Inherent Vice

A lazy Sunday afternoon. Idly browsing in the English language department of a big bookstore. Suddenly electrified. A new Pynchon! Title: Inherent Vice! Oops, it isn't that new, published in 2009! Must have slipped under my radar. Anyway, it is bought in the blink of an eye, the first 40 pages read in the tube.

First impressions: The opening pages are rather untypical for Thomas Ruggles Pynchon who had his birthday yesterday. Congratulations, by the way!

It's a detective novel, set in Los Angeles in the 60's, the time of free love, psychedelic drugs and rock'n'roll. The protagonist Doc Sportello, a private eye, gets a visit from his former girlfriend Shasta who is worried that her new boyfriend, a rich real estate developer, may be the target of a kidnap plot by his wife and her lover.

That's how far I've come. It's relatively easy to read, very unlike "Gravity's Rainbow" or "Against the Day". But maybe this will change and the plot will become more complex? I've spotted a few very Pynchonesque names of characters: Sauncho Smilax, Amethyst, Petunia Leeway, Dr. Buddy Tubeside, Adrian Prussia, Jason Velveeta, Ensenada Slim to name but a few.

For those interested in the musical side of the novel: On Amazon, there's a Thomas Pynchon's Soundtrack list to "Inherent Vice" with links to more than 40 songs from the sixties like "Sugar, Sugar", "Help me Rhonda", "Can't Buy Me Love", or "Volare".

TP seems to open up a bit. First his appearance in "The Simpsons", now a promotional video (see below). Maybe he's starting to make himself familiar with a public appearance after all?

Thomas Pynchon narrates a 2.5 minute promotonial video for his latest novel "Inherent Vice".

I've googled a bit.

There's an interesting review in the New Yorker and a lot of information in the Thomas Pynchon Wiki.


Lydia said...

Francessa, here you are again building my interest in someone I have not yet read. This book sounds great. I loved the video he made to promote it. Remind me to read this one (as if that is your responsibility!).

francessa said...

That's fine! Let me be your memory service ;-).

I like the idea of the songlist and the list itself, too.

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