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California, inizio anni Settanta. Doc Sportello, investigatore privato con una passione smodata per le droghe e il surf, viene contattato da una vecchia fiamma, Shasta, che gli rivela l'esistenza di un complotto per rapire il suo nuovo amante, un costruttore miliardario. L'investigatore non fa neanche in tempo ad avviare le sue indagini che si ritrova arrestato per l'omiciCalifornia, inizio anni Settanta. Doc Sportello, investigatore privato con una passione smodata per le droghe e il surf, viene contattato da una vecchia fiamma, Shasta, che gli rivela l'esistenza di un complotto per rapire il suo nuovo amante, un costruttore miliardario. L'investigatore non fa neanche in tempo ad avviare le sue indagini che si ritrova arrestato per l'omicidio di una delle guardie del corpo del costruttore, il quale è intanto sparito, come pure Shasta. Sembrano le premesse del più classico dei noir, ma ben presto le coincidenze piú strane si accumulano e il mistero si allarga a macchia di leopardo. Doc inciampa così in collezioni di cravatte con donnine discinte, in falsi biglietti da venti dollari con il ritratto di Richard Nixon, in un'associazione di dentisti assassini nota come Zanna d'Oro, che è però anche il nome di un sedicente cartello indocinese dedito al traffico di eroina....

Title : Vizio di forma
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9788806202828
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 472 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Vizio di forma Reviews

  • Jeffrey Keeten
    2019-02-07 16:53

    Disclaimer: at no time was the reviewer stoned, tweaked, inebriated or involved in any felony endeavors during the reading of this book.I have read other people referring to this as "Pynchon Lite" which reminds me of food off the vegetarian menu. I haven't read enough Pynchon to be an authority on whether this is medium well Pynchon or medium rare. The only other Thomas Pynchon I've ever read is Gravity's Rainbow, but I will say there is certainly plenty of meat on the bone in Inherent Vice. "Let me tell you about my trip, man."Our intrepid hero Doc Sportello is the owner and operator of LSD Investigations. Under the back drop of peace, love and revolution(right after I finish one more doobie)in 1969. Doc is asked by his ex-girlfriend Shasta Fay Hepworth, yes the novel is full of wonderfully concocted Pynchonesque names, to help her out of jam. Shasta has been approached by the wife of the man she is involved with, Mickey Wolfmann, and her boyfriend with a plan to kill Mickey. This is one of those cases, prevalent in American hard boiled literature where the detective basically lives on air because he is always taking on hard luck cases that have no chance to actually pay him for his time. Doc is really not a very good detective. He falls asleep on stakeouts, he forgets most of what he has figured out from the investigation, and he frequently says the wrong thing. He walks around in a permanent pot haze that contributes to the afore mentioned reasons why he isn't a very good detective. As the novel progresses the reader is exposed to a blur of characters. The plot becomes more convoluted to the point that Doc and the reader are left wondering who and what he is really investigating. Doc, for a pot smoking hippie, or maybe because of it, gets laid a lot. The summer of love was 1967, but still in 1969 the women are willing, especially with a guy walking around with a shirt pocket full of joints. During the course of his investigations Doc gets bludgeoned from behind (it is not a real noir novel until the detective gets popped from behind) and during another altercation is spiked with a really bad trip. Even though this book is considered more accessible I still would have a difficult time suggesting this to a mystery reading crowd. The plot is not linear at all, sentences appear out of the fog that squeeze your head and make you have to reread them. Sometimes I had to backtrack a whole page just to understand one sentence. I would find myself smiling and thinking there you are Mr. Pynchon. The rampant paranoia that is wrapped around every scene in the book did start to have a psychological effect on me. I'm pretty sure that all my coworkers are involved in a nefarious conspiracy to destroy my life. It is only paranoia if I'm wrong, right?To give you a little flavor of the book. Doc has just been brought in for questioning by the DAs office. They leave him alone for a moment and he notices something strange about the clock."The clock up on the wall, which reminded Doc of Elementary school back in the San Joaquin, read some hour that it could not possibly be. Doce waited for the hands to move, but they didn't, from which he deduced that the clock was broken and maybe had been for years. Which was groovy however because long ago Sortilege had taught him the esoteric skill of telling time from a broken clock. The first thing you had to do was light a joint, which in the Hall of Justice might seem odd, but surely not way back here--who knew, maybe even outside the jurisdiction of local drug enforcement--though just to be on the safe side he also lit a De Nobili cigar and filled the room with a precautionary cloud of smoke from the classic mafia favorite. After inhaling potsmoke for a while, he glanced up at the clock, and sure enough, it showed a different time now, though this could also be from Doc having forgotten where the hands were to begin with." It did take me a while to settle into the book, but once I divested myself of the preconceived notions of what I expected from the book I was able to relax and enjoy the high I mean ride.If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.comI also have a Facebook blogger page at:

  • s.p
    2019-01-19 17:33

    Inherent Vice: Hidden defect (or the very nature) of a good or property which of itself is the cause of (or contributes to) its deterioration, damage, or wastage.¹The trouble with Time is that it always proceeds forward. Reshaping and rusting all that lies in it’s path despite those that cling to the summery present of their endless numbered days, Time changes everything and leaves us with a maze of memory. Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice[2009] flourishes in it’s immersion of the death of the 60’s decade, rife with counterculture beach-goers living eternally in the momentary highs of life while a shadow of future and change creeps silently over them. Built on the bricks of noir, feeling like a furthering of the style that galvanized the mysteries in The Crying of Lot 49, Pynchon delivers a fun labyrinth of secrets and conspiracy peopled with a wide cast of characters for the reader to navigate, hoping for a redemptive exit that might shine some light on the mystery therein. Through this labyrinth we follow Larry "Doc" Sportello, who is the perfect embodiment of the noir PI hero: a good man not without his share of flaws that must walk down the mean streets of a crime world far larger than he could imagine, beset on all sides by evil and corruption. Along the path, Doc feels the world of his 60’s-spirited kinfolk shrinking in the clutches of an ever-expanding landscape of corruption as time marches forward into an unknown future. He must ‘find his way out of a vortex of corroded history, to evade somehow a future that seemed dark whichever way he turned…’ Though smaller in scope than his greatest works, Pynchon imagines an L.A. detective novel with all the twists, turns and paranoia one has come to expect and love from him, looking back on a decade now gone as it is ushered into a menacing future dangling from the puppet strings of an elaborate chain of power and control. I have seldom had as much enjoyment from a novel as I did with Inherent Vice. Pynchon once again executes a masterful balancing of the ‘brows’, the highs and lows, while avoiding in the scornful realm of the Middlebrow as Virginia Woolf so warned against². There is mystery and intrigue adorned with puns and humor that propel the book and keep the reader seated comfortably flipping pages with eager glee, and while it is noticeably more accessible and less sprawling than Pynchon’s more notable masterpieces, Vice still retains a vast, web-like undercurrent of highly researched and ponderous ideas and themes. As in Gravity's Rainbow, Pynchon uses real-life events, such as the NBA playoffs between the Lakers and the Knicks to pin his stories to a life-like calendar. Not only does it ground it in reality as an anchor for the goofiness, but also adds a depth of meaning to the actions of characters such as Doc’s return of a package on May 7th, 1970 being the day of Ascension (redemption not only for Doc but mostly for the dead-and-risen character of Coy Harlington³). As with all of Pynchon’s novels, there could be a collection of footnotes to explain cultural references and allusions that would dwarf the actual novel in pages of print. To label the novel ‘Pynchon-lite’ would be to bastardize the content and thought that sings out from every page; while this may be small in scope and stature, and more easily traveled compared to his other novels, Pynchon still does what he does best and never fails to live up to his intellectual reputation. All the Pynchon hallmarks are alive and well in Vice, from the song lyrics positioned throughout—mostly heard on the radio alongside actual songs from the era, puns and wordplay without need to call attention to the cleverness (my personal favorite being when a character asks Doc if he is seeing a therapist and he replies that she—being his girlfriend, is actually a DA and the conversation continues without missing a beat), and the silly names that offer character insight (such as the pimp, Jason Velveeta, with a last name to illuminate how ‘cheesy’ and fake he is). While it is often emphasized how fluidly and comfortably Pynchon moves in the noir style, it seems more necessary to note that he shows dexterity in a variety of styles and fully embraces a genre that held important elements to many of his novels and the mysteries and conspiracies that danced within them. Due to the twisting plots and drug-culture humor, the book is often compared to the Coen’s film The Big Lebowski, which is a safe comparison but also feels akin to referring to anything of surreal nature as being ‘like David Lynch’. That said, Lingonberry pancakes do get special mention, as well as ‘Little Larry’, so the comparison, or at least inspiration, may not be off the mark.‘[A]s long as American life was something to be escaped from, the cartel could always be sure of a bottomless pool of new customers.’Once the pin of the mystery is pulled, the novel explodes into an intentionally difficult-to-keep-straight blast of plot-lines, all stemming from the same original shell. Like the photos of the early kidnapping that Doc examines, the closer you look, the more the image blurs. What is Goldfang, and who is pulling the strings that seem to include the mob, the LAPD, and even the FBI? Pynchon, as per usual, examines the ‘mob behind the mob’, the force that can only be seen in shadowy fragments but seems to have a finger in all the pies and leaves you questioning if anything is coincidence or merely an over-elaborate orchestration to simulate coincidence. Every time it appears he has reached the top of the mysteries food-chain, it is discovered there is still a larger mouth higher up. Goldfang, in it’s many forms, becomes more an elusive symbol of corrupted power, a shadow that we can chase but never grasp. It is the beast that preys upon the weak, and uses our weaknesses and good-naturedness against us in order to control us. It is the player of the chessboard of life that we are only vaguely aware in fleeting, paranoid glimpses that we are an unwitting part. While the plot may seem overly coincidental and contrived, this is the exact point and functions as a flawless metaphor of capitalist conspiracy, and helps instill paranoia and confusion into the reader much as it does for Doc. Can he trust his hippie-bashing LAPD contact, or is he just pointing Doc in the right direction to take the bullets for him? Can he trust his girlfriends, or will they shop him to the FBI for their own personal gain/safety? Can he trust a local favorite band, or are they right-winged zombied activists? Can Doc even trust himself, or is his Doper’s Memory blurring his mind?It is this control of power that is blotting out the hippie movement with every day that passes in Doc’s 1970’s time. With the Manson case taking center stage in the media, breeding fear of hippies for possible cult connections, the age of love and freedom and counterculture goodness is aging into a new and foggy future. ...about how the Psychedelic Sixties, this little parenthesis of light, might close after all, and all be lost, taken back into darkness… how a certain hand might reach terribly out of the darkness and reclaim the time, easy as taking a joint from a doper and stubbing it out for good. What was once a fun-loving and innocent lifestyle began to be connotated with dread and danger, and, as seen with Goldfang, those with power had found ways to simply use the counterculture as a method for exploitation. An entertaining passage is found in the Goldfang handbook by Doc:Interpersonal Situations. Section Eight - Hippies [with Pynchon it is likely not a coincidence that hippies are under section eight, a military code for discharging a member who is deemed mentally unfit for service]Dealing with the Hippie is generally straightforward. His childlike nature will usually respond positively to drugs, sex and/or rock and roll, although in which order these are to be deployed must depend on conditions specific to the moment.The setting of Los Angeles, California couldn’t be a more perfect location for the novel and all it’s intentions. L.A. is a common stomping grounds for detective noir novels, from Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, or even the Coen’s The Big Lebowski, and just the mention already draws the reader into the tangled streets of murder and mystery. However, this also ties in with the compound metaphor of Lemuria— a theoretical (yet now debunked) Atlantis of the Pacific Ocean, the refugees of the sunken continent supposedly finding a new home on Mount Shasta in California; Shasta being the name of Doc’s ex-old lady who sets the plot in motion and functions as both a lost landscape of his life and a possible place of refuge for him as a honorable man in his attempts to unlock her mystery (though ultimately being realized, as Jay Gatsby must learn, a past we can never return to). Lemuria is also a wonderful metaphor of the sinking counterculture at the turn of the decade, a decade marked by the Cambodia protest and President Nixon. The refugees of this sinking culture must swim to the shores of an unknown and ominous future‘...the prints of her bare feet already collapsing into rain and shadow, as if in a fool’s attempt to find his way back into a past that despite them both had gone on into a future it did.’Inherent Vice is always looking forward, showing the death of the 60’s and the birth of the 70’s. Here is ushered in a new age of technology, such as the ARPAnet—a prototype internet that is able to scan and monitor the livelihoods of people. Most prominent is the examination of a booming television culture during this time. Television became an entertainment that kept people safely in their homes, passively watching the hours slip away glued to their television sets; the ‘Toobfreex’ hotel with the television remote controls ‘bolted to the ends of the beds’ makes for a small but sinister metaphor. Television has become another method for the powers-that-be to turn a profit by offering pleasure, much in the way Goldfang has found a method of supplying drugs to the masses and also offering a variety of programs and institutions to help them kick the habit. They control the fall and the redemption. Television and drugs are best tied together when Doc discovers Dennis staring at a bag of heroin as if it were a television set—he did find it hidden inside a tv box, and then Doc, Denis and Jade find themselves nearly unable to turn away from staring at the package as if it were high entertainment. What is worse is that the future seems to be replacing authenticity with a stylized, and easily controlled, pseudo-reality, such as the casino plan to use computer screens instead of actual slot-machines to control the winnings and thwart those with the magic-touch or the U.S. Mint reducing the amount of actual silver in their coins. Everything must be turned into a profit-making machine, controlled and operated by the right people who can also be controlled. When someone steps out of line, like Mickey Wolfmann and his guilty conscience, they must be readjusted or disappear.Inherent Vice is a fun, wild ride with Doc through the beaches, bars and back-alleys of early 1970 L.A., but the sort of fun and entertainment that doesn’t skimp on the intellectual as well. Through a tangle of plots, that may or may not be related, or may or may not even necessarily resolve but more ‘dissolve’ and fade away once they are understood enough, the reader is sure to get their kicks following Doc on his misadventures deeper into the heart of mystery. Humor, romance, music and plenty of weed, this book is a rocking party that registers on all levels of entertainment and pleasure. The final pages are among the best Pynchon has written. With Inherent Vice, we find Pynchon lovingly looking backwards towards an era long gone and watch as that era looks forward into the future with discomfort and growing nostalgia for the days slipping away. The future is a fog that, to navigate, we must all work together to help one another out lest we all lose our way. Where the gaze of Pynchon looking back and the past looking forward meet, there is nothing but pure genius to be found.4/5‘Was it possible, that at every gathering—concert, peace rally, love-in, be-in, and freak-in, here, up north, back East, wherever—those dark crews had been busy all along, reclaiming the music, the resistance to power, the sexual desire from epic to everyday, all they could sweep up, for the ancient forces of greed and fear?’¹ from This is an apt title for the book, adding commentary on many of the themes, such as the decline of the 60's, the original sin idea, and in keeping with Pynchon's overarching themes of entropy.² Woolf’s letter, titled Middlebrow in The Death of the Moth and Other Essays discusses the difference between high, low and, the scornful middlebrows of the world. She accepts both highs and lows but detests the way the middlebrow is bastardizing all forms of art and life, ending her letter with the wonderful: ‘if any human being, man, woman, dog, cat, or half-crushed worm dares call me ‘middlebrow’, I will take my pen and stab him, dead.’ Luckily for Pynchon, he can fluctuate between highbrow intellectualism and lowbrow humor without jeopardizing the seriousness and literary-ness of his work.³ There are some wonderful Jesus imagery used around the supposed rebirth of Coy, particularly a Last Supper-like pizza party.----A brief note on the film: (view spoiler)[I just saw this one last night and it is quite well done. I urge any fan of Paul Thomas Anderson or Pynchon (or both) to check this out as I felt it did a solid job transposing Pynchon's mind onto a visible screen. While some bits were cut and explanations rather simplified, the feeling of a labyrinth of conspiracy still rings true. This film makes up for all the times I've sat in a theater feeling slowly let down and protesting to myself 'that is not how this was at all' or 'they cut my favorite bits!'. The dialogue is spot on, the cast is wonderfully chosen and the soundtrack adds to an atmosphere so unnerving that you wonder if its just Dopers paranoia or expert film-making that has got your heart beating. I am quite impressed and satisfied. (hide spoiler)]-----

