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Vineland

3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,947 Ratings  ·  415 Reviews
Seventeen years after he shocked and dazzled readers with Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon returns with a novel as astonishing, as kaleidoscopic, as funny, and as satisfying as that legendary work. Vineland is peopled with a startling array of quirky characters and combines elements of daytime drama and the political thriller, resulting in a haunting evocation of 20th-cen ...more
Paperback, 385 pages
Published 1991 by Penguin USA (first published 1990)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Oriana
Oct 11, 2010 Oriana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2007, phenomenal
So when you think of Pynchon you think of serious work, right? And trudgery and difficulty and obfuscation and pedanticism, and like this dizzying thing that just makes you feel unintellectual and slow for never being able to catch up, right?

Well if that is the case, you have never read Vineland . Because oh. my. god. This book is so fucking good.

I'm not going to try to summarize or anything, because this book is too sprawling and reeling, and anyway that would be an afront to its amazingness.
...more
Bennet
Apr 04, 2013 Bennet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bennet by: Vheissu
Playlist added 4/4/2013

With this read I officially become a Pynchon fan. I have admired him for years but made it through only one other book, Inherent Vice, which I thoroughly enjoyed, enough to give it 5 stars. Vineland I just flat out love.

Story matters to me, and yes, there's a story here, a crazy-quilt kind of political, personal, cultural, criminal and fanciful bits that a couple of times almost lost me, but the language made all the difference, his way with words. A story is what makes t
...more
Madeleine
I don’t usually finish a book and start a review in the same breath. But I also don’t usually allow myself to read more than one of an author’s works within a calendar year (many books, little time, etc. -- though of course Stephen King would be this year’s other exception because the Tower, all things yield to it): T. Ruggs, you magnificant bastard, I hope you know how many personal rules I’m violating because you’re the first time since auspiciously picking up my first collection of Bukowski p ...more
Jimmy
Feb 12, 2009 Jimmy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I had a preconceived notion of what just how good Vineland would be before I read it. My opinions about the book have been influenced by numerous accounts of how weak it was. After having read everything that preceded Pynchon's fourth novel, it's still difficult for me to wholeheartedly disagree, even though I thoroughly enjoyed some parts of it. It made me laugh...but even though I wasn't an avid fan when it was published in 1990, I still couldn't help wonder why this was the book that Pynchon ...more
Kristen Shaw
Jan 03, 2011 Kristen Shaw rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gravity's Rainbow is the flashy intellectual you date for a few months before discovering his/her pretensions to be vaguely problematic long-term; Vineland (like Zoyd) is the partner you keep around for while, who cuddles you at night and makes fancy herbal tea. I'll stay friends with Gravity's Rainbow always, but Vineland hit me really hard and my allegiance is to the latter - as a more accessible, beautifully-written but nonetheless still-Deleuzian brain fuck of healthy proportions.
Suzanne
May 02, 2013 Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Suzanne by: Bennet's review
Has anyone else ever employed such loopy, labyrinthine, lovely language to tell such weird and wackily written tales? I think not.
Stian
Jan 04, 2016 Stian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, owned-books
So that's it for my third Pynchon. Coming down from a sort of high after reading Mason & Dixon about a month ago, I had pretty high expectiations going into this one.

Well, what's it all about? As usual Pynchon has a lot of sub-plots going on, characters disappearing and then coming back into the story again almost at random, and characters coming into the book but you never actually see them ever again. But in its essence it's about freedom, political repression, the tremendous failure that
...more
Rayroy
Jan 14, 2015 Rayroy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: great-and-dense

