Wednesday, January 15, 2003

OK, not a doozy of a review as promised yesterday, but still a doozy of a book. Thomas Pynchon writes two kinds of books: (a) crazy-ass paranoid books in a fun, rollicking style, and (b) crazy-ass paranoid books in an unreadable style. It turns out that Vineland falls into category (a). Through characters such as a hippie burnout, his daughter, a government goon, and a super-ninja white-chick, Pynchon tells the story of post-World War II American social history--the sex, the drugs, the TV, the music, the politics, and most emphatically the paranoia. I can't even begin to give you a digest version of what goes on here, but from the beginning to the end I was completely enraptured. In Vineland everything is a drug--drugs, of course, but also power, TV, quests, love, lust, etc. Appropriate, then, that I found it thoroughly intoxicating.

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