  • Geoff
    2019-01-20 20:54

    ~Pizzaset over the Pacific~If, in Pynchonese, traveling East is to go “against the day”, into the past, memory, regret, impossibility, and if traveling West is to go “with the day”, into the future, the unknown, maturation, the coming of the next generation, toward acceptance of age and death, then where, in the geography of the imagination, is Doc Sportello’s Los Angeles? As far West as the continent can run until it comes up against the great vastness of the Pacific, and one has to stop, struck dumb and humbled by the leagues and depths of total inhumanity and noisy mystery out there, or one must learn to glide on the surface of the depths, like a surfer, or vault toward the sun and over it all in flight like an airplane or a bird, or one swims deep, and faces death by water, or one simply takes up residence on the beach and digs the radiant spray and the mysteries and ghosts of the Eternal Present.I loved every page of this book, Pynchon riffing on The Big Lebowski by way of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, Lebowski already by way of them anyway, and the Coens’ entire oeuvre owing something to Pynchon, so then we can contemplate the influenced influencing the original influence, and that network of relations becomes pleasantly complex. So why not ignore all of that entirely and let’s say what we have here is a genre piece, and so there are requirements, noir requirements, and that Pynchon handles all of these deftly. I see Inherent Vice as of a piece with Mason & Dixon and Against The Day, not in ambition or scale, but in a kind of compression of motifs worked out at large in those two Big Novels- the tyranny of Time, Light and Absence, invisible worlds or dimensions beyond the horizon of our perception interacting with our reality, sometimes manifest in dreams, determination and free will, the layers and mechanisms and hidden motives of Power, the machinations of authority, manipulation, paranoia, illusion, where the essence of the human being resides in all of this, the importance of others to help see us through. American weirdness. The Sixties obeyed their own weird death drive, and Inherent Vice is about the death of that dream, or when that dream turned into a nightmare, blood spraying in psychedelic fountains all over the walls, and those became words too, like Pig, because Charles Manson is a presiding ghost here, and Vietnam too, amid congeries of ghosts. The dead walk and everyone has their double and triple motives, and there is Surf Rock in fucking spades, but this is Pynchon, so it's all hilarious and bizarre and deeply, intelligently crafted in liquid electric prose.There’s strata of preposterous nomenclature. Lots and lots of weed is smoked. Tacos are eaten. There are dangerously attractive women in short skirts and a litany of cars almost as sexy and dangerous. Nefarious plots that unfold like a magnolia and never close. Gilligan’s Island & Godzilla. The whole thing feels like trying to plot the coordinates of someone’s dream, to quote someone else. It’s pure fun, and at its heart is the fall of America from its promised Eden, so it’s sadly beautiful and moving at times, but briefly, because this shape shifting surreality is a Doper’s Memory and possible hallucination, a tragicomedy, the short-term falling off into fogs of the past, and the future, or What's Ahead, sunblind, or materializing in presences and essences obscured by mist. It’s set to music and language that fixes itself to certain days past, but the Doc is timeless. A bad man trying to do good in the fallen world.

  • Kemper
    2019-02-04 19:37

    Reading this book gave me a serious urge to watch The Big Lebowski again.Larry ‘Doc’ Sportello is a private investigator in LA in 1969, and he’s also a damn dirty hippie who smokes dope constantly. Doc gets a visit from his old girlfriend Shasta who has been seeing married and wealthy Mickey Wolfman. Wolfman’s wife and her boyfriend want Shasta to help them with a scam to get Mickey committed to an asylum, but Shasta feels guilty and wants Doc to help Mickey out.Doc no sooner gets started than he gets blamed for a murder by his arch enemy LAPD Detective Bigfoot Bjornsen who has nothing but contempt for hippies. Mickey and Shasta have vanished, and while Doc tries to wrap his foggy brains around these developments, he’s also approached by another woman who claims that her boyfriend, a saxophone player in a surf band that supposedly died of an overdose, is still alive. The Crying of Lot 49 is the only other Pynchon I’ve read, and this one has the same kind of hazy vast conspiracy lurking in the background . And like that one, I was left kind of liking the book in a general sort of way while thinking that Pynchon is just fucking with me on some level. There’s a lot going on in here in terms of information and secrets with a friend of Doc’s feeding him info he’s getting from the first primitive form of the Internet. The spacey and affable Doc makes for a unique main character to guide us through a noirish but laid back landscape, but it was Bigfoot Bjornsen with his constant stream of anti-hippie comments that I found the most enjoyable. ‘Cause much like Bigfoot and Eric Cartman, I am also a hippie hater. I get why Pynchon is worshipped as such a post-modern master, but there’s just something about his style that isn’t engaging me at the gut level.

  • Samadrita
    2019-01-23 22:29

    So this is where the Pynchon magic lies ensconced - this flippant finger-pointing at various American idiosyncrasies with the self-assured omniscience of a master and a neat splicing together of snide references to pop culture mania and casually inserted observations on human foibles.A rather perfunctory reading of The Crying of Lot 49, a deceptively short novella with mind-bending intricacies, some time last year had elicited no reaction from me which was a rather alarming prospect. I had wondered whether Pynchon and I weren't meant to be. But I am glad that it's not the case. Reading Pynchon in a desperate hurry to touch some invisible metaphorical finish line will possibly result in all the snarky references slipping right through your grasp like sand in an hourglass. I can tell from experience. But read this without haste, taking time enough to glean all the fine humor laced with nearly every alternative conversation, this will become a pleasure read, a book capable of making most readers, what in traditional interwebz parlance called, 'laugh out loud'. Consulting Pynchonwiki every now and then will also help. Welcome to the drug-addled Los Angeles of Larry 'Doc' Sportello where the psychedelic 60s have ensured that sobriety is an aberration in the general populace and this in turn has ushered in an era dominated by corrupt DEA cops, stoned surfers, Charles Manson murders and long-haired hippies who wouldn't be able to tell the difference between day and night. Doc, a private hired 'eye' as per his own descriptions, plays detective to his ex-flame Shasta Fey's disappearing act and the 'murder' of her boyfriend Mickey Wolfmann and in turn walks the reader through one of the most bizarre, at times incomprehensible but enjoyable dope-induced daydreams ever - a labyrinth of typical Pynchonesque conspiracy theories, institutionalized racism, yakuza mob bosses, black dudes with fake Afros, attorneys named after thorny vines and a steadily growing list of references to obscure tv shows no one can keep track of. And whenever Doc is not on one of his pseudo-heroic and ultimately directionless quests or hallucinating time-travelling, out-of-body experiences, he is busy snorting/injecting/smoking cocaine, acid, cannabis, amphetamine, acapulco red/gold and a ton of other unidentified substances of varying fatality standards.To put this in more easily understandable terms, this felt like a cross between The Big Lebowski and The Big Sleep - a sort of middle ground between the crude, smartass-y tone of the former and the casually sophisticated banter of the latter.Do I love Pynchon now? - Not yet, since even the humor could not make up for the portions which dragged considerably. I can only attest to having successfully survived an initiation of sorts into Pynchonian themes.Hence, a rather conflicted 3.5 stars which could not be stretched to a 4. I guess I'll reserve a higher rating for one of his heavier and meatier tomes.

  • Arthur Graham
    2019-02-10 23:44

    No offense, but you have the look of a private gumshoe, or do I mean gumsandal.— Overheard directed at Larry "Doc" Sportello, PI, at a seedy Vegas casinoOn one level, Inherent Vice is a classic noir, featuring the standard litany of players and patsies in a kidnapping case gone awry. On another level, it's anything but your typical hardboiler, featuring a bumbling pothead detective in its leading role, supported by an equally unlikely cast of friends and foes in a caper with more subplots and sidetracks than actual story. On still another level, it probably really is "Entertainment of a High Order", as TIME so prosaically proclaims, as if this were Pynchon's highest aim with this book — to "entertain" us. I don't know. Maybe like most writers, he's just a guy who likes the sound of his own voice, and somehow he's conned the rest of us into paying good money for the privilege of listening to him ramble.Lamenting the failed (?) experiment of the 1960s, much of the plot seems firmly couched in the ominous social and political implications circa the close of the decade. Crooked land developers, the LAPD, and organized crime outfits vie for control of the psychic/geographic landscape, surf music has begun to suffer from the same corporate zombification as other rock genres, and the advent of ARPAnet heralds the rise of depersonalized consumer culture,, and the omnipresent surveillance state. Inherent vice, indeed...I'm given to understand that this isn't Pynchon's finest work, but having only The Crying of Lot 49 to compare it to, it's tough for me to say. Personally, I'm of the opinion that if a writer can keep it up for half a century without their craft going all to shit, then there's really not much else we can ask of them as readers, even if their twilight offerings just aren't the same. I'm reminded of Robbins' Villa Incognito, or Bukowski's Pulp, both great books in their own ways, and both of them written quite late in their respective author's careers. Neither novel has been optioned for film rights yet, at least as far as I know, but maybe the upcoming film adaptation of Inherent Vice will help to elevate the book in comparison — could be even worse than Van Sant's Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, after all.But now I'm rambling almost as much as Pynchon does, or at least as much as I'm prone to do in my own books. Arthur out.