Prairie, a 14 year daughter of an old time hippie Zoyd, who up till 1984 raises her alone in a hippie retreat in Vineland County. Paririe is sent away by Zoyd, because the DEA is on his tail. Prairie runs into people of her fathers past and learns of her mother's betrayle towards her, her father and the Movement. Vineland is full of culture references from Star Wars, Godzilla, the buger king where's the beef lady ads form T.V. and countless others.
There is so much that goes on in the novel, f
...more
Vit Babenco
Sep 26, 2015 Vit Babenco rated it really liked it
Pop culture is evil and Vineland is Thomas Pynchon’s idiosyncratic attack on pop culture.
“It ain't that I don' have Hollywood connections. I know Ernie Triggerman. Yeah and Ernie's been waiting years for the big Nostalgia Wave to move along to the sixties, which according to his demographics is the best time most people from back then are ever going to have in their life — sad for them maybe, but not for the picture business. Our dream, Ernie's and mine, is to locate a legendary observer-partici
...more
Sentimental Surrealist
For as big of a fall from Pynchon's first three novels as it is, and for as massive as an improvement as follow-ups were, it's hard to really stay mad at Vineland. While V. and The Crying of Lot 49 were fine novels in their own right, they also seem to function as lead-ups to Gravity's Rainbow, far and away the peak of early-period Pynchon, and arguably all of Pynchon's career, although Mason and Dixon puts up a good challenge in that regard. After you've hit your peak, where is there to go but ...more
j. ergo
likely no review to come here as reading seems to've taken a surmounting lead, prioritistically speaking, over trying to put into words feelings about something made out of words already, & words that make my words feel like grunts. i will say this. i started vineland a few times--as pretty much most pynchon--w/o success, & over the yrs my assumptions about the follow-up, w/ 17 yrs b/w, of what i consider to be the greatest novel of the 20th century, skewed toward the heavy majority--tha ...more
Algernon
Sep 01, 2008 Algernon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Far less intimidating than his great, overwrought Gravity's Rainbow, this 1990 novel presents a zany spoof satirical thriller on the surface, with an order of Harley-riding nuns, ninjettes, Reaganaught law enforcement agencies, 1960's radicals who have been driven underground or turned informants, and their mall-seeking children.

With his trademark humor and his prose (such maddening prose, veering from beautiful and lyrical to stunted and awful) he undertakes an ambitious critique of America's p
...more
Alex
Oct 06, 2007 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As dense and meaty as Pynchon ever was. The odd references are easier to pick up, now that they refer to Godzilla and grunge punk instead of doo-wop or Baron von Ribbentrop. I'll never argue with the addition of ninjas to a work of high literature, and though the action does come packed- motorcycle rescues from campus riots, late-night blackout drug runs- the images are often watered down with that heavy, heavy prose. An example:
"As time went by, that is, he did begin to wonder. But could not
...more
sologdin
Oct 13, 2012 sologdin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A dystopian presentation, but with zombies and ninja magic, of Reagan's United States.

Follows a group of '60s new leftists and their antagonists, through use of translucent digressions, elliptical flashbacks, and abrupt changes of perspective, back and forth through several decades.

It might read as a mess at first, and therefore likely requires labor-intensive rereadings. That said, there're plenty of brilliant turns of phrase, descriptions, and scenes. Much comedy, satire, parody. Likely in the
...more
Malapata
Feb 07, 2014 Malapata rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandonado
Me rindo. Cuando te da tanta pereza coger un libro que parece que lo estás leyendo obligado es mejor decir basta. Y eso que al principio me enganchó; tengo debilidad por el humor absurdo y los personajes estrambóticos de los que está bien servida Vineland. Pero conforme avanzaba la lectura tenía cada vez la sensación de no estar yendo a ningún sitio.

Pynchon se mueve aquí en espirales que van abarcando cada vez más personajes a los que dedica unas páginas antes de pasar al siguiente, como un esp
...more
Nynke
Sep 26, 2015 Nynke rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: university
I've reread the first 50/60 pages and other bits for my essay, and as always (mostly) when I think longer about a novel I've read for uni, or I write an essay about it, the more I appreciate it.

As one of my teachers apparently uses to say, "Pynchon is better reread than read."

