Stephanie A. Higa's Reviews > V.

V. by Thomas Pynchon
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Jun 02, 08

Recommended for: everyone who thought The Crying of Lot 49 should have been longer
Read in June, 2008

Amazing, incredible book. Amazing, incredible writer. -1 for the two chapters I didn't like and for a few other sections that dragged on a bit longer than they could have. Otherwise: wow. Just wow. I still can't believe Thomas Pynchon wrote this when he was 26 or that this is his first novel. Off the charts imagination plus really exciting language. Pynchon's sentences are sometimes convoluted beyond belief, which is why he is rather difficult to read (I say "rather" because I've had much more trouble with other books) but the word choice is so unique that it kept me reading even when I was lost with or bored by the story. But: the story is mostly great, full of great adventures like traveling, spying, stealing, cheating, loving, drinking, cross-dressing, and rollicking (my personal favorite).

This great adventure story is, like The Crying of Lot 49 (also good but V. is better), infused with great ideas. I probably missed half the great ideas, but the ones I did get really resonated with me. The study of the relationship between inanimate objects and animate beings struck me because I've thought about that a lot since the beginning of time, although not in such an organized or profound way.

Other things I liked:
* Pynchon deemphasizes coincidence even though this story seems to rely largely on crossing paths.
* There is a line about mosques making love.
* The character development is much better than that of TCL49. Benny Profane is a cute character although I can't say why exactly. Eigenvalue and Rachel are cool. Stencil is...interesting.
* Tons and tons of scientific metaphors in this book. Unlike literary metaphors, these all seemed refreshing to me (and impressive-- mention "nodes of Ranvier" and hear me squeal).
* Most of the historical sections (oh, Stencil) made me go, "OK...right...." and then suddenly something spectacular would happen and once again I would find myself terribly, terribly humbled. Similar case with the entire novel itself: it gets really good in Chapter 13. The remainder is great too, but I love 13 most.

Overall: V. makes me ashamed to call myself a writer. Ashamed, I tell you.

EDIT: I think this book has temporarily impaired my ability to read. Also I can't stop thinking about it. Also I realized the 5-star system is flawed and that while this is somewhere between a 4 and a 5 it's actually closer to a 5.
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message 1: by Rayroy (last edited Sep 25, 2011 06:25AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rayroy When Pig Bodine saves Winsome from killing himself (after Winsome goes of on the Whale Sick Crew)
on the fire escape is one of many parts i loved.


Lambert "Convoluted" - you can say that again.
Convoluted
Convoluted
Convoluted.


Marius Hancu >Overall: V. makes me ashamed to call myself a writer. Ashamed, I tell you.

You're not alone.


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