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Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon
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Apr 13, 11


Published in 2009, Thomas Pynchon explores the death of the 60’s in Inherent Vice. Set in the immediate days after the capture of murder cult leader Charles Manson, Pynchon’s hero, pothead P.I. Doc Sportello, stumbles across a conspiracy that manages to include a malevolent surf band, the FBI, and a police community just dying to make any hippie pay for Manson’s crimes. The novel starts off like the kind of story Carl Hiassen would write, but this is Pynchonland, and although he is working on a smaller than usual canvas, he still packs the novel with his trademark twists and verbal acrobatics. It’s all ultimately a shaggy dog story, but not every novel has to be “the great American novel”, and from the loose vibe, it is clear that Pynchon had a lot of fun writing this. In terms of my own writing, I have an affinity for the shaggy dog story, and Inherent Vice is a great example of combining absurdist humor into a literary genre standard.
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