Damn.
3.5 stars it is then. Maybe, one day, I'll upgrade it to 4 stars.
Mike
Dec 24, 2008 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I was getting a PhD in English, I refused to read Pynchon because I thought the last thing the world needed was another book by a modernist author who trying to be more difficult than Joyce.

Then I picked up Vineland out of a bargain bin, and realized it was probably the funniest thing I had ever read. Pynchon is an incredible comic writer.
Tony
Oct 30, 2009 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: u-s-lit
First, the plot is ridiculous. Pynchon is one politically pissed-off and paranoid dude. The result is that characters act as they should not; indeed, could not. Plenty of reviewers have made the point, however, that one doesn't read Pynchon for the plot. Well, why read him?

Because the writing is brilliant. I didn't care how the story ended. After tangent after segue after tangent and another morphing tangent, who could care. You either drop Pynchon after 50 pages or you hang on for the ride. Par
...more
TheLongWait
Probably not the best Pynchon I have read, but what certainly could be my favorite. A fun romp through 80's paranoia with incredibly drawn characters and a pretty linear plot. This was my 4th Pynchon in a little over a year, and next to DFW, he is probably my favorite discovery from GR.

Vineland would be a great entry point into the world of Pynchon. It's not too heavy, but it is incredibly written and at times laugh out loud funny. And it even has a sweet ending. Tremendous fun!
Nick
Excitement!
Drama!
Action!
Violence!
Fresh fruit!
Passion!
Thrills!
Spills!
Romance!
Adventure!
All the things you can read about in this book.
Alan Chen
Pynchon with another maximalist novel that dabbles on a half dozen topics, a large dose of neuroses and a dash of magical realism. At its heart it's a government conspiracy: DEA agent Brock Vond is out to get Frenesi and anyone associated with her. The novel flashes back between the Reagan 80s and the 60s. In the 80s: Prairie (Frenesi's daugther) and her father Zoyd has fled their home after Brock stashed a metric ton of pot in their house. Prairie is in her early teens, never knew her mom, and ...more
Lucian McMahon
Jun 27, 2012 Lucian McMahon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Classic Pynchon: complexly convoluted, erratically jumping around different characters and time periods; narratives within narratives within narratives, often so labyrinthine that when he returns to the actual narrative you’ve forgotten what is actually going on.

As far as I can tell, the book is an interesting study in innocent, anarchic, childish naivete—guised in the hippy drug-euphoria of the sixties-early seventies and personified in musician-turned-ersatz-mentally-disabled-pothead Zoyd Whe
...more
Sasha Zbarskaya
Писать рецензии на не понравившиеся книги мне легко и (не)приятно, на умеренно понравившиеся - труднее, а на очень понравившиеся - почти невозможно, поскольку очень похоже на вивисекцию чего-то, что дорого живым и чирикающим. "Вайнленд" - это каминг-хоум, это Додж и Толкин одновременно, это "Властелин колец", в котором назгулы - госмрази, хиппари и их дети - хоббиты, а сама Винляндия - Шир, что размещается на территории былой славы Арнора/рок-н-ролльщиков. Саурон, тем не менее, непобедим, а лишь ...more
Francesca
Thomas Pynchon ormai è saldamente collocato nel mio personale Olimpo degli scrittori. Adoro il suo stile, il suo incrociare i piani narrativi e i punti di vista della moltitudine dei personaggi, il suo sguardo tagliente e ironico che mira a scoprire il velo dorato e ipocrita della società e dei suoi ingranaggi. Così rimango incantata dal suo far cantare il flusso di coscienza della Storia, intessendo immagini auliche ad altre decisamente realistiche, grazie anche ad un sapiente intreccio di diff ...more
Phillip
Jul 01, 2012 Phillip rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
not my favorite pynchon, this has a decent set up, and lots of tangential raving, but somehow the strands didn't connect so well to the center. there were moments of pynchon greatness, but several lulls. some have compared it to INHERENT VICE, which i much preferred - i've lived in both regions - grew up in los angeles and thought IV did a great job of capturing it, while VINELAND doesn't do as well for humboldt and the surrounding areas - the novel takes place in many places, as is common in py ...more
Dan ♫
Jan 01, 2016 Dan ♫ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ah, so happy I haven't finished all of Pynchon's novels yet. This might just be my favorite – in part because of a more familiar location (northern California), along with a unexpectedly satisfying plot. And, of course, all of the traditional Pynchon trappings that had me smiling like a maniac by page ten.
Sarah
Nov 22, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gone
Dithering between 3 and 4 stars. I think I missed a lot - whether through having missed immersion in the America of the times or whether just memory loss... but he writes so well I didn't care. The book was an an epic journey and I expect it to play on in my head for quite some time. I love the seamless movement between what might be reality and the surreal. Having read very little North American writing I don't have much to compare it with.
Francesc C A
Tan dolent que al final l'única gràcia és imaginar-se les cares del Harold Bloom llegint-lo:

