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I Am A Mean Reader

Inherent Vice - Thomas Pynchon

I'm going to be honest. I didn't finish this one, so I'm withholding a starred review.


Look, I wanted to like this novel. Really. I've given up on Pynchon before, after Mason & Dixon, and swore I'd never go back. Then someone told me about a detective novel set in a beach town during the 60's and I was turned on to the idea enough that I picked this up. The ads for the film helped give me an idea of what I was getting into, so I said hell with it, give the old boy a second chance.


Mistake on my part. Pynchon will inevitably be Pynchon.


We all have authors we love, styles that play to our interests and intellect. I'm an iceberg theory kind of guy. Pretty language can give a story depth, but more often it only clouds the narrative and makes connection with the characters impossible. That's what happened between Doc and I. I wanted to like him, I wanted to dig his story, but every time I started to get into it, huge swaths of ungodly purple prose blew in until I wanted to vomit. So you like a little obscure flowery metanarrative? Okay, cool, this might work for you. I just wanted a detective story that served as a period piece. Instead, I got a lazy, pretentious storytelling and a downer experience like bad dope. That's what I get for going back to a dealer who has burned me before.


Shame on me. Now where's my Elmore Leonard?