Friday, December 13, 2013
Pynchon presents a book somewhere between his lighter cartoony romps (Crying of Lot 49, Vineland, and Inherent Vice) and his more epic works. A strangely accessible work that parodies some recent crime fiction and cyberpunk, but is still recognizably Pynchon and shows off his obsessions with paranoia, secret worlds, and the fading of promise. He fixes on the dot com crash, the internet and 9-11 as the moments where an irreversible change occurred in our world and I find him profound as ever if a little goofy in the virtual reality parts. The cultural references were strange in this one I could have been convinced a Gen x writer wrote this or maybe William Gibson. The conspiracies surrounding 9/11 made me fear for a second that Pynchon was handing us a “truther” manifesto, but as usual resolution and clear political agenda are not Pynchon’s game, and every clue and hint is another sign in his labyrinth of elusive meaning and shadows. A book easier to digest than most of his work and one as filled with little shards of dissonance to ponder over.