Okay, what level of enlightenment and entertainment can we gain from a third person narrator who appears to know the generic and tradenames of every material object on the face of the earth (and isn't afraid to let it show--can anyone spell "conspicuous cognition"?), including the esoteric intricacies of the web, the Deep Web, and all associated programs, hardware, and tentacles, as well how to build, connect, sell, and abuse the components; regards American slang as precious unto priceless; knows the venture capital, surveillance, Manhattan bicycle-delivery industries inside and out; has deep familiarity with all walks of life and the totality of legal and illegal business enterprise in New York City as a whole (and parts of Jersey); enjoys giving characters anti-realistic names and organizations goofy ones (e.g., In & Out Travel Agency); places emphasis on maintaining a suspenseful plot. We've encountered this package before. What does it all add up to? Mighty wisdom? Crucial revelations about our "times"? Perhaps.
This is a story told by a brainiac (think Samuel L. Jackson's line to Vincent Vega in that early scene in Pulp Fiction where the two of them visit the twenty-somethings--"Look at the brain on William here!"). Bit on the cool side touching human emotion. But it's fun, there's no denying it.
Woden's day, August 3, 2016 @ 4:55 PM
Now when an author/narrator, whatever, is clearly working hard, or effortlessly, whatever, to give the impression s/he knows everything there is to know not only about the stylistic twirls/themes/characters/plot/etc. of the novel in hand, but the world in general, including any number of useless foreign languages, whether from innate genius or exhaustive, mind-numbing research in specialty libraries or out-of-control intellectual curiosity, whatever, in an effort not so much to impress the reader but to establish their authority as, if this term can be used, storyteller, this can boomerang because it is a given there are readers for whom this tactic is def a springloaded mockery trigger. The Egghead Resistance Front will tear a narrator like this to pieces, in no time, with the joy of a pack of wild dogs attacking a haystack-size pile of t-bone steaks. Mighty Sir Pynchon places an enormous bet on specificity. It matters to him--no need to say this is a pathological compulsion--to give the precise specific technical specialist's term for every material object in his fictional "world" and he did not start doing this yesterday.
Some readers will be impressed. Others will feel inadequate, uncomfortable, vow to become more knowledgeable. Others will cry "pretentious!" Others will yawn, start to skim.
Moon day, August 29, 2016 @ 4:24 PM
On the plus side of the ledger, our incomparable literary titan, in teaching us the name of every other material object and business activity on the face of the earth, displays a zest for the world, and for his work, that is contagious and energizing. He is in no way bored or depressed, and someone like that is good to be around. He puts a spirit of fun in the air with all the slang. Must be a guy who likes to party, maybe, who knows?, his longtime and strict, not to say paranoid, avoidance of the public eye, or congenital shyness (?), or calculated self-sequestering in the interest of enfolding himself in "glamour" à la your run of the mill movie star, leaving us in doubt as to what's up with him, like Salinger, and Shakespeare, a.k.a. the Ninth (?) Earl of Oxford, maybe, who knows?
On the negative side of the ledger, the relentless lust of our Massive Artistic Intellect to know all there is to know, the schoolboy yearning for omniscience, puts a certain inhuman cerebral something in the air one can't seem to put a word to at the moment. Artificiality? Unreality? Coldness? I mean who walks around silently naming virtually everything they see, or even knowing the names? The reader experiences a stylized reality, not the reality she lives in; which is not the worst thing that can happen to a person.
Though I actually think I'm going to finish this novel, it's the fun factor, I can't deny it.
Thor's day, September 1, 2016 @ 9:25 AM
And the sexual encounter between protag Maxine, a disbarred Manhattan fraud investigator and mother of two (or three?), and minor character Windust on the floor of a slum apartment near Hell's Kitchen, with wild dogs in the basement that roam the building's halls at night, is wholly lacking in eroticism, except for Maxine's squeak at the end, which typifies Pynchon's lack of humanity, so I think I'm actually going to drop this thing, it's mass confusion, more characters than one can keep track of without taking notes, subplots metastazing to all points of the compass, the cold and repugnant atmosphere of compulsive rationality, rationality out of control, in which human feeling suffocates as if wombed in a cloud of nerve gas. Basta. It was fun for a while, but I've had enough.
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