  • Jessica
    2019-01-26 19:47

    The only good thing this book did for me was help me remember how profoundly grateful I am to have completely missed the sixties. I think I would've killed myself if I'd had to have witnessed all this psychedelic drug use and violence on aesthetics fisthand. Killed myself or become a cop or something.In addition to reminding me how much I hate the sixties, Inherent Vice caused me to suspect that I don't like Pynchon much either. I've always sort of felt like he's the literary equivalent of Black Sabbath, in that he tends to do more for dudes: sure, there are obviously girls out there who love both, but I think of Pynchon as dick lit, and while I can appreciate Sabbath I don't ever freak out about them the way a certain type of boy does.I didn't think this was well-written. Okay, I'll be honest: I felt like this was written by a precocious sophomore in college who might, with some effort, write a fun novel or sitcom pilot in a few years time, if he gets his shit together and practices a lot. Like, I didn't care for the language or the rhythm, and the jokes just weren't funny; to me it felt like watching a Cheech and Chong movie that's been over-edited for television. What's weird (this is an aside) is that I love stoner movies. I don't like getting stoned, and I don't watch many movies, but I love a surprising number of movies about getting stoned.... I don't know what or why that is, but anyway, what I learned from this book is that I don't like stoner novels, at least not ones by Mr. Thomas Pynchon, purported literary genius and appealingly mysterious hermit. Maybe I was so appalled because I love the detective genre this is a spoof of, or homage to, or whatever this was – I didn’t get very far. It was like seeing a sleek, gorgeous blonde in a 1940s suit run over by a repulsive dirty man with horrendously long hair driving a neon striped VW Bug…. Ugh. God. What were people thinking?You might be wondering – snippily, if you read and liked this book – why I tried to read it when it's clearly labeled as being a psychedelic romp or what have you, seeing as I hate the sixties so much. Well if you're wondering that, you clearly HAVEN'T SEEN THE COVER, which is the most spectacularly gorgeous and fabulous book jacket that I've seen in years, possibly in my life. I just couldn't resist it! When I saw it at the library, I ran over and actually started rubbing against it. Yeah, it was creepy. I’m sorry I did that. Lately I've been in a slump, and that's part of the reason: the books I've been picking at have got such lousy covers. Like one of the reasons I never want to pick up Middlmarch, even now that I've started to like it, is that my edition has the most vomitous cover I've ever seen in my life. It really makes me want to throw up in my mouth whenever I see it. It’s, like this paleish green with ugly leaves, the whole thing is so sick. It looks like the packaging for an off-brand scented candle that you’d see in the remaindered housewares section at Wholesale City Liquidators. I know it shouldn't matter -- we've all heard it before -- but it does matter to me. It does. A good cover feels good, it’s exciting, it is part of the allure. It's great to have that little thrill when you pull the book from your bag! Covers, like looks, are important to some of us, whether or not we would like them to be. They are.But sorry, Mr. Pynchon. They are not everything. Not that you care what I think, you've got armies of drooling fans who would probably love to see that I meet a Sharon Tate sort of end, based on my inane inability to recognize literary mastery. To which I say: get a haircut, young man, and lay off the dope!

  • Will Byrnes
    2019-02-07 22:53

    Don’t think great American novel. This is not Gravity’s Rainbow, but a bit of fun, of the noir variety. Doc Sportello is a hippy dippy PI in late 60’s LA. That his agency is named LSD Investigations pretty much tells you the tone here. Doc’s fondness for weed is matched by his ability to find things out. When an old flame show up at his door looking for help with a problem concerning her billionaire boyfriend and his wife’s attempt to have him declared incompetent the game is on. Throw in some biker-based security, a massive cop who likes to harass our PI, a series of interconnected clients, a few acid trips, a few dead bodies for color and texture. The book is alive with cultural references, and outrageous character names. Mickey Wolfmann, Doc Sportello, Bigfoot Bjornsen, Buddy Tubeside, Petunia Leeway, you get the idea. What was Pynchon smoking when he wrote this? Righteous stuff I expect. Great fun from an unexpected source. Enjoy the buzz.

  • Algernon
    2019-01-20 15:47

    Who's afraid of those big fat postmodernist novels?Apparently me, because I have known about Thomas Pynchon for years, yet I kept putting him off, too shy about making my poor synapses work harder. Once I have taken the plunge (thanks to the recently released movie), it turns out I didn't need any extra fish oil in order to make sense of the story. More surprisingly yet,Inherent Viceis first of all a FUN ride through the psychedelic landscape of California, cca 1969. I don't remember the last time I laughed so hard at a hardboiled crime novel that covers kidnappings, drug smuggling, corruption, police brutality, gambling, prostitution, mass surveillance, gang and racial related violence, all of it garnished with a big helping of trivia related to surfing, flower power music, noir movies, alien landings and smoking of prohibited substances.The guide through this mandala shaped and polichromatic landscape is one down-on-his-luck gumshoe, known to his neighbors in Gordita Beach as 'Doc' Sportello. His horoscope is promising a bumpy ride ahead, even if Doc is way past his high-school age. According to Sortilege, these were perilous times, astronomically speaking for dopers - especially those of high-school age, who'd been born, most of them, under a ninety-degree aspect, the unluckiest angle possible, between Neptune, the dopers' planet, and Uranus, the planet of rude surprises. I don't want to spoil the plot too much, especially since the intricacies of the interwoven storylines are responsible for a good part of my enjoyment in the story, but what starts up as a straight-up classic PI case ( a hot dame is in trouble and appeals to Doc for help) will very soon develop in a long series of rude surprises: Congratulations, Hippie Scum! Bigfoot greeted Doc in his all-too-familiar 30-weight voice, and welcome to a world of inconvenience. Yes, this time it appears you have finally managed to stumble into something too real and deep to hallucinate your worthless hippie ass out of. Detective Lieutenant Bigfoot Bjornsen - LAPD, is not a fan of the slacker community that infests Gordita Beach with their ganja smoke and weird music, and he is only too happy to put pressure on Doc Sportello when the bodies start to pile up. With characters named Petunia Leeway, Fritz Drybeam, Zigzag Twong, Boris Spivey, Sortilege , Japonica, Sauncho Smilax or the band 'Spotted Dick' with their lead singer Assimetric Bob it was soon clear to me that I am no longer in Kansas or in any other 'straight' sort of neighborhood. This is Dr. Reality's office calling, you're way overdue for your checkup! ... and Doc Sportello is not your regular sort of private dick. He may have the sarcastic repartee polished down to perfection, and the world weary atitude of the hardboiled heroes of yester-year, but he is first and foremost a product of the Love Generation, an unrepentant doper who still rejects the values and the atitudes of the above mentioned 'straights'. And how was shooting up any different from the old folks and their dinner-hour cocktails anyway? and, What I lack in al-titude, Doc explained for the million or so-th time in his career, I make up for in at-titude. This atitude, more often than not, is than when the going gets tough, the tough lights another doobie. Which, I must admit, is one of the main reasons why I found the story so hilarious. Doc spends the whole novel in a 'fog of dope' state, alternating between utter confusion at the developing case and bouts of paranoia that may or may not be a by-product of the pot he smokes.We've always had this image of Donald Duck, we assume it's how he looks all the time in his normal life, but in fact he's always had to go in every day and shave his beak. The way I see figure, it has to be Daisy. You know, which means, what other grooming demands is that chick laying on him, right?rants Sauncho Smilax, his drinking and smoking buddy and impromptu defense lawyer.As a former hardcore gamer who spent months playing Warcraft, Age of Empires, Heroes of Might and Magic or Diablo, this 'fog of dope' bears a strong resemblance to the 'fog of war' used in RPG's and strategy games. Pynchon only dispells the haze in a tight circle around Doc, gradually revealing an expanding playfield, adding new characters and new locations for the hero to explore. It may feel like a random generated setting at first (borrowing heavily from Chandler, Hammett et Co.), but in the end I was amazed at how well all the separate subplots fitted together and how accurately this subjective, drug tinted landscape reflected the passing of an Age: from the psychedelic Sixties to the grungy, gritty Seventies. Out there, all around them to the last fringes of occupancy, were Toobfreex at play in the video universe, the tropic isle, the Long Branch Saloon, the Starship Enterprise, Hawaiian crime fantasies, cute kids in make-believe living rooms with invisible audiences to laugh at everything they did, baseball highlights, Vietnam footage, helicopter gunships and firefights, and midnight jokes, and talking celebrities, and a slave girl in a bottle, and Arnold the pig, and here was Doc, on the natch, caught in a low-level bummer he couldn't find a way out of, about how the Psychedelic Sixties, this little parenthesis of light, might close after all, and all be lost, taken back into darkness ... how a certain hand might reach terribly out of darkness and reclaim the time, easy as taking a joint from a doper and stubbing it out for good. I am not familiar with the particular style of Pynchon, this being the first novel of his that I try, but it seems to me that he is a true master of using the pop culture references not as a prop for comedic effect but as true mirrors of the psyche of a lost generation. The subject may be the early Seventies, with the key moment of transition identified as the day the love kids turned into monsters (Charles Manson), but the above quoted rant about consummerism and alienation applies just as well to Millenials today. Chandler saw the lone private detective as a sort of rundown Arthurian knight, walking down the mean streets of crime town, dispensing a rough kind of justice, guided only by his own inner moral compass. In mourning the passing of the hippies, Pynchon is also mourning the disappearance of this justiciary and of all that he used to stand for: Once there was all these great old PIs - Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade, the shamus of shamuses Johnny Staccato, always smarter and more profesional than the cops, always end up solvin the crime while the cops are followin wrong leads and gettin in the way. [...] Yeah, but nowadays it's all you see anymore is cops, the tube is saturated with fuckin cop shows, just being regular guys, only tryin to do their job, folks, no more threat to nobody's freedom than some dad in a sitcom. Right. Get the viewer population so cop-happy they're beggin to be run in. Good-bye Johnny Staccato, welcome and while you're at it please kick my door down, Steve McGarrett. Meantime out here in the real world most of us private flatfoots can't even make the rent. That's quite a sneaky move on the part of the author, one that justifies the cult status he enjoys and will make me try the rest of his novels: behind all the hijinks and the slapstick comedy (like the drug crazy Japonica driving through red lights at high speed, because they are the evil eyes of some devil entity), there is this hard core of social commentary that should make the reader re-organize his thoughts and his priorities in life: As long as American life was something to be escaped from, the cartel could always be sure of a bottomless pool of new customers. In a one-two punch conversation between Doc and Bigfoot, that horrible Manson event is offered as the key to the plot, the clash of generations and the death of a dream:Bigfoot:Odd, yes, herein the capital of eternal youth, endless summer and all, that fear should be running the town again as in days of old, like the Hollywood blacklist you don't remember and the Watts rioting you do - it spreads, like blood in a swimming pool, till it occupies all the volume of the day. And then maybe some playful soul shows up with a bucketful of piranhas, dumps them in the pool, and right away they can taste the blood. They swim around looking for what's bleeding, but they don't find anything, all of them getting more and more crazy, till the craziness reaches a point. Which is when they begin to feed on each other. -- -- --Doc:Well, what I've been noticing since Charlie Manson got popped is a lot less eye contact from the straight world. You folks all used to be like a crowd at the zoo - 'Oh, look, the male one is carrying the baby and the female one is paying for the groceries', sorta thing, but now it's like, 'Pretend they're not even there, 'cause maybe they'll mass murder our ass.' Sauncho Smilax, the lawyer who cannot watch a TV cartoon without stumbling over a conspiracy theory, is actually specialised in maritime law. He is tasked to explain to the reader the main metaphor from the title, the idea that there isn't any perfect form of social structure to be built out of fallible human bricks, the there is a fatal flaw in our very own nature (greed, fear, selfishness, envy) that will bring all utopian communities to ruin: - Is that like original sin? Doc wondered.- It's what you can't avoid, Sauncho said, stuff marine policies don't like to cover. Usually aplies to cargo - like eggs break - but sometimes it's also the vessel carrying it. Like why bilges have to be pumped out?- Like the San Andreas Fault, it occured to Doc. Rats living up in the palm trees.I don't want to end my review on such a depressing note. Doc Sportello solves a lot of the mysteries thrown at him, but the existential questions remain pending. Is this a reason to give up, to retreat back into that 'fog of dope' ? (view spoiler)[ Like other lone wolfs before him, Doc leaves the scene alone, driving through the very real Californian ocean mist instead of heading westward into the sunset, thoroughly disappointed in love and in his career prospects, yet stoically enduring, waitingFor the fog to burn away, and for something else this time, somehow, to be there instead.. I hope he and the world can find a way to overcome the inherent vice.(hide spoiler)]>>> <<<>>> <<<I have said what I had to say, but I am still left with a lot of notes to self, bookmarks and funny repartees that I would hate to lose to the 'fog of memory', so I will dump them here as an afterword:- I want to re-read my old Steinbeck favorites: "Cannery Row", "Tortilla Flat" and "Sweet Thursday". They put me in mind of the start of the love generation, an age where you could still believe in innocence and goodwill among the bums, while Doc is witnessing the end of this era.- I want the book cover as a wall poster for my den- I should try to find out more about this Johnny Staccato guy, apparently it is a TV show from the 60's- I love the name of Doc's agency : "LSD Investigations"- Pynchon and Doc are both big fans of John Garfield, so I should see some of his movies- Shasta Fay : her theme song should be "Where Do You Go To My Lovely" by Peter Sarstedt. I really liked the romantic angle of her relationship with Doc. She is another mirror of her times, renouncing the life of a beach bunny for a chance at respectability and affluence with a rich investor boyfriend.- I should like to find more about the early days of internet. In the novel, there is Arpanet and a great side character of a teenage geek with hacker talents- Beside astrology and surfing and drugs, there is a reference to a sunken continent, Lemuria, that might give the reader another metaphor to chew on- Doc has the blues for his ex. A single mom named Hope tries to cheer him up:As one who's been down that particular exit ramp, Hope advised, you can only cruise the boulevards of regret so far, and then you've got to get back up onto the freeway again. - Doc gets back on the freeway repeatedly throughout the novel. The girls are all super hot, and often dressed up in fantasy sexy outfits (stewardess, nurse, biker leathers, etc). Doc is as politically incorrect as you can get, but I couldn't stop laughing at his pick-up lines. Upon setting eyes for the first time on Clancy Charlock: Cootie food! Doc screamed involuntarily, having been told once that this was French for "Love at first sight!"('coup de foudre' is what he was aiming for and missing by a good mile)- Lourdes and Motella are two of these chicks that I would love to party with, but Doc has a hard time explaining them to his present attorney girlfriend Penny: - Well! And how's everything at the beach? Groovy? Psychedelic? Surf bunnies all attentive as ever? Oh and how are those two stews I caught you with that time?Doc: I told you, man, it was that Jacuzzi, the pumps were on too high, those bikinis just kind of mysteriously came undone, it wasn't nothin deliberate -Beware of the Golden Fang !!!Is this a reference to the novels of Dr. Fu Manchu? Another item to add to my wishlist.- in relation to Arpanet, here's a quip that hits very close to home:... it all moves exponentially, and someday everybody's gonna wake up and find they're under surveillance they can't escape. Skips won't be able to skip no more, maybe by then there'll be no place to skip to. - some more smooth pick-up lines: What am I doing here anyway? How are you girls tonight, everything copacetic? -- -- -- Let's roll us a couple of numbers and hang out and listen to some Electric Prunes! -- -- -- "Maybe some tropical evening, we could play some canasta." -- -- -- Tubular, dude. recommended for anybody looking for a copacetic time!