Our most distinguished living writer of narrative fiction—I don’t think you would quite call him a novelist—is Thomas Pynchon, and yet that recent book Vineland was a total disaster. In fact, I cannot think of a comparable disaster in modern American fiction. To have written the great story of Byron the lightbulb in Gravity’s Rainbow, to have written The Crying of Lot 49 and then to give us this piece of
...more
Jericha
Sep 10, 2015 Jericha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Don't let anyone fool you -- this is the best Pynchon novel of 'em all.

There's a bunch of reasons, but the main thing is that this one has all the fabulous Pynchonian weirdness and wackiness, but it - pretty much alone of all his works - also coheres as a well-structured novel. The characters are wonderfully alive: it's got one of the sweetest and most real father-teenage-daughter relationships in any book I've ever read, women who are complex and behave like actual people, and character motiva
...more
Chris Michael
Apr 02, 2015 Chris Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On my edition of Vineland, the back cover says "Seventeen years after he shocked and dazzled readers with "Gravity's Rainbow", Thomas Pynchon returns with a novel as astonishing, as kaleidoscopic, as funny, and as satisfying as that legendary work."

This is, for the most part, blatantly wrong. Yep, Vineland did come out 17 years after its predecessor. That's about the only correct part of that statement.

The truth is, Vineland is pretty scant compared to the Pynchon's most well regarded work. The
...more
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Thomas Ruggles Pynchon, Jr. is an American writer based in New York City, noted for his dense and complex works of fiction. Hailing from Long Island, Pynchon spent two years in the United States Navy and earned an English degree from Cornell University. After publishing several short stories in the late 1950s and early 1960s, he began composing the novels for which he is best known today: V. (1963 ...more
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“It would all be done with keys on alphanumeric keyboards that stood for weightless, invisible chains of electronic presence or absence. If patterns of ones and zeroes were "like" patterns of human lives and deaths, if everything about an individual could be represented in a computer record by a long strings of ones and zeroes, then what kind of creature could be represented by a long string of lives and deaths? It would have to be up one level, at least -- an angel, a minor god, something in a UFO. It would take eight human lives and deaths just to form one character in this being's name -- its complete dossier might take up a considerable piece of history of the world. We are digits in God's computer, she not so much thought as hummed to herself to sort of a standard gospel tune, And the only thing we're good for, to be dead or to be living, is the only thing He sees. What we cry, what we contend for, in our world of toil and blood, it all lies beneath the notice of the hacker we call God.” 18 likes
“Easy. They just let us forget. Give us too much to process, fill up every minute, keep us distracted, it's what the Tube is for, and though it kills me to say it, it's what rock and roll is becoming - just another way to claim our attention, so that beautiful certainty we had starts to fade, and after a while they have us convinced all over again that we really are going to die. And they've got us again.” 9 likes
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