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3.67  ·  Rating details ·  8,186 Ratings  ·  514 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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Vineland is downplayed by Pynchon fans and completely ignored by curious newbies, who tend to pass over it in favour either of the big-game status of one of his doorstop meganovels, or of the appealing slenderness of The Crying of Lot 49. Shame. All his gifts and his mysteries are on display here, wrapped up in one of his most enjoyable, inexplicable, and lushly all-enveloping plots. Rereading it now, I’m more convinced than ever that it’s terribly underrated.

The essential storyline, if there is
Mar 18, 2007 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.
Steven  Godin
Apr 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, american
This is without a doubt one of the most insane books ever written, even by Pynchon's standards this is something else, the characters are bonkers, the story if you could call it that is nuts!, not a lot makes sense, the writing feels schizophrenic, there are moments that could have come from things such as, James Bond, Tarantino, Asian ninja flicks, cartoons, the hippie movement, 80's action B-movies, spirituality and a whole lot more. The one thing that's in it's favour is the fact it was just ...more
Ian "Marvin" Graye
Feb 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nathan Redman
If Three Should Be Five

I first read “Vineland” some time in the 90’s. Based on an imperfect recollection of it, I rated it three stars when I joined GoodReads. I’ve raised my rating to five stars, partly because of how much fun I had reading it a second time.

I can’t think of a better novel to read between now and when we emerge safely into the Post-Trump era.

Reprise and Foreshadow

“Vineland” reprises the longing and quest for an absent woman that was at the heart of “V” (in this case, the daug
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: all-american
è come provare, leggendo, l’effetto di una sbornia di tetris (nella vita 1 fui nel tunnel, so di cosa parlo). ci sono un mucchio di forme colorate che piovono dall’alto, e istintivamente cerchi di far quadrare tutto: nuovi personaggi, riferimenti, sottoplot, collegamenti.
solo che a differenza del giochetto inventato dai russi, mano a mano che procedi, a galvanizzarti non è il meccanismo di gratificazione-da-illusione-di-controllo che gli psicologi chiamano effetto zeigarnik (e chi fosse il signo
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
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Καθώς διάβαζα άλλο ένα απίθανο βιβλίο του Pynchon αυτό που είχα συνέχεια στο μυαλό μου ήταν τι εντύπωση θα μου έκανε αν το διάβαζα σε real time, το 1990, ως το βιβλίο που κυκλοφόρησε ο συγγραφέας μετά από 17 χρόνια σιωπής που ακολούθησαν το αξεπέραστο Ουράνιο Τόξο. Αυτό βέβαια δεν είναι κάτι άλλο από απλή λογοτεχνική άσκηση, γιατί το Vineland αν κ μάλλον είναι το βιβλίο του που με συγκίνησε περισσότερο (είμαι στα μισά της βιβλιογραφίας του βέβαια), ταυτόχρονα είναι ξεκάθαρο ότι δεν φθάνει τα ύψη ...more
Michael Finocchiaro
While not for me his strongest book, Vineland shows very Pychonian characters trying to work out their relationships to each other. There is even a big Hollywood style ending (probably a pastiche/parody) to the story. I found that the backdrop was less the chaos and anarchy that I appreciated in Gravity's Rainbow, Mason&Dixon and Against the Day and so I appreciated this one less than those. I would put it low in the Pychon canon but still suggest that it is worth reading for his insights in ...more
Kristen Shaw
Dec 16, 2010 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.
Oct 23, 2008 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
Mattia Ravasi
Oct 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Unjustly considered a happy-go-lucky slapstick comedy of a novel, Vineland is in fact quite dark and bitter in its potrait of what went wrong with the 60s. There's humor, sure, but lots of capital E Evil too. A novel of ideas more than character, more I think than any other Pynchon's, it might work well as a starting point for those looking to pop their Pynchon cherry, although I still believe Inherent Vice works better.
Aug 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
«Watch the paranoia, please!»

