Monday, March 23, 2015

Book Review - Inherent Vice

(First edition cover with added "NYT...")
I have never read anything by Thomas Pynchon before, but seeing something about a movie for Inherent Vice coming out soon reminded me that I had that book sitting on my shelf. Since I was in the market for something to dig into next, I dug into it (Penguin Press, 2009, 369 pages).

Honestly, I had not been in a hurry to read anything by Pynchon since attempting Gravity's Rainbow back in high school. This is a long, dense, difficult piece of post-modernist fiction. While it has been hailed by some as the greatest post WW2 American novel, suffice it to say that it is not an easy read. To say the least.

Inherent Vice was different. To briefly summarize, it is a story of a drug-addled private investigator looking into a number of ultimately related events in Los Angeles at the tail end of the 1960's. It is not a difficult read (as are most of Pynchon's books), and the only distracting things are the persistent "groovy" dialect of the '60s. While correct from a period standpoint, it almost reads cartoonish.

All in all, this wasn't a bad way to spend 369 pages, but if you wanted to read a California noir period piece, you might as well read Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, et al. A worthy read but nothing special.

3.5 stars out of 5. Solid but not earth shattering.

Books this year: 6
Total pages: 2,061
New authors: 3

Next, I am partway into Peter Matthiessen's In Paradise (his final novel before his death).

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