Sep 05, 10
Read in September, 2010
A really dense book that I didn't understand. There were times when I felt as if I was on the verge of understanding, of finding some underlying connection between all the disparate characters and situations (much like the characters searching for the meaning of the sferics and tunnels and Vheissu) - but then I lost it again. Perhaps it doesn't mean anything at all, and perhaps that feeling of "I'm perpetually on the verge of understanding, of finding some greater connection or truth" is exactly what Pynchon was trying to evoke in his recreation of 20th century civilization.
It's alternately quite fun and quite a slog. Pynchon is a really great prose stylist, and he creates many memorable passages and scenes - some beautiful, some funny, and some, like the graphic descriptions of rhinoplasty or of the Herero genocide, that I wouldn't mind forgetting.
I would like to read something else by Pynchon, to see if perhaps more exposure to his style and his other novels might offer some clues on how to interpret this one. "Gravity's Rainbow" has always intrigued me - but like "Ulysses" and a number of other books that are often placed in that "rewarding and beautiful but exceptionally difficult" category, I feel that I might be better off waiting another ten years before trying.