Friday, July 17, 2009
Books, we get books...
Today, Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice and William T. Vollman's Imperial, both scheduled for early August release dates, arrived in the mail, as did a colorful graphic novel of Fahrenheit 451.
The first one looks like a beachy crime thriller, a detective story, a, ahem, quick read ... a thought I should no doubt banish immediately. If my past experience (a little over half my life) with reading Pynchon tells me anything it's that everything is far more complex (not to mention more sinister) than it looks. I liked his mammoth last book, Against the Day, a multi-story chronicle set in the early 20th Century in which characters from around the globe are trying to wake from the nightmare of history, the history that is bearing down on them; they wage real and surreal battles with destiny. Some try to step out of time, and a few hardy characters actually try to get out of the book.
It's a work of genius and I've never found a simple way to talk about it.
I know nothing about Vollmann except that every book he writes is a cinderblock, and so is the new one. I have one of his books, Europe Central, and I checked out a pile of them from the library the other day. Why? I don't know. Maybe I figured staring at them would get me in the mood. I do kind of like big novels, they tend to be more involving than the average-sized book, and I suppose I should catch up on what Vollmann is all about, but that would take a year. Imperial is very long, so long that I don't want to let it linger.