So Far, So Pynchon
I got Thomas Pynchon's new novel, Against the Day, at lunch and read about five pages over my regular iced-tea. Very quick take: he's been reading Mark Twain. The conceit of the narrative voice is that this is the latest in a running series of books for boys, this one set on some type of an airship -- sort of like Tom Sawyer Abroad, which takes place on an air balloon, if my memory of fourth grade is to be trusted. So far, no talking dog like the one we met in Mason & Dixon, although we do meet a dog who apparently enjoys reading Henry James. Lots of idiosyncratic Pynchonesque characters among the ship's crew; maybe a Whole Sick Crew?
More to report in 1000-some pages.
There's something rather daunting about starting a new Pynchon; I always fear I'm not going to be smart enough to get it, or to really get it, that my mind won't be able to hack its way through the multiple subterranean depths. That's sometimes been the case, where you leave it feeling nothing but perplexed; on the other hand, I can't think of many novels which are as richly entertaining and inventive and beautifully strange as Mason & Dixon.
I don't want to think about how I'm going to be able to boil it down to my usual Free-Times word limit. I can see myself in a few weeks, hunched over the keyboard, deleting, rewriting, deleting, rewriting, boiling-down, paraphrasing, rewording, cursing my limits.