This Is Your Best Shot to Finish a Pynchon Novel

Author shifts gears, has fun with a stoner detective in the '60s
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2009 1:10 PM CDT
This Is Your Best Shot to Finish a Pynchon Novel
Thomas Pynchon's latest.   (Penguin)

Thomas Pynchon's back with what appears to be his most accessible novel yet, in the unlikely category of detective fiction. Critics reviewing Inherent Vice say he pulled it off:

  • Laura Miller, Salon: It's "a sun-struck, pot-addled shaggy dog story that fuses the sulky skepticism of Raymond Chandler with the good-natured scrappiness of The Big Lebowski." The minimal structure and the genre itself provide "ample cover for Pynchon's literary weaknesses."
  • Andy Martin, Independent: "Sun-kissed, psychedelic, and sexually enhanced, Pynchon has re-embodied, re-grooved the soul of the '60s."

  • Louis Menand, the New Yorker: It's "self-consciously laid-back and funky" and "does not appear to be a Pynchonian palimpsest of semi-obscure allusions. (I could be missing something, of course. I could be missing everything.)"
  • Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times: It's Pynchon "doing Raymond Chandler through a Jim Rockford looking glass, starring Cheech Marin (or maybe Tommy Chong). What could easily be mistaken as a paean to 1960s Southern California is also a sly herald of that era's end."
(Read more Thomas Pynchon stories.)

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