Against the Day Weblog

November 16, 2006

Whole or Sum of Its Parts

Filed under: Essays,General,Reviews — basileios @ 2:07 pm

This last negative review on Against the Day has made wonder a bit on the way the reviewer saw the ‘book experience’. For an outsider in the whole ‘Pynchon experience’ there is some justification in this review. Yes, its quite possible that Pynchon wrote a book similar to all the previous ones, a book that may not justify the time and effort to decipher the plot and characters inside the 1000 odd pages. For an outsider this might well be a book that did not have to be written.

But hey, some of us have spent decades in deciphering Pynchons works, because its a game we are happy to be part of and we enjoy every minute of it. I personnaly have read Gravitys Rainbow about 11-12 times, carried it with me in my honey moon in Tahiti and through out my military service. Neither Gravitys Rainbow nor any of the other of his books – that I have also read many times – can be separated from the general Pynchon experience. And as a bottom line its is not the fact that Pynchon likes to use common themes, common narrative, common hero(s) (Pig Bodine being the absolute case) its the fact that ‘the book’ in Pynchons case is the collection of all the books as a sum which is a lot bigger than all the separate parts.

For this reason Against the Day seems to be filling a gap in the Pynchon writings that we were anticipating him to fill, although the fact that I haven’t read Against the Day yet does put me in the realm of prophecy a bit. I must say though that my greatest concern is weather this fills all the gaps or weather we should be expecting something new soon after.

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