20 November 2007

I'm sorry Mr. Pynchon.

I finally finished V. It took forever -- I think I began the book sometime in the foggy memory of summer, when reading ambitions heighten with all the phantom free time that disappears like so many grains of sand through your sandchair...

It's not a bad book...it just didn't interest me. I suppose the Stencil bits interested me, because that's where Pynchon was at his conspiracy theory that could completely be all in your head best, but the Whole Sick Crew just bored me to death. Sure there were funny bits, but in the end it's like one of those stories your friend tells, and when you don't laugh he says, I guess you had to be there.

It will probably grow on me and I will come to terms with it in the trajectory of post-WWII literature and the dawn of the Postmodern, but at this point what it's done is moved my 2nd attempt at Gravity's Rainbow much further down my reading queue.

I'd packed Zadie Smith's White Teeth with me last weekend in the bizarre reasoning that I would easily finish V. on the train ride north, but I was nowhere close. I read about thirty to forty pages on the way up and passed out until Trenton, I believe. Then the weekend was a blur. So I found myself pushing through the last hundred pages of V. as I headed south, exhausted from the weekend but trying to stay awake so I could put that book back on the shelf when I returned to Adams Morgan.

And dear readers, I did just that.


Grad School Reject said...

Man are you preaching to the choir on this one. I have an enormous amount of respect for Pynchon and what he has done to try and push the medium of literature into some new and interesting places. But I have no affection for his books.

My biggest problem with V. is that he overwhelms the reader with characters, and at the same time never got me to care about a single one of them.

The one writer/book of this ilk that felt "right" to me (and had me considering a reread) was _Underworld_ by Delilo. He could have gone down the Pynchon-path of V., but he didn't and he got me really invested in both his characters and his commentary.

cuff said...

It's funny. I liked The Crying of Lot 49, so I thought I'd really enjoy V.; however, it didn't work out that way. On the other hand, I've really enjoyed the two Delillo books I've read, White Noise and Mao II. I own, but have not taken a stab at, Underworld. I'm not sure why all these writers feel that the last ten to fifteen years have been good times to resurrect the dauntingly long novel.

Momentary Academic said...

I've never read any of Pynchon's books. I hope that it doesn't make me a bad person. :(