Wednesday, September 07, 2011


Pynchon. Take 2?

by Wayne Robins

I just found in my basement a copy of Thomas Pynchon's 2006 novel, "Against the Day." It is nearly 1,100 pages. I do not remember if I read it. Sometimes, with Pynchon, it is hard to tell. With Pynchon, I sometimes cruise for 50 or 100 pages, but then if my attention drifts for a page or two, I completely lose the thread. Totally. And I have to start over. It does not appear as if the spine of the hardcover has been cracked at all, meaning if I read any of it, I did not get very far. Of more than 100 characters, surely I would remember one named Fleetwood Vibe. Or perhaps not. I definitely remember the character Scarsdale Vibe, as well as a plot strand with Pinkertons and dynamite and labor strife in Colorado. I am afraid that I will read 900 pages and then say, "oh yeah, I remember, I didn't like the ending." Or maybe not. I don't remember Ellmore Disco, who "was Mexican, some said he'd come from even farther away, Finland or someplace like that." Or was that something I read in a Bob Dylan interview, or heard in a Captain Beefheart song? Here I go, flying off with the Chums of Chance aeronautics club, trudging the road of happy destiny.

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