Monday, 14 September 2009

Always Already Co-Optation

With thanks to Bram for this from Pynchon's Inherent Vice:

Was it possible, that at every gathering—concert, peace rally, love-in, be-in, and freak-in, here, up north, back East, wherever—those dark crews had been busy all along, reclaiming the music, the resistance to power, the sexual desire from epic to everyday, all they could sweep up, for the ancient forces of greed and fear? (130)

The whole thing sounds compulsory reading for Evan, since inherent vice 'is a legal tenet referring to a "hidden