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Habeas Blogus

Book reviews, more for my memory than anything else.

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Location: Austin, Texas, United States

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Crying of Lot 49, by Thomas Pynchon

Started 6/12, Finished 6/17

I'll be frank, I missed a lot here. Sure, I followed the plot, "got" the puns with the characters' names, and I understood a lot of the pop culture references. What I did not "get" was the subtext. I didn't get it, I didn't get it, I didn't get it (when was the last time Harold Bloom said that?) I tried. I read reviews on various sites, I read the wikipedia entries on Pynchon, on the book itself, and some of the other things he referenced. Still, I couldn't figure out what the big idea was. Yeah, I feel pretty dumb. And this is supposed to be his most accessible book? Somehow I fear the day I end up reading about the erection-inducing-rockets.

So instead of praising what was evidently a very important Literary Event in my young life, I'll just talk about Pynchon and what an interesting fellow he is. I'll pick this one up again once I've learned more about life in the 60s, Southern California, the history of the postal system, and Jacobean revenge plays. It's not a hard read for the words, just why they belong in this particular order.

Legends abound about him, the recluse, the revolutionary-cum-counter-revolutionary. I say leave the man the hell alone. Just trying to go fact-diving for him, I dug up with a great quote from wikipedia:

"[Thomas Pynchon] simply chooses not to be a public figure, an attitude that resonates on a frequency so out of phase with that of the prevailing culture that if Pynchon and Paris Hilton were ever to meet—the circumstances, I admit, are beyond imagining—the resulting matter/antimatter explosion would vaporize everything from here to Tau Ceti IV." (Salm 2004)
Sounds about right. People act as though they have a right to his story and his life when they should just acknowledge that he's given us all he wants us to have.

Wish I had more on this one.

Book #18 will be Midnight's Children, by Salman Rushdie

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