Friday, 31 July 2009


My review of Thomas Pynchon's latest novel, Inherent Vice, appears in today's Spectator, you can link to it here. It is a very funny book, and one that I think looks back on how 'we', who grew up in the post-war baby-boom era, got to where we are. Pynchon's style is less popular now that it was in those heady days, when I would have easily dumped V or Gravity's Rainbow into my list of the best American novels. There has been a backlash against the pursuit of the great American novel and against 'metafictions'--and yes, the former can be overblown and the latter disappear up their own asses, but when it works it works, and there's something conservatively British about the preference for minute examination of polite society. You never have to worry about that with Pynchon, but underneath the invention and the authorial playfulness, the examination, if not minute, is far more telling than, say, all of 'dirty realism' wrapped up in one.

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