I have been on a Thomas Pynchon roll lately. Having just finnished "Vineland". Now I am reading "Mason & Dixon". Then it wil be on to "Gravity´s Rainbow" and "Against the Day". This man is a wonder. I don´t say I always know what´s going on. I heard especially "Gravitiy´s Rainbow" is a hard chew. But I think he is one of the most interesting and greatest writer of our time.
Absolutely, hands down, my favorite living author. I've read Gravity's Rainbow three times and I must say it's just so magnificent.
I loved Vineland and especially Mason & Dixon and how he used the ancient English language. And it was as funny as any Hope and Crosby movie I've ever seen.
I got through about a third of Against The Day and then I put it down and haven't yet had the time to go back to it. But it's right here under the coffee table where I'm writing this on my laptop.
There is a great book, A Gravity's Rainbow Companion/Sources & Contexts For Pynchon's Novel by Steven Weisenburger that can help you navigate your way though it. The last two times I read GR I read it alongside the companion and it really opened my eyes to the amount of research the author did in creating, at least in my mind, The Great American Novel.
Let me know how you're getting along with it. Truth be told, I love discussing this book. I'm sure it'll change your convictions about American fiction.
Gaddis is no slouch, either. I love 'em both. Only Pynchon a little more, because he probably smoked a little too much dope and listend to a hell of a lot of rock and roll, in his life.
One should always start with THE CRYING OF LOT 49 when tackling Pynchon, and then end with GRAVITY'S RAINBOW (and read this a few times) . . . scratch that, finish with AGAINST THE DAY, if you can. That book is just -- I won't spoil it for you -- but I didn't like it.
V. was my first Pynchon, and I struggled through it. I finished it one afternoon, decided I hated it...and started it over again that very night.
Lot 49 has a scene--the description of the movie on TV in the motel--that made me laugh as hard as I've ever laughed at a book.
I loved Vineland--"Babies of Wackiness" cracked me up.
These three are the most truly enjoyable postmodern works I've ever read, and reread. If Auster leaves you cold and Robbe-Grillet seems pretentious--well, you have good taste, AND you should give Pynchon a try.
There is an online page from an artist who has done an illustrated version of Gravity's Rainbow:
I had the same problem with AGAINST THE DAY that many seemed to have with GRAVITY'S RAINBOW; whereas RAINBOW was a fascinating and breezy read for me (well, half a year starting and stopping ), AGAINST THE DAY felt too-long (a terrible complaint, I know) and plodded along (and took me almost a full year). I didn't like AGAINST THE DAY and would never read it again, though some of it was quite great (especially the end) and the calvary of unique and interesting characters certainly held their own against my own personal disappointment.
And I do plan on buying that Dick Hill audiobook someday.