Jake's Reviews > V.

V. by Thomas Pynchon
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Oct 10, 2009

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bookshelves: novel
Read in October, 2009

At one point in V., one of Pynchon's characters is pontificating on his Beat Generation ennui, and decides that the best tact in life is to "Love with your mouth shut, help without breaking your ass or publicizing it; keep cool but care." Much of this novel seems to be about Pynchon's post-college struggle to find a way of living— some middle road between existential despair and the Romantic path of old. Both of the narratives involve groups of people struggling to find meaning against the backdrop of perilous moments in history. This struggle mainly manifests as endless bouts of drinking and fornicating, and ponderous pseudo-intellectual conversations about whether life is worth living.

Whether you like or hate his style, you can't deny Pynchon is a great writer. His descriptions of places, and his embodiments of characters, are the work of a singular, almost preternaturally prodigal genius. But whether by intention or mistake, he has trouble organizing his plots, and often this book seems like a heavily embroidered set of short stories hanging off a pretty thin connective narrative. If you're just out of college and struggling with the big existential questions (what kind of life is worth living? is there Destiny, or is it all chance? does anything really matter?), and you're an above average-reader with some time on your hands, you'll enjoy this book. But if you're into your middle years, you might feel like Pynchon is just trying a little bit too hard.
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message 1: by Thorne (new)

Thorne Clark Spot on. :)

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