  • Agnieszka
    2019-01-23 23:44

    I imagine Pynchon had a great fun writingInherent vice, mixing genres , freely borrowing from Chandler , Hammett , Coen brothers and embellishing detective novel with hippie nostalgia . I for sure had a fun reading it . The main protagonist Doc , hybrid of Dude and Marlowe , is a surfer , a hippie and a detective . We get his dreams , memories , hallucinations , even TV series . He’s constantly spliffed up what results some really zappy scenes . Doc loves beautiful women and never refuses to help them . He has a dangerous ability to run into troubles , and even if sometimes falls to understand what's going on he still is the last fair guy in the bad world . Pynchon’s novel is set in the early 70s . California beaches are still full of surfers and hippies continually zonked out , but the wave of dissent clearly falls and hippie summer of love definitely fades away . How significant is motto of the novelUnder the cobblestones , the beach. Though in fact there is no beach out there and somewhere behind back cunning traders are already waiting to let their bulldozers root grounds for new estates . Youthful rebelliousnes seems also to be tired of all drug-related kicks , erotic adventures and weird utopias . With every page I felt more and more intoxicated , sometimes was lost in the welter of names , but after some time I just stepped into that haze and fog to finally emerge myself ... Where exactly ?

  • Jenn(ifer)
    2019-02-15 15:44

    3.5/5 stars -- rounded up because I'm feeling generous.This isn't Tommy P at his best, but it is Tommy P at his most accessible. 'Inherent Vice' is good for a laugh, but sorta like that last time I smoked pot, I doubt I'll remember much about it tomorrow. It was a fun experience -- I giggled, I zoned out, got a little paranoid... hey, I think I might have even gotten a case of the munchies. Yeah, man. I sat on my sofa, ate a bag of Doritos, a pint of ice cream, a box of cookies and 6 slices of pizza. Then I fell asleep watching reruns of Gilligan's Island. I might have enjoyed the book more if it wasn't for, you know...

  • Ian
    2019-02-05 22:33

    "Tubular, Dude!""Inherent Vice" is often described as "Pynchon-Lite".However, the novel’s themes are no less cerebral (or entertaining or hilarious) than it predecessors. On the basis of just one reading, I think they’re consistent with at least "The Crying of Lot 49", if not also "V" and "Gravity’s Rainbow"."The Crying of Lot 49" was partly concerned with investigation or detection, the process by which we discover knowledge or become enlightened. In its case, the investigator was a lay person, Oedipa Maas. Here, it’s a private eye, a gum-shoe or as the cop Bigfoot calls the long-haired, dope-smoking, surfie, hippie protagonist, Doc Sportello, a "gum-sandal". Doc is stuck half-way between a professional and a lay person. Inevitably, though, while he's around, he's on the lookout to get both stoned and laid. He's the quintessential scooby, tubular dude. The dude abides, but not legally, a la the Big Lebowski!Clue Me InAt the beginning of any crime story or novel, we know nothing, we haven’t got a clue, except perhaps that a crime has been committed or that one will be committed during the timeframe of the novel.Over the course of the novel, the detective and we, the readers, seek out, we search for, clues, and hopefully we find them. Gradually, we start to put the clues together, until we have a plausible explanation of the crime. Eventually, by the conclusion of the novel, we have some kind of resolution, some kind of order.In a way, the typical crime novel proceeds from chaos to order, by way of a process."Inherent Vice" does just this. Pynchon throws a lot of characters, relationships and factual material at us. There’s no need to get too preoccupied with it or to master it all on the first reading. Together, it constitutes a world of chaotic detail. The important thing is that, seemingly, it moves towards a resolution or order of some sort. It doesn’t matter what the nature of the order is. It’s sufficient, as in any crime novel, that order is restored.However, this is a Pynchon novel, and order is not enough. In fact, it’s the polar opposite of the norm.Order, Vices, EntropyIf there’s any word or state you can associate with Pynchon, it’s "entropy".If the novel moves towards order, it actually reverses the Pynchonian process of entropy. That can’t be right, can it?So, what is actually going on here?The novel is set in 1970, almost forty years before it was written. We can work this out from the dates of the Charles Manson murders and the basketball games that are referenced.Pynchon apparently sees this year as pivotal in the battle between different world-views. America is unhappily ensconced in Vietnam. The hippie movement is in full conflict with the straights, whose males are pissed that nice flatland chicks are out in search of secret hippie love thrills. The straights enlist vigilantes as well as an Aryan Brotherhood army. Hippie scum duke it out with Nazi-ass motherfucker lowlife. Add to the mix a Mansonoid conspiracy! It’s all happening, bro!While the government is preoccupied with Vietnam and an internal battle with hippiedom, it’s the Mafia and syndicates of property developers (and rogue dentists) who run riot. Anything goes, when it comes to them.Ironically, business doesn’t prefer the condition of chaos. It wants its own kind of predictability and stability. It wants guaranteed and recurring returns.The Mafia doesn’t thrive on chaos. It’s all about organised crime. It works against entropy.Inherent or Extrinsic Vice?Order is artificial. It’s a product of humanity. It only occurs when humanity works against nature.The title of the novel refers to the inherent tendency of any physical object to deteriorate over time because of the instability of its component parts (as opposed to any deterioration caused by external forces). Vice is a flaw. It is inherent if it is contained within the object itself. In any system, some vice will be inherent, and some will be superimposed by external forces.The difference in legal and insurance terms is that you can’t make a claim against an insurance company for inherent vice. It’s a risk you must assume and undertake, like original sin. It’s built into and assumed in the object or the system.On the Beach, a PavementLike crime, humanity superimposes order on nature. In the epigraph, Pynchon quotes the French Situationist grafitto from 1968:"Under the paving stones, the beach!"The more order we superimpose on nature, the more we detract from it, the more we move away from nature itself, including, potentially, human nature.Over time, as with the paving stones, we obscure the nature that lies beneath.Crossing the Desert of Perception in a CaravanDoc seeks the truth, he seeks enlightenment, this time in parallel with the cops, the professional police force. Only they have different motives. Doc seeks the truth, whereas they seek to impose (law and) order on society.1970 represented a period of major uncertainty in American and world culture. A fog descended over the community. On the highway, progress stalled. People couldn’t see where they were going. Everything ground to a halt. Cars came to a standstill, lined up one after the other:"He was in a convoy of unknown size, each car keeping the one ahead in taillight range, like a caravan in a desert of perception, gathered awhile for safety in getting across a patch of blindness." Well, I Got a Foggy NotionIn order to solve the crime, therefore, Doc bands together with the LAPD. He collaborates, he forms a caravan in order to collectively work their way through the fog of the unknown.Still, it doesn’t come naturally to him. Something about the fog appeals to him. You can’t tell the difference, you can’t discriminate in the fog:"…nobody could tell anymore in the fog who was Mexican, who was Anglo, who was anybody." "Somehow, To Be There Instead"In a way, the fog also represents the uncertainty of the future, a world that heralds the internet, surveillance, paranoia, conformity, insularity, despite the talk of a global village.In the 40 years since the timeframe of the novel, all of these things have happened.To quote the Rolling Stones from 1974, "these days it's all secrecy and no privacy.""Inherent Vice" is shot through with a romanticism for 1970, a nostalgia for a time when perhaps history might have headed in a different direction to the one it took.Pynchon’s narrator seems to wish that Doc could have left the caravan, the line, the queue, pulled over onto the shoulder of the road and waited for whatever else might happen:"For a forgotten joint to materialise in his pocket. For the CHP to come by and choose not to hassle him. For a restless blonde in a Stingray to stop and offer him a ride. For the fog to burn away, and for something else this time, somehow, to be there instead."Forty years later, we have to infer that nothing else was there instead, because inevitably, it seems, we've ended up where we are. Can it possibly be enough, though, that we have this novel and a film? Can they make up for it? What do all the young dudes think? Is this work just a vehicle for celluloid or digital heroes?Anyway, nicely rolled, Pynch!SOUNDTRACK:Rolling Stones – "Fingerprint File""And there's some little jerk in the FBIKeepin' papers on me six feet highIt gets me down, it gets me down, it gets me downWell, it gets me down, it gets me downI know, they're takin' pictures on the ultraviolet lightYou now I ain't right, oh yeah, alrightYeah, I know babe, but these days it's all secrecy and no privacyOh, good night honey, sleep tight." Rolling Stones – "Fingerprint File" (Killer Version 1974) slightly slower version.Rolling Stones – "Fingerprint File" (Live in LA on July 11, 1975) stunning bass by Ron Wood.Van Morrison – "Caravan" (Live in 1973) is video of twelve songs from the 1973 concert with the Caledonia Soul Orchestra live at the Rainbow Theatre in London: of this concert ended up on the live album, "It's Too Late to Stop Now".Bloods – "Into My Arms" (From the E.P. "Golden Fang") Trailer – "Inherent Vice" Phoenix on David Letterman - December 8th 2014 – "Spooks" on the Soundcloud link for an extract from the film soundtrack.

  • Michael Finocchiaro
    2019-02-15 19:35

    This was a good Pynchon - a change of pace from the über-Pynchon of Mason&Dixon and Against the Day and more like his last book Bleeding Edge. The main character is great and I loved the intrigue and the dialog. The movie was really great too although apparently few people fully understood or appreciated it. Kind of Big Lebowski on meth instead of week or something. Absurd, funny, and inventive. Another great book from one of my favourite American authors of the late 20th C and early 21st C.

