Sunday, March 27, 2011

Inherent Vice

Inherent Vice is a Chandler sendup/homage/pastiche (as filtered through the Coens’s and Altman’s cinematic expressions of Chandler’s vision), a continuation of Pynchon’s lighter, comic and more accessible “California novels” ( Crying of Lot 49, Vineland), a tribute to that classic of drug outrage and black humor Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Pynchon’s most straightforward genre appropriation, and comic take on California of the 1960’s. The detective is a stoner goofball(with a moment or two of savagery) who gets dragged through a wild funhouse of a plot involving real estate development, neo-nazi bikers, horror movie imagery, a sinister organization out of a pulp dream (or Sax Rohmer), lots of eating, surfing and smoking pot, right wing loonies, some lost continents, lots of cartoon/Pynchonian names, moments of Gibson/Sterling cyberpunk(a bizarre early version of the internet), and lots of baleful warnings of corporate takeover of our lives. Like Chandler all the ominous meanderings don’t concluded as satisfyingly as they should but as Pynchon’s most fun and most readable novel this complaint is a trifle.

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