This was my third go at trying to gradually voyage through Pynchon's oeuvre, having read Lot 49 and Inherent Vice before. Based on the immediate impression, Vineland is probably my least favorite of the three, but that's not to say there aren't countless diamonds hidden along the pages of this book. The story is set in Northern California in 1984, in the midst of the Reagan era, and is largely an elegy for the late 60s countercultural movement. We follow numerous cha
Aiden Heavilin
Mar 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

In, "Against the Day", Pynchon describes "prophesiers who had seen America as it might be in visions America's wardens could not tolerate," and Vineland is one of these visions. In luscious, lyrical beauty, this novel lays out Pynchon's idealistic portrait of what America might have been, and then explores how this vision was subverted, the weaknesses in this vision that always existed, to be exploited by governments and corporations, denied and destroyed. To me, Vineland is both the most hopefu
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
Apr 01, 2013 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.
Daniel Chaikin
60. Vineland by Thomas Pynchon
Published: 1990
format: 385 page paperback
acquired: 2007 from the annual Houston Public Library book sale
read: Sep 9-23
rating: 3 stars

Back when I bought this I had only a vague idea of who Pynchon was. I was excited to get this book, then disappointed to learn that no one actually likes it. (That's an exaggeration. There is a nice review here) But, I'm reading all of Pynchon (maybe) and this was next. And, I was intrigued that this was Pynchon's first new work in 1
Dec 30, 2013 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
May 11, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, american-lit
'Vineland' is a singular novel, the first by Pynchon that I've read. (I had a try with 'Against the Day' years ago, but couldn't get into it before the library wanted it back.) The paranoia and drug-taking reminded me of Phillip K Dick's 'A Scanner Darkly', with the atmosphere and character focus of Don DeLillo's 'White Noise'. The writing style is distinctive, though, with rambling paragraph-sentences constantly sliding into lists. Each chapter seems to end in a sort of prose poem. For this rea ...more
Vit Babenco
Apr 10, 2013 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
May 04, 2013 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
Sep 01, 2008 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
Oct 24, 2009 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
Dec 24, 2008 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.
I read this when it first came out and I have to say I enjoyed it even more the second time through!

Will write more later, but I will say, a good read to contrast with our new world of internet espionage.
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
George K.
Jan 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 20th-century
Τι να πω γι'αυτό το βιβλίο; Ένα "γεμάτο" βιβλίο, με χίπηδες, ναρκωτικά, ροκ εν ρολ, σκληρή ροκ, acid ροκ, γενικά ροκ, σεξ, Θανατόιντ, μυστικούς πράκτορες, μυστικά κυβερνητικά σχέδια, γυναίκες νίντζα με θανατηφόρα κόλπα, μανιακούς, τα πάντα! Τρελοί χαρακτήρες, τρελή πλοκή, με πολλά flashbacks κατά τη διάρκεια όλου του βιβλίου και χωρίς προειδοποίηση, αν δεν προσέχεις λίγο, μπορεί να μην καταλάβεις τίποτα, το σίγουρο, όμως, είναι ότι μερικά πράγματα δεν θα τα καταλάβεις έτσι και αλλιώς, οπότε το θ ...more
Kurt Reichenbaugh
Vineland is Pynchon somewhere between the grandiose chaos of Gravity's Rainbow and the loopiness of Inherent Vice. The connection is Gordita Beach, where Doc Sportello himself probably caught a few gigs of The Corvairs with Shasta Fay at his side. Mucho Maas from The Crying of Lot 49 makes a cameo as well. I think that V. had a guy jumping through plate-glass window for kicks but I can't be sure. I can't be sure of anything anymore...

There is a lot in Vineland to admire. The plot is Pynchonesqu
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!
Aug 11, 2015 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."

3.5 stars it is then. Maybe, one day, I'll upgrade it to 4 stars.
Nov 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uni, on-my-shelf
the only thing i’m looking to get from the lectures about this thing is understanding
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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.” 19 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.” 12 likes
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