  • Madeleine
    2019-01-19 16:34

    When I first read "Inherent Vice," my Pynchon intake was woefully scant. I also read it in little bits and spurts over the span of a few months -- oh, and somewhere in all that, I got married. And was working two jobs. And had no idea that the undeservedly derisive "Pynchon Light" just means it requires still frantic but slightly less infrequent consultation of a dictionary and only one additional reference material (once again, my brain would like to thank the Pynchon Wiki for its meticulous, if occasionally too laborious -- I mean, does “head shop” necessitate THAT involved of a definition? -- unraveling of even the most knotty of obscure allusions).Nothing about my first read made for ideal reading conditions. Past Me gave this little gem a paltry three-star rating, which was a sad day indeed in my literary history. At least I realized that the fault was my own and "Inherent Vice" deserved better than being shoehorned between major milestones and other real-world distractions. Three years later, my love for Thomas Pynchon has grown to the point where I made sure to take off May 8 for Pynchon in Public Day so I could traipse around New York City to, with little more than the pairing of a 2004 NYT article's vague location and my own keen eye for older gentlemen with buck teeth for guidance, harmlessly stalk literature's most elusive enigma while getting cozy with "V." in highly visible areas. And maybe adding a few of my own muted horns to the city's sprawling landscape of graffiti. With the fangirl-tizzy-inducing news that T. Ruggs has a new novel on the horizon, what better time could there be to revisit a novel that demands far more fervent adulation than the lukewarm "meh" I originally belched out before moving on to other things?"Inherent Vice" is easy to write off, I know. The "Lebowski" parallels are too obvious to pass up (likable, well-meaning stoner gets caught up in a noir-flavored mess that's, in all fairness, far bigger than both his good nature and weed-soured but still viable brain can process before Shit Gets Real and Really Ugly) but that's far too simplistic of a prejudgment to bring to this densely hilarious, heart-breakingly nostalgic love letter to the long-gone good vibes of the '60s. The references here are far more obvious (though still deftly delivered) than the obscure-1940s nods that are peppered throughout "Gravity Rainbow" like low-impact land mines, what with its smattering of music, television, cinema and general entertainment nods that every Flower Child and wanna-be hippie alike can't help but understand like a second language. To truly appreciate the rich nuances, intricate layers and multitudinous similarities this deceptively simple tale of increasingly out-of-place hippies shares with its outwardly brainier older siblings, one needs either an encyclopedic knowledge of positively all of the things ever or the patience to refer obsessively to an outside source: As I am not a brain on legs, I opted for the second choice, which was really the best way to make sure that I caught all the brilliant little nuggets Pynchon scatters throughout this madcap whodunnit wrapped in psychedelic grooves and freely offered love by the California beach. And paranoia by the stolen-car-load. Because it wouldn’t be Pynchon (or an excursion with Mary Jane) without bricks and kilos and the occasional easy-to-stash dime-bag of paranoia. One of the most immediate charms of this novel is that Pynchon either assumes the reader comes to his newest brainchild wielding a familiarity with his other works or is simply self-referential to a delightful extent, which is a far tastier treat after partaking in his other novels. "Vineland" is the most immediate parallel, given the gaggle of aging hippies (even if I had a hard time absorbing the fact that Doc is not even 30 -- which I don't want to talk about because that means he's roughly my age but with a truly old soul’s history) watching helplessly as their chronologic home slips farther and farther into the past and partying all the way to their cultural obsolescence, as well as the remarkable similarities (and foil-ish inversions of crucial traits) exhibited by Doc here and Zoyd in "Vineland." But the sheer palpability of Californian characteristics also evokes the spirit of “The Crying of Lot 49” to an unignorable extent, just as IV and CoL49 share a kinship of noir-y origin. And even “Gravity’s Rainbow” has strong philosophical bonds with IV. My favorite example is to compare this passage from the former:"Temporal bandwidth" is the width of your present, your now. It is the familiar "Δt" considered as a dependent variable. The more you dwell in the past and in the future, the thicker your bandwidth, the more solid your persona. But the narrower your sense of Now, the more tenuous you are. It may get to where you’re having trouble remembering what you were doing five minutes ago, or even—as Slothrop now—what you’re doing here, at the base of this colossal curved embankment. . . .to this passage from the latter, wherein our intrepid protagonist is recalling a particularly cosmic trip where alien beings thrust his hyperdense, perfect-specimen self three billion years into the future:"Oh, and one other thing," just before throwing the final switch, “the universe? it’s been, like, expanding? So when you get there, everything else will be the same weight, but bigger? with all the molecules further apart? except for you—you’ll be the same size and density. Meaning you’ll be about a foot shorter than everybody else, but more compact. Like, solid?”What I like best is that this principal (aside from the interpretation that the events leading up to this moment of Doc's substance-fueled adventure can be a nod to Italo Calvino’s “Cosmicomics,” which is further proof that I need to read it sooner rather than later) might get some actual demonstration if the lapses in IV are meant to be taken literally, as Doc has some serious lost-time moments that could be best explained by his slipping through wormholes. Or is Doc simply so super chummy with Uncle Sid that he's too busy tripping his face off to account for the funny things his sense of here-and-now is doing to his sense of self?If that's not enough, the Pynchonian hallmarks -- extending beyond thematic, atmospheric and character similarities to include both the writing itself and the episodes of hilarity underscoring the gut-wrenching truths of reality -- are as omnipresent here as is the necessary haze of pot smoke. And there's a bonus rumination about three-fourths in that echoes Hunter S. Thompson's Wave Speech with a touching sincerity.Or you can always enjoy this video, narrated by The Man Himself. If nothing else, it'll teach your the proper pluralization of "stewardess."

  • Oriana
    2019-01-22 19:57

    God, here is another of those instances where my brain is just a totally unreliable pile of poo. Because listen, I got SO EXCITED when I heard there was going to be a Pynchon movie made finally finally, and from such a good one! I thought, Gosh, I'd better hurry up and re-read this, which I loved so much when I first read it, so I can be all ready for the film! Except: nope. I'm 3/4 through the re-read (LOVING IT) and just remembered to come over here and update my shelves, and look at this craziness! It turns out I didn't like this book really very much at all when I read it four years ago! What???***Original review, 2010: Ah, well. Pynchon, I love you, but this was an odd one. Definitely in the quick-and-dirty tradition of Vineland, as opposed to the sprawling and stunning force of Gravity's Rainbow or Against the Day. And I am sad to say I didn't fall as head-over-heels for this one as I have for most of the others. I'm going to call this a parody of a period piece, I think. I mean, the sixties are a period, right? And all his books are periody, or have smatterings of periodiness. This one is a bit harder to love than, say, the turn-of-the-century balloonists in Against the Day, or the deviant European hedonists on their weird WWII sex boat in Gravity's Rainbow, or even the fast-and-furious eighties-ness of Vineland, probably because "the sixties" is basically already a parody of itself these days, and so you have to go so far over the top to parody a parody, and it just kind of becomes silly. Not that I am calling Pynchon silly! I mean, this is a fully realized work, and it's got all the Pynchon hallmarks -- billowing paranoia, bizarre songs, jillions of characters, drugs, sex, intrigue, and on and on. But the best way to describe this is like "psychedelic noir" or "stoned whodunit" or something, which is just kind of... silly.Inherent Vice is, for Pynchon, a rather straightforward story, almost too much so. He does that thing he always does, where he continues to introduce new characters practically all the way until the very end. But this time it doesn't feel as whimsical or nonconventional, it feels really forced. Like every time Doc Sportello, our hapless hippie private eye hero, follows a lead, he's told, "Oh, you want to check into ___," or "Have you already talked to ___?", and then in the next scene, that person or thing just bounds into Doc's path, practically knocking him over. I mean, you can never really figure out where Pynchon is going to take you next, but here I really often felt like I was just being tugged around on a leash. And the characters? Kind of disappointing. All the ladies are buxom and sex-crazed, there are some pretty bad race stereotypes, the good guys are stupid and the bad guys are evil... everyone's kind of a cardboard cutout. Doc just bumbles his way into exactly the right place and time, all the time, and is always narrowly escaping by a pretty wide margin. The other main guy is a cop named Bigfoot who is totally anti-hippie and therefore anti-Doc, and the two have this long-standing rivalry so they're always taking swipes at each other, but it's coded, inside-joke-y, and I most of the time just didn't get it. Shasta, the love interest, is inconsistent to both Doc and the dude she left him for, and we are given little reason for her to even be the love interest, except obvs she's hot and sex-crazed and walks around wearing only bikini bottoms and gives a wicked blowjob. So what conclusion can I draw? I mean, I have no doubt that Pynchon is a consummate literary genius, and so surely he was aware of all the things I just bitched about, and clearly he wanted to write this book just this way anyway. Probably I am not a critical or careful enough reader to have gotten myself in on the joke, I guess. The book was fun, and often funny, and occasionally awesome, but on the whole it didn't really do it for me.

  • Eddie Watkins
    2019-02-02 23:33

    Is this Pynchon investigating (& turning a critical eye upon) his own infatuation with the “dream of the ‘60’s”? Spying on himself?Besides the convoluted crime plot which never lets up, delivering the goods time after time, what’s of primary interest here is how people change, how they wholeheartedly believe one thing one day and how over time that belief is turned on its head and their lives and beliefs become the antitheses of what they were when they were younger. What is the process involved here? This is what Pynchon wants to know, and though he typically foists the responsibility onto soulless authority figures who have their own occult reprogramming methods, he never does find out the deeper, more personal (even biological), reasons. It’s just what happens, though he doesn’t want to accept this. The only alternative for the individual of integrity is to remain on the fringes and resist that change.Doc Sportello, PI, plays that role in Inherent Vice even as he's investigating why all the changes are happening. He’s an amiable guy, content to drift and flow along with herbal assistance, but he’s also a shadowy figure, a kind of transitional figure working both sides, as he makes his living by working for unscrupulous people; and late in the book an ex calls him on this very fact, and it hits him hard. But how can he get out? Deep down he knows how much he resembles the very cop who is his nemesis. What a bind!Doc reminded me a little of Ghost Dog (from the Jarmusch movie) - gentle to the core, even sweet, but capable of violence. There’s a great scene late in the book where Doc, grateful that he’s not too stoned, engages in his own version of Samurai warrior violence – flowing with a deadly flow – to kill a thoroughly repugnant individual. This single moment of violence surprised me and added a depth to the character, an intensity that seemed absent until then.I only detected a little reverberative cultural relevance to the contemporary world. One was a primitive computer network that Doc consults from time to time with the assistance of a friend. This was an early manifestation of the internet, so it allows Pynchon a few openings to insert anti-web barbs – how the knowledgeable individual will be expendable, how all the info only adds up to a big hollowness, and of course how nobody will be able to hide. But then at the end of the book, in a very lovely concluding passage in a dense California fog, as a convoy of strangers in cars help each other make a safe passage on difficult roads, he speculates that in the future of instant communication and info retrieval these strangers would connect with each other as it’s happening, and would even instantly organize annual reunions to commemorate their moment of brotherhood. I suspect he’s being at least partly ironic in his praises, and lamenting the loss of anonymity in such situations, but there’s also a concession to the real bonding that can occur between strangers with the help of the internet and the proliferation of social networking tools.

  • Trish
    2019-01-31 23:42

    Why Inherent Vice and why now? ‘Inherent’ is used as it is in legal documents, and Pynchon is making the point that powerful or wealthy actors in our society have an inherent advantage which they may use to good or ill, i.e., police, FBI, property developers, ARPAnet operators all have outsized power that needs monitoring, formally and/or informally. And perhaps, in the tendency within each of us to look after our own interests and feather our own beds, we all harbor the "inherent vice" Pynchon speaks of. The New York Times recently announced that Paul Thomas Anderson has a film adaptation of the novel being released in December 2014. The IMDB website has already listed it as 8.6 in a scale of 10. Knowing Pynchon's particular fascination with film, you can bet this was raked over carefully.It's 1969. Larry ‘Doc’ Sportello, private eye, is navigating a world of cops and zombies in L.A. Nixon is President. Reagan is Governor. Doc is stoned much of the time. He buys into nothing, and the paranoia that comes with being blitzed actually serves him well: we can allow ourselves to operate with half a brain and get on with the joy as long as we retain a healthy skepticism about who is managing our lives around us and offering us goodies. Sportello keeps reminding us to “focus in and pay attention” to weird “inexpressible imbalances in the laws of karma.”Though I began this crime genre novel smirking over Pynchon’s descriptions of sex, drugs, and rock&roll (!) in L.A. (!) in the sexy sixties (!), gradually I became aware (like awakening from a pot-induced lethargy) that Pynchon actually has a point here. “like…far out, man, you’re actually making sense to me.” But mostly, it was just groovy hanging out with this cool dude.He drops his truths into paragraphs thick with love beads and leis: “Over the years business had obliged him to visit a stately L.A. home or two, and he soon noticed how little sense of what was hip the very well fixed were able to exhibit, and that, roughly proportional to wealth accumulated, the condition only grew worse.” We all know there is a unfettered beauty to having nothing--no matter the storm has taken my roof, the better to see the stars—so we begin to trust this dopehead with more important observations…like what to eat. Check out the “Shoot the Pier, basically avocados, sprouts, jalapenos, pickled artichoke hearts, Monterey jack cheese, and Green Goddess dressing on a sourdough loaf that had first been sliced lengthwise, spread with garlic butter and toasted.”Doc is in his late twenties, and has ample experience already with the way cops operate. He doesn’t like them because in his experience they lie and find ways around doing the right thing for the folks they were hired “to serve and protect.” They have powerful inducements to serve and protect their own ass, which they often do. But even the folks out to neutralize our dopehead protagonist seem to like him as he pursues for his former “old lady” Shasta the people that threaten her new bf, a millionaire real estate tycoon who has seen the errors of his ways. Several people turn up dead, and others warn “You don’t want to be fucking with this, Doc.”The names will send one back: Bambi, Jade, Spotted Dick, Golden Fang, and Coy. We get lyrics, too, entire soundtracks that play in our heads as we squint against the smoke in the air. My favorite is “one of the few known attempts at black surf music”:”Who’s that strollin down the street,Hi-heel flip-flops on her feet,Always got a great big smile,Never gets popped by Juv-en-ile—Who is it? [Minor-seventh guitar fill]Soul Gidget!Who never worries about her karma?Who be that signifyin on your mama?Out there looking so bad and big,Like Sandra Dee in some Afro wig—Who is it?Soul Gidget!And what about this jewel of a set-piece:”Back at his place, Doc found Scott and Denis in the kitchen investigating the icebox, having just climbed in the alley window after Denis, a bit earlier, down at his own place, had fallen asleep as he often did with a lit joint in his mouth, only this time the joint, instead of dropping onto this chest and burning him and waking him up at least partway, had rolled someplace else among the bedsheets, where soon it began to smolder. After a while Denis woke, got up, and wandered into the bathroom, thought he would take a shower, sort of got into doing that. At some point the bed burst into flame, burning eventually up through the ceiling, directly above which was his neighbor Chico’s water bed, luckily for Chico without him on it, which being plastic melted from the heat, releasing nearly a ton of water through the hole that had by now burned in the ceiling, putting out the fire in Denis’ bedroom while turning the floor into a sort of wading pool. Denis came drifting back from the bathroom, and not able right away to account for what he found, plus getting the fire department, who had now arrived, confused with the police, went running down the alley to Scott Oof’s beach place, where he tried to describe what he thought had happened, basically deliberate sabotage by the Boards, who had never stopped plotting against him.”The plot, such as it is, is studded with dazzling gems that threaten to distract one from Doc’s inexorable forward slide towards finding out who is actually screwing who: “…the patriots running [Coy] were being run themselves by another level of power altogether, which seemed to feel entitled to fuck with the lives of all who weren’t as good or bright as they were, which meant everybody.” Doc, to his everlasting credit, began to worry who he was helping and who he was hurting in the course of his meandering investigations. Even his buddy Sparky helping him out by following the action on the ARPAnet led to soul-searching. Too much information. About everybody. There must be a reason Pynchon decides to make dentists the money-grubbing felonious brains behind the importation of heroin, but I guess we’ll never know for sure.And now for one of my favorite passages: Pynchon describes a phenomenon we may not have experienced before, but one which we will recognize forever after with a burst of delight and wonder. ”In the little apartment complexes the wind entered narrowing to whistle through the stairwells and ramps and catwalks, and the leaves of the palm trees outside rattled together with a liquid sound, so that from inside, in the darkened rooms, in louvered light, it sounded like a rainstorm, the wind raging in the concrete geometry, the palms beating together like the rush of a tropical downpour, enough to get you to open the door and look outside, and of course there’d only be the same hot cloudless depth of day, no rain in sight.”As I sought the source of the Nixon quote (which sounds as tone-deaf as the man actually was) “There are always the whiners and complainers who’ll say, this is fascism. Well, fellow Americans, if it’s Fascism for Freedom? I…can…dig it!” I came across a review which places this novel in the context of Pynchon’s other works. I said in an earlier review (of Bleeding Edge) that Pynchon is remarkably consistent, and the above reviewer tends to agree. Trust, but verify. Stay vigilant. Watch yourself. “ …stay focused and stay active and [do] not take what those powerful around you say at face value.”[The Closed Circuit Game: A Hippie Noir, by Salvatore Ruggiero]

