Monday, December 28, 2009

"Inherent Vice" by Thomas Pynchon

"For the fog to burn away, and for something else this time, somehow, to be there instead." This is the last sentence of the book and something that could encapsulate the whole thing. Inherent Vice is a detective story set in 1970 in LA but different from most stories like that in that the PI is a hardcore hippy and the world that he runs in is the heart of the counterculture in Los Angeles County. What Pynchon has done is to create a novel set in what was to him a much better, healthier, and happier time, one that stands for a lot of values that are somewhat lost today. Love, kindness, cooperation, things like that, along with less focus on getting ahead, more tolerance for pursuing personal truth and lots of non-addictive substance use. It's the milieu that really comes to the fore here, because the story itself has a lot of flaws and the book is much more lightweight than usual Pynchon fare. I got it on Christmas, I finished it last night after three days of non-stop reading. That usually doesn't happen with almost any book, not to mention one by Thomas Pynchon. All in all it's a good book, but I would wait till it comes out in paperback. It's also very funny and dirty, showing that the times have possibly caught up with Pynchon as opposed to the other way around.

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