys were mentioned in this song and had speculated that perhaps one of them had bought the hearse that was driven to California. ??

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