  • Antonomasia
    2019-01-21 15:43

    Pynchon for times you’d never normally consider reading Pynchon. (Okay, yeah, though, I’m not counting you peculiar, hyper-serious-brained lot who’d throw yourselves into a full-scale re-read of Gravity's Rainbow plus 350pp companion volume whilst simultaneously dealing with a temperature of 102, a divorce and a house move.)This comedy noir detective story has a tone so perfectly pitched that – unlike Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, a film which is still a lot of fun in its own right - the characters and their troubles are treated sympathetically and seriously; and yet at the same time they manage to be Dickensian caricatures of a time and place and its types. And that being the same place and pretty much the same kind of people as The Crying of Lot 49 and, I wasn't surprised to hear, Vineland, it's still, in its soul and preoccupations, unmistakeably Pynchy.Inherent Vice is as comfortable as other crime fiction I might pick up for a low-effort read, but of course that’s far from the full story. Sacrilege alert for some: the experience reminded me a lot of discovering Terry Pratchett, lulled for a while into passivity by the tone… But huh, hang on, this is better and a whole lot cleverer than it looks at first glance. And (unlike with, say, Mason & Dixon), you won’t need to go in armed with a large dictionary, encyclopaedia and specialist Wiki if you’re reasonably au fait with the pop culture of the author’s home planet. (I know Pynchon uses researchers to help with many of his novels, and would hazard a guess that for Inherent Vice he didn’t.) There were a handful of references here I was conscious of not getting, and bands I’d not heard of whose non-fictional existence I’d give odds of 50/50 in a milieu where real ones had names like The Peanut Butter Conspiracy; so a small smattering that never got in the way of enjoying the novel, such as one finds in dozens of other works of fiction.And, as I’ve been saying on GR on and off for five years since I posted about Alex James’ Bit of a Blur, I think druggy stories can be perfect to read when tired, feverish or otherwise ill; they’re a bit out of it, you’re a bit out of it, albeit less voluntarily; it just works, and if you occasionally lose track of something, hell, the writer and/or characters probably did too, and nobody really cares, as it drifts off into the ether along with one’s vague dissatisfaction with having to hear so bloody much about Atlantis and Lemuria. Part of the same freewheeling edge of reality reality is the classically pomo deliberate near-anachronism. If in 1970 there actually was this much organic food in restaurants anywhere, and anyone was see[r]ing [total Nathanism there...] the modern web in Arpanet, it probably was in California. He’s doing it, very, very knowingly, in a way that could easily be mistaken for naivety, and probably would be in a book from an author and publisher of lesser reputation, and that fits the pulpiness of the story and characters to a T. (And given publication date of 2009, maybe the collapse and aftermath of the 1960s is also, kinda, the collapse and aftermath of the 00's credit boom.)I’d almost recommend Inherent Vice to friends who'd never normally consider reading Pynchon, but do read detective novels – but it’s that very baggy, druggy shaggy-dogness that cautions me. Pynchon may be lite here, but he’s still all for the adventures that can be had on a wild goose chase; and then 80% of the way through, the pace slows to what feels like a sleepy, sexy conclusion and you wonder about the page numbering, you think it’s all over and that these hippie stoner freaks really don’t care about all the loose ends, it’s not like that would be out of character, and why is there still so much waffly book left; but oh yeah, this is why, it eventually becomes apparent. Coool.-----------A bit more once I’ve watched the film (in which Joaquin Phoenix is ten years too old, and for once that’s pretty important given the significance of the generational divide to the 1960s-70s counterculture).

  • David Katzman
    2019-01-21 15:30

    Oh, Pynchon. How you disappoint me.This time, it's personal. (Cue the overblown Schwarzenegger theme song.)It's difficult to review Pynchon without coming to him with a lot of baggage. Like, after DFW, is there any other author so worshipped for straddling the line between mainstream narrative and experimentalism? Who has international average-Joe name recognition and major critic cred? You know, the ones at The New York Times not us proles. Does not Gravity's Rainbow carry the weight of...well, gravity? So I enter expecting certain things that may very well be hard to live up to.Here's what I expected when I picked this book up based on past experience and based on the back cover description: something experimental (not delivered) and something far-out and trippy (not delivered). I also expected it to be either realistic or way not realistic. Sadly for me, I found it to be neither.Experimental. What can I say, The Crying of Lot 49 was my first love in college. It was surreal and eerie. Probably the first novel I had ever read that was deeply (and intentionally) ambiguous. Even the crazy fantasy novels I read in high school--they might have been out there and trippy, but they didn't leave the reader with more questions than answers. TCoL49 requires the reader to take in the story actively not passively (if you want to get anything from it). It asks you to make your own assumptions and connections. For me, all Pynchon after it must live up to TCoL49. Inherent Vice is so mainstream it bled The Da Vinci Code. I just couldn't believe how straightforwardly narrative it was. Not even a hint of out-of-the-ordinary. I was outrageously let down.The Story. So it's not experimental. It's a straightforward narrative. A book may have to work a little harder to win me over, but I have enjoyed many straightforward narratives. It's not that I didn't give it a chance, but there were so many things that bothered me that I just couldn't enjoy it. First of all, the tone and style lived in a neverland between satire and realism. It never landed a solid foot in either camp. That just did not work for me. None of the characters felt deep enough to convince me they were real (and other than the main character, we don't meet any of them long enough to believe in them; they glance off the plot like pool balls). For example, the personality traits of the police officer named Bigfoot seemed like a grab bag of quirky lines, attitudes, and sixties critiques shaken up without coherence. Bigfoot's relationship with his wife was a joke rather than sincere. It felt like Pynchon trying too hard to make characters quirky and contradictory. On the other hand, Pynchon includes so many nods toward "realism" that I couldn't absorb the story as satire. Occasionally blatant moments of satire crept in that felt completely out of place against the majority of the scenes. For example, in chapter 8, Pynchon relates the summary of a soap opera being watched on TV. The summary is so far-fetched that it is obviously a satirical joke. A pretty lame joke. How about psychedelic? Hardly. Writing a book about stoners and druggies is not psychedelic. Writing a book that makes the reader feel stoned or trippy is psychedelic. Inherent Vice felt stone cold sober with the subject matter being stoners.I could see Inherent Vice being turned into a movie as I read it, clichéd movie that was trying to be "about the sixties." And talk about clichés, the repeated gag where diverse characters express granular details of obscure actors and movies in casual conversation in order to represent L.A.'s obsession with movies? Which was paralleled by the way in casual conversation that so many people talked about sexual fetishes as if they were mundane? These techniques read like stereotypes. Almost bugged me as much as the use of music (especially over the car radio) again and again as a technique to capture "that sixties vibe." I mean, could it be more obviously a writer's device? Most of the characters seemed like shallow simulacra of the sixties, artificial simulations. So I didn't care about them.The plot itself was rather ridiculous, which would lend itself toward Inherent Vice being a satire if Pynchon didn't seem to be working so hard to make his characters sound realistic. One technique that nodded toward naturalism was Pynchon having characters who used a sort of insidery lingo with each other. A kind of hipster quality of dialogue that skipped reader clarity (what exactly is going on here? why is there only dialogue with no scenic description?), because the "characters" would understand each other's meaning even though we don't. It smelled so blatantly like Pynchon "cutting the fat" that I can only say, his writing was showing.* And here's another gimmick that bothered me: the repeated use of question marks at the end of statements (which were not questions) in dialogue for multiple characters. It felt like a failed attempt at realistic dialogue that became a gimmick with overuse. The characters and their interactions all seemed contrived to me. Since they never jelled, everything felt like a setup (by the author). I was sludging my way through the plot just to see what twist came up next. I was not invested in Sportello, the main character, because he didn't seem real (nor the people who he was trying to save, since we hardly met them) so I didn't care about what twist came next. Perhaps I'm spoiled by the hilarious and brilliant Fan Man. At times, I felt like Sportello read as a poor man's Fan Man. Fan Man with a gun, which was oxymoronic enough to be irritating. Sportello also echoed The Dude in The Big Lebowski. Here's a trait of his that was remarkably unrealistic: getting a boner at the mention of an actresses name in the middle of casual conversation while undercover. Please. Is this realism? Satire? Funny? Just phony.The plot attempted to be a detective story as well, which I found to be kind of a drag. Since none of the characters mattered to me I really didn't care what was being investigated. Worst of all there was NO urgency! The main character just meandered from scene to scene with little drama except near the end when he actually had to use some physical violence to escape a situation. No urgency is bad for stories but even worse for a detective story. Where's the tension? I also fluctuated between finding holes in the plot and finding scenes designed to provide information that moved the story forward. I've also come to realize I generally dislike close third person narrative. It's not quite omniscient and not first person either, so who's it kidding?Here is a brief list of additional moments that bothered me:(view spoiler)[Near the beginning of Chapter 5 (Pg 56 in paperback) Sportello calls up Marv Wolfmann's wife on the phone and she says, "...Mr.—is it Sportello?" even though in the previous portion of the conversation he had not mentioned his name.Marv Wolfmann's wife believing Sportello's cover story simply hands over her bank account number. Who does that? Plus, I immediately knew it was a plot device so that Sportello could do some investigation of the bank account to reveal some additional information. Detective Story 101.The phrase "couple-three" used twice.Beginning of chapter 7 when Sportello and his lawyer simultaneously realize an unspoken multi-layered metaphor. When does that happen?Having the lawyer obsessed with yachting and the Golden Fang boat—another contrived backstory to advance the plot.Bigfoot's philosophical rant in chapter 13 that seemed like an attempt to further summarized the sixties.Chapter 14, the limo coming to Sportello's rescue just in time. Deux ex machina is not welcome in realistic fiction.Why is Riggs, Marv Wolfmann's wife's lover, in Vegas? (Also chapter 14.) Because Pynchon needs a conversation to happen.The black guy big-dick joke.Toward the end, Sportello rushes to hide the heroin terrified that the cops will catch him. (He was set up after all). But then...after a while...he can't find a hiding place so he just takes it home and delivers it the next day to someone. Huh? (hide spoiler)]Well, it's not a one star book. I didn't hate it. It had a few moments of stoner humor that tickled my funny joint. But I certainly didn't much care for it. Thanks for nothing, Mr. Pynchon.*Let's just admit, writing realism is very difficult. To make a scene become visible in the imagination of the reader requires enough detail so that it is not ambiguous, confusing or abstract and yet must be done without being heavy handed or writing down to your reader. Ain't easy.

  • Ben Loory
    2019-01-22 18:46

    the more pynchon i read the less i understand why anyone gives a shit about pynchon. unfunny, unoriginal, emotionally void, completely lacking in mystery, suspense, or wonder. just a bunch of "wacky" characters talkin "wacky" for 400 pages. like the worst of tarantino, minus the violence and sense of danger.

  • Jimmy
    2019-01-31 15:51

    After six novels spanning a literary career of about forty-seven years, Thomas Pynchon has become less and less obscure. Not so much in the sense of his persona as a writer; that will always remain ambiguous, and it is irrelevant to the books that he writes, as William Gaddis would argue. It is rather what makes a Thomas Pynchon novel so great, that has become more apparent. Which is also why his latest, a "part- noir, part- psychedelic romp, all Thomas Pynchon —" in which "private eye Doc Sportello comes, occasionally, out of a marijuana haze to watch the end of an era as free love slips away and paranoia creeps in with the L.A. fog.", is relatively easy to pigeonhole. The typical reaction, one that say Michiko Kakutani from the Times might have, is that this is another "lite Pynchon" novel; in other words, one that is shorter in length than his more epic war novels, easier to follow, and a little more humble in terms of erudition and allusion. What has become even more apparent is that these shorter novels tend to deal specifically with the decade of the sixties, even if they aren't set in that present day and age. Those familiar with all of his books are probably thinking of the Crying of Lot 49, Vineland, and to a lesser degree, the Slow Learner. I've always found that when writing in this mode, Pynchon tends to sound much more sentimental and subjective in tone. The subject matter is clearly more personal to him than say, labor struggles at the turn of the 20th Century. As sprawling and, at times, digressive as his larger novels can be, they're consistently better. Both Gravity's Rainbow and Mason & Dixon are commonly celebrated as his finest works. And they are; phenomenal books tackling an endless variety of complicated themes with such an inimitable voice. While these other novels are definitely lighter, they deal with similar themes, it's just that the scale is somewhat reduced, and social and historical context is altered. Inherent Vice is one of these novels.Pynchon's previous book, Against the Day deliberately grappled with a number of genres that were popular during the period of time that it was set in. And even Gravity's Rainbow contained elements of noir fiction. So it isn't really an enormous surprise that he has chosen this genre to make a pastiche out of. Everything about the book, from the dust jacket to the convoluted plot* was intended to mimic detective fiction. And it's like Chandler, but it's Robert Altman's Chandler, played with charismatic listlessness by Elliot Gould. Or better yet, Doc Sportello is very much like Jeff Bridges in the Big Lebowski. Film references aren't exactly inappropriate here because Pynchon makes several throughout the book, most notably, actor John Garfield who's life story does play into the plot, which is important to one of Pynchon's main themes here, which is paranoia, which isn't really anything new. In this story the paranoia is expressed by the government, FBI, and police officers, more than it is by the people that they're suspicious of; hippie cults namely. Garfield was blacklisted under McCarthyism. Hippies, communists, these are leftist archetypes, the sort that Pynchon has always focused on in his novels. Doc himself isn't really concerned with much of this. His daily priority is getting high, maybe making a few bucks with this gig that he has somehow arbitrarily fallen into. A character reminiscent of Benny Profane and Tyrone Slothrop. Part of the reason that potheads became a popular character decision for noir stories, is because they can effortlessly be written into scenarios that are way above their heads. His old lady, Shasta comes into the picture, a character who is absent throughout most of the novel (much like Vineland's Frenesi Gates). She's been sleeping with a real-estate giant by the name of Mickey Wolfmann, who's recently been abducted, so Doc is asked to look into his whereabouts. From there, it's the standard wild-goose-chase that leads Doc into interactions with people that he'd normally have no business with. He's a P.I. though, so "them's the ropes".The detective novel seems like a more apt platform for Pynchon to manipulate in order to reflect on the end of the sixties. In Vineland, the narrative included so much melodramatic commentary on sixties counterculture. Its loose form made it sound like sort of a rant about what happened subsequently after that decade. With Inherent Vice the formal restrictions of the noir plot restrain what could've otherwise turned into a heavy-handed diatribe on the death of revolutionary sixties values, something in the vein of a Hunter S. Thompson book.What makes his latest book surprisingly successful is how much of a perfectly honed pastiche it turned out to be. The premise itself may not sound like the most original spin on a classic genre, but it accomplishes what it sets out to do in a stylistic and formal sense. And it's Pynchon still at the heights of his storytelling talent. It may not be one of his strongest works to date, but it's still a charming example of his ability to make everyone laugh in the face of those fading halcyon days that us groovy people tend to love so much. *I'm opting to avoid a thorough recapitulation of the plot of Inherent Vice. As one of my Goodreads friends once so eloquently put it, "Synopses are such a bore to write - and read...". I'll refer to it, but I'm not going through the whole story.

  • HBalikov
    2019-02-11 15:53

    Before we start, check out this excerpt from the book:“Doc was in the toilet pissing during a commercial break when he heard Sauncho screaming at the television set. He got back to find his attorney just withdrawing his nose from the screen.“’Everything cool?’“’Ahh…’ collapsing on the couch, ‘Charlie the fucking Tuna, man.’“’What?’“’It’s all supposed to be so innocent, upwardly mobile snob, designer shades, beret, so desperate to show he’s got good taste, except he’s also dyslexic so he gets ‘good taste’ mixed up with ‘taste good,’ but it’s worse than that! Far, far, worse! Charlie really has this, like, OBSESSIVE DEATH WISH! Yes! He, he WANTS to be caught, processed, put in a can, not just any can, you dig, it has to be StarKist! Suicidal brand loyalty, man, deep parable of consumer capitalism, they won’t be happy with anything less than drift-netting us all, chopping us up and stacking us on the shelves of Supermarket Amerika, and subconsciously the horrible thing is, is we WANT them to do it…’“’Saunch, wow, that’s…’“’It’s been on my mind. And another thing. Why is there Chicken of the Sea, but no Tuna of the Farm?’“’Um….’ Doc actually beginning to think about this.“’And don’t forget,’ Sauncho went on to remind him darkly, ‘that Charles Manson and the Vietcong are also named Charlie.’”Unless that made you smile (it did more than that for me), reading the book will not be a fulfilling experience. Here are some of the elements:CaliforniaDope (and a lot of Cheech & Chong type humor)Unconventional relationshipsParanoiaWild historical connectionsRifs on cultural iconsA surprising protagonistWhen Pynchon wrote The Crying of Lot 49 in the mid-sixties these elements made him the star of what was termed “post-modern” fiction. He waited almost fifty years to stir the pot with similar ingredients for Inherent Vice.Here is all you need to know about the “plot” or underlying premise of the novel: "Doc" Sportello, not a doctor (but he shares office space with a doctor), is either a constant sampler of available substances with which to get high who also spends time as a private investigator. Or he is a P.I. who happens to be a "pothead." Doc takes a careless step down a slippery slope when he agrees to look into a situation brought to him by a woman he used to shack up with. This very beautiful “ex” is now a girlfriend of real estate tycoon Mickey Wolfmann and Shasta Fay believes that his wife and her boyfriend are going to do Mickey harm.We follow Doc all over the L.A. Metro area meeting hustlers at every economic strata, musicians, surfers, housemaids, hash-slingers, fortune tellers, bikers, police, FBI, Richard Nixon, dope dealers, neo-Nazis, sex workers, Vietnam vets, etc. It is a wild ride that strains credulity unless you have latched on to a controlled-substance to aid in your ingestion.But credulity isn’t the goal. There may never have been another author who frolics in his language to the extent that Pynchon allows himself here. Multi-level references, puns, conspiracy theories, caricatures, surfer songs (that could have been) and improbable dialogue are offered for your amusement. I understand what one Goodreads friend noted with respect to Pynchon: “…was there a time when clever names weren't ultimately tiresome?” Perhaps, in most cases, but this is more like an all-in comedic Pilgrim’s Progress.And speaking of journeys, I find myself more aligned with what Gauri discerns in his review of The Crying of Lot 49: “And the plot. It does seem very random. But when you think about it more, it really isn't. Pynchon was obsessed with the idea of entropy. You see the idea throughout a lot of his writing. His understanding of the concept was essentially of a system's gradual disorder. The ending occurs the way it does because the prevalent theme is that the truth of the universe becomes more and more obscure the longer you wait or the more you search, and essentially, there is no discernible truth, whether one exists or not. This is Pynchon's philosophical statement. Literature often uses the archetype of the hero, who goes out with one goal, often fails at it, but instead comes out of the struggle with a greater understanding of the world.”For me, it is not a stretch to see Doc as a modern equivalent of Cervantes’ “Doc” Quixote. Whether the reader sees things more clearly than the protagonist isn’t the point. Pynchon leads us on an entertaining and delightful journey through a particular time and place. And, if by accident, we come upon by a truth or two…….all the better.

  • Mariel
    2019-01-25 19:30

    "Cop killer, better you than meCop killer, fuck police brutalityCop killer, I know your family's grievin'(Fuck 'em)Cop killer, but tonight we get even." Once rapped Law & Order: SVU's Ice-T.Inherent Vice is the thing inside of you that you can't avoid, your inability to resist your own self destruction. I'm gonna consider it a self medication of the void with the therapy resembling (they could be sisters) chemo that kills you as it takes care of you because while I wasn't ever a moth in the flame of drugs or drink, I have lost my life, skidded my own heels, to my own voice of escapism. I've lost time to self induced unreality, if reality is getting out of bed every day and not sleeping in your clothes. How does that story go... It probably isn't good that there's a check list of rock bottom that I could nod my head to of giving myself over to longed for unlasting highs. I could stand in the path of impending doom and not move. Inherent Vice is stepping outside of your own hell trip to watch yourself not move. You could avoid it, if you didn't kiss the boo boo away with a face altering punch. There's no some kind of poetic justice, no keeping score or even. It's turns. One character utters something similar to the "Choose life" speech from Trainspotting. Get a day job, hit the time card. Talk, talk talk (too fast) about how we all share this life. They don't share it. Look away, it's not you, this time. Look at your neighbors in the eyes. Charlie Manson and his girls have switched the lights on the calendar (probably a Far Side calendar with bits to stick on your fridge when you go in to mindlessly eat). The first time it works, the second time less, the third the ghosts are eaten by Pac-men. The days step backwards into when it worked and it is dark side on the future. Your neighbors aren't meeting your eye. Come home from the war and "the freaks" are on the streets with their grand monologues. Everyone is a haircut. Change your hair, change your life they say. No soap boxes or a bath, please. Don't meet each other's eyes. Who has time for junkies? I have a feeling that I have written about mirrors and eye-meeting in my reviews fairly often. It speaks to my loneliness in the dreams. That's the feeling I had about all of these counter cultures. When do they all touch? All of these inherent vices running around in all of these people who are running around trying not to think about what it is they are trying to cover up. No one has time for anyone else. It is after Charles Manson getting down on his knees to look you straight in the eye because you are on your knees (where your vice will inevitably tell you to go) but did anyone really have time for anyone else? Hope you still have days when it still works.Private Investigator stories have historically been my least favorite kind of story. I shouldn't say "favorite" at all because that implies any kind of preference. I actually have always really hated them. It's the posturing, the easy slide in of a rigid persona. A man's manly man. A "Hey, why not?" like if you spoke in the ill at ease slang of a few years past. Grooving in the broken record in the far out time. Hey, it's the 1960s, man. It's a Hey, why not? existence like a pick up line of they were there and that was that. I once had this boss that dropped in "Hey now, you're an all-star" pop lyrics (another time it was "Whoomp! There it is!"). The only response possible was "Please, don't". It wasn't him and it wasn't anyone. I couldn't put that period of time on any post card and wish anyone was there. I don't know this 1960s of lost hippie dream. I just thought that they weren't tied to the tracks of the war on drugs just yet. I know that Doc wanted to save Coy from the fate he won't step out of the way of for himself. Someone else tells him this. Of course someone else had to tell him this. The point isn't any of the people he meets in his career as a P.I. It isn't that Big Foot tells him he can tell the difference between being childish and child-like. It's that he can see himself not moving, that's all. The persona is kind of the point. A persona I'd do anything to avoid. Hey, why not? I hate the constant day dreaming. I wish the inherent vice wasn't there to medicate.Hey, it's the 1960s. I wonder what it would have been like to have been welcomed open arms into long hair, free love, drug trips, banana leaves. Hey, I like the Bonzo Dog Band too. Could it have really been like that? I doubt it. The girls with their asses welcomingly pointed outwards, their tiny t-shirts. One of my recent reads was William Gaddis' J R. There's a scene in Inherent Vice of discussing the finger points of a set of nudie photographs. Dream girls who feel heat. I liked the J R scene better. It felt like the difference between watching strangers and making up what you think they might be saying. It at least comes out of you, it's really your own conversation. Turn the sound down and dream. The nude girls in Inherent Vice reminded me of watching porn and feeling ridiculous over the facial expressions the tanned guy with the lily white ass makes as he pounds away into the loudly exalting girl (with a tan to match). Someone else made up the conversation for you and it wasn't a good one. Have you seen a super hot girl who goes into jail for prostitution to get drug money? She does not stay a hot girl. I kind of felt like I was in a Murakami nightmare of what a great fantasy it is to be a prostitute. I could see the Chinese pimps acupuncturing Shasta like a pin cushion. Not pretty. No one gets murdered. They don't lose their teeth or arms. I guess that's the point of look away and hope it lasts longer for your own turn before it's their turn for the high to work and YOUR turn to die or end up in prison. Oh yeah, I always hated the statuesque blonde shit in those hard-boiled noirs. Pin-ups against doorways. Smoke rings and lip stick calling cards. Cinderella's shoe could fit on any foot for how interchangeable they are to me. I liked that this P.I. Doc falls in love with everyone he meets. That would be a neat trick to manage. I'm terrified of heart break. I don't fall in love and don't linger in the pleasant feelings of crushes in case they'll lead to those hunger pains. I was envious of Doc who could be mildly lovelorn over one girl pining away for her homosexual ex con to fuck her up the ass. If only they loved me... Doc himself feels a directionless pang in his rectum for... something. It's his talent to be all possibilities and Hey, why not? to anyone that comes his way. That's the best when you can be vaguely lurid without anyone in particular in mind. No possibility of rejection. That's what I hated about these noirs of the stud that always gets the girl, though. It ruins it to get off. The ache of loneliness is no stronger than hunger before fast food. Prosecutors are all too willing to give Doc a blow job and a fuck (or two, or three). So he can affect about this girl of his dreams always wanting some other dude. His ex runs out on him on another guy. It's all spank me and sex fantasies and everyone pretending that everyone is someone else. But when everyone IS everyone else, always putting on a role? I liked Inherent Vice enough. Basically, it was okay. When I finished it I had the feeling that if I had never read it I wouldn't have missed anything. It's entertaining... It's actually pretty lonely feeling to wise crack and cover up feelings. I'm going to need a cure. I guess I didn't say anything about the humor until now. Have you seen the first episode in the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer? The one Buffy runs away to Los Angeles and the parts with Buffy are same old brilliant Buffy and the parts of her friends back in Sunnydale trying to carry on without her is a weight on your escapism cure. It's a story without its protagonist, without a driving force. Willow and Xander the sidekicks try to pun their way into vampire slayage. The punchline sound in the forest doesn't happen with the one undead and the wannabes to hear it. Inherent Vice is a lot of lives without their protagonists. The punch lines don't really make me laugh but more nod along "that's cute" like when Xander and Willow try to be smart asses. My inherent vice is sick of trying to entertain itself. Hey, what's the difference between being childish and child-like? So this guy Doc lives in this world when no one knows anyone and they all hope it's not their turn. He has this motif of that thing if you save someone's life you are responsible for it? People keep telling him that he saved their lives. No one saves Doc. What you're left with in the inherent vice. I kinda wish I could have pushed past the ironical cutesy stuff some and not wait to fall in love with the NEXT person who came along. And the next one. I know what their world looks like now. I don't mean to hate on what wasn't a bad book... but the P.I. moving throughout these groups of people... And this time and place... Well, it all happened and it was a whole lot of people happening at the same time. It hasn't changed. The feeling that I really had more than anything else was when Shasta doesn't even want to think about Coy. He's a junkie and she's trying to live the passed glory. She's trying to be a pin-up on a door that's shutting. Doc does to avoid thinking about himself. If that is what all of these people are doing... Well, it kind of annoys me to be all far out and groovy and hey, why not P.I. posturing and everyone is doing it counter culture. What is the inherent vice covering up? There's a hive mind in here some where and what happens when one of them gets sick? I had the feeling out of this entertaining book about something sick, about time past and getting even and the past and Charles Manson and the war on drugs and cops and pigs and hippies and freaks and for me it is going to be fun while it lasts. Please, no more.

  • Isaiah
    2019-02-04 15:27

    Largely ineffectual trifle that looks to be cobbled together from a combination of Wikipedia and Lester Bangs/Mickey Spillane Cliff's Notes (are either one of them still alive and using Wikipedia regularly?), this book reveals what happens when a 70 year old shut-in tries his hand at nerd schlock and instead churns out an aimless, tedious, meandering rewrite of the Big Lebowski without any of the wit. There's not a chance in hell a guy who wasn't named "Thomas Pynchon" could even get a book like this to rise beyond the Janet Evanovich crowd. Stuff like Inherent Vice was done far better by his heroes.Avoid unless your sole exposure to drug culture was Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle

  • Alexandra
    2019-02-01 17:47

    Wow dieser Schmöker war für mich richtig zäh. Doc ein Privatschnüfflerverschnitt ala Philipp Marlowe & Mike Hammer mit ein bisschen Hippie Attitüde stolpert mit einer in Eisberge gemeißelten Coolness durch ein total konfuses Universum aus Drogensüchtigen, Freaks, Rassisten und geldgeilen Verbrechern aus allen Berufs- und Bevölkerungsschichten inkl. endlosen und verwirrenden Beschreibungen der Stadt L.A. und Szenewechseln im Stakkato. Weiters konnte ich diese unzähligen, unsäglichen Musik- und Filmanspielungen, Modevokalbeln, Drogenjargon, Surfervokabular, Hippiejargon, lokale L.A. Orts-Wörter...... so gar nicht verstehen, da sie in einem derartigen Schwall auf mich einprasselten, lohnte es sich nicht mal mehr, sie zu googeln. Sie begründeten zwar eine bestimmte Stimmung im Roman, aber verstanden habe ich zur Hälfte nur Bahnhof. Ich kann aber verstehen, dass eine gewisse Community, die etwas mehr damit anfangen kann, total darauf abfährt.Aber was rege ich mich eigentlich auf? Mir wurde im Klappentext eh das versprochen, was im Endeffekt geliefert wurde: Ein psychodelischer Drogentrip in Form eines Marlowe Krimis, aber dieser Trip hört sich besser an, als er ist, ich vertrage ihn nicht so gut :D Ich hätte einfach auf Mammi und Papi hören sollen: "Hände Weg von solchen Drogen" :D .Auch die Handlung fährt mit dem Leser gleich einem schlechten Trip in konfusen Schleifen Schlitten, die Hauptfigur und der Leser stolpern ohne Sinn und Verstand durch den Plot und letztendlich ist die Auflösung des Kriminalfalls auch nicht gerade berauschend.Manchmal muss man aber dann sogar lachen, wenn sich die Sprache strotzend vor coolem Machismus einfach selbst ad absurdum führt, oder weil dem Autor dann letztendlich doch etwas Witziges eingefallen ist (so wie bei der Beschreibung der Parkplatzsituation, die mich frappant an meine derzeitige Heimatstadt Krems erinnert). Deshalb schraubte sich dieses Werk dann doch noch etwas mühsam auf einen zweiten Stern."Doc wollte gerade in seinen Wagen steigen, als eine schwarz-weiße Bullenwanne mit voller Festbeleuchtung um die Ecke gebrettert kam und neben ihm hielt.""Die freundlichste Bezeichnung, die jemals irgendwer für die Parkplatzsituation in Gordita Beach gefunden hatte, war nonlinear. Die Vorschriften änderten sich auf unvorhersehbare Weise von einem Häuserblock, oft auch von einem Parkplatz zum nächsten und waren offenbar insgeheim von teuflisch raffinierten Anarchisten ersonnen worden, die die Autofahrer so zur Raserei bringen wollten, dass sie eines Tages die Büros der Stadtverwaltung stürmen würden."Fazit: Dieses Buch ist definitiv ein Roman für jemand anderen - aber nicht für mich.

  • Solistas
    2019-01-26 21:50

    Ενα διαφορετικό βιβλιο απ´τον σπουδαιότερο συγγραφέα των τελευταίων 50 χρόνων, εδώ σε τελείως διαφορετικό είδος, πολύ κοντά στον Τσαντλερ αλλα κι τον Ελρόυ αλλα με χασικλιδικο χιούμορ που με κράτησε ξύπνιο μες την εβδομάδα αφού δεν μπορούσα να σταματήσω να διαβάζω. Ο Ντοκ Σπορτελο ("αυτό που μου λείπει σε ύψος, το διαθέτω και με το παραπάνω σε ύφος") ειναι μια νεα προσθήκη στη λίστα με του αγαπημένους μου μυθιστορηματικός ήρωες. "Βρήκε τη χαρτοσακούλα με την οποία είχε φέρει το βραδινό του στο σπιτι και άρχισε να παριστάνει ότι κρατούσε σημειώσεις, γιατι, παρ´ολη την κυριλέ εμφάνιση και το μεικαπ που υποτίθεται πως έμοιαζε σαν να μη φορά μεικάπ, ένιωθε να έρχεται εκείνη η παλιά γνώριμη στύση που, αργά ή γρήγορα, πάντοτε του προκαλούσε η Σαστα. Τελειώνει ποτέ αυτο το πράγμα; αναρωτήθηκε. Και βέβαια τελειώνει. Τελείωσε".Η καταιγιστική δράση, οι αμέτρητοι ήρωες που δημιουργεί μέσα σε δυο σελίδες αλλα κι η αναβίωση μιας πιο ανθρώπινης πλευράς των 60s (συγκριτικά με το Mad Men π.χ.) όταν πια η αθωότητα έχει χαθεί με τη δολοφονία της Τεητ απ´τον Μάνσον, ειναι το κέντρο του βιβλίου που κυλάει νερό και τελειώνει μέσα σε μια διαφορετική ομίχλη απ´αυτην που σκεπάζει τα μυαλά των ηρώων. Ώρα για την ταινία.

  • Brad
    2019-02-02 18:27

    It took me far too long to finish Inherent Vice. Half a year, maybe? It pissed me off at times because I was mostly committed to Pynchon, which meant that all other fiction but one was off the limits. It’s been a long while with minimal diversification. I am finished now, but over the course of reading Pynchon’s sprawling LA pseudo-noir, I found myself having three distinctly different responses to the book. Here is my tale of three readings. One, the First: The first couple of months of reading Inherent Vice I couldn’t shake the idea that Pynchon had written a novelized version of a web series. Each chapter, or set piece within each chapter, was its own webisode, a short burst of happenings with a main character we find ourselves caring about in bite sized easy to digest YouTube videos.And just as with a webseries, I at first found myself captivated, watching episode after episode in rapid succession until I got tired of the premise, the low production values and glibness and started drifting away to other things (which led me to cheat on Pynchon with Hardy, my one fictional dalliance during this period), until I actually abandoned the webseries for a bit, but as with every webseries I’ve ever started, I found myself back again determined to finish. Two, the Second: When my second burst of interest began and my reading picked back up, the novel as webseries analogy that had dominated my first phase gave way to Thomas Pynchon as a literary (and somehow Teflon version of) Francis Ford Coppola. I couldn’t (and still haven’t, actually) shake(n) the idea that reading Inherent Vice was like watching Coppola’s latter films like Jack and Twixt. Flashes of the old brilliance (even in the excruciating Jack) making me ache for the memory of the undeniable and sustained brilliance of his early work (Apocalypse Now, Conversation), which makes the viewing of the later work more difficult and a little melancholy. So too with Pynchon. Inherent Vice contained some of his brilliant flashes, but mostly I was longing for Crying of Lot 49 and Gravity’s Rainbow, and wishing that I could erase Doc Sportello’s wanderings from my mind forever and just glory in Slothrop and the rest. Three, the Last: By the end of the book, just a day ago, I had reached a sort of agreement with Pynchon wherein he would share his unique blend of optimistic cynicism, and I would miss Doc Sportello after all. Gone were my analogies, and all I was left with was a wish that there was more Doc out there, and that what I had of Doc had been more enjoyable. And I agreed to not regret the time spent with Inherent Vic e, even if it wasn’t my best time spent with Pynchon.

  • Mattia Ravasi
    2019-02-13 15:40

    Video-review: in my Top 20 Books I Read in 2015: marijuana-fueled trip of a detective novel that is just crazy enough to be hilarious but never tiresome. Reads like a most enjoyable (but not less clever) version of The Crying of Lot 49. Fucking beautiful - and just when you thought Postmodern silliness was dead.

  • Νίκος Βλαχάκης
    2019-02-02 19:40

    Άντεξα μέχρι τη σελίδα 201.Συγγνώμη, δεν μπορώ.Μη με μισήσεις.

  • Ned
    2019-02-01 15:47

    Sam Spade meets Hunter S. Thompson in the late 60s in L.A. Fast paced, hilarious caricatures, and snappy dialogue make this a most entertaining story. Character names alone are sufficient to make me snort with laughter. The plot line is well trod, but the local color and the accoutrements, while over the top, I must recognize as form a very lively literate mind. It wasn’t what I expected, being my first venture into Pynchon, but I suspected it was an anomaly. The cover is garish and even the “Entertainment of a High Order” advertisement from TIME seemed tongue in cheek. While a fine tale, and uniquely told, the characters were 2 dimensional, like some of the older noir of its ilk. I have a nagging suspicion this is not Pynchon’s best, and he was a bit out of his element. The pot smoking dopehead mindset was a tad clunky and contrived, almost like a dumbed-down script written by a nerdy teenager after reading about the true experience. Overall, while a fast read, it flowed like a massive improvisational jazz solo, held together by chords and sound rhythm, but in a strange and slightly jarring key (think Ornette Coleman). But the finely honed wordsmithing, visceral characterization of cityscapes/nature and superb character sketches were so particularly original; I have to give you some samples below. I’m anxious to see what the Pynchon fans have to say about this one, and to see the movie it spawned.p. 7: “In the real-estate business… few of us are strangers to moral ambiguity. But some… make Godzilla look like a conservationalist..”p. 39: “what does a dealer care? Overdoses are good for business, suddenly herds of junkies are showing up at the door, convinced if it killed somebody then it must be really good sh*t…”p. 187: “Dr. Threeply was a shifty specimen with that quality now and then observed in aluminum-siding and screen-door salesmen of once having been through something- a marriage, a criminal proceeding- traumatic enough to have tortured him permanently out of tolerance….”p. 317: “…knowing too late that Puck after years of faithful attendance at a ninja school in Boyle Heights had become a master in the technique known as False Inhaling, which allowed him to seem to be smoking the same joint as his intended victim, thus lulling Doc into thinking this number was okay when in fact it was full of enough PCP to knock over an elephant, which had no doubt been Parke-Davis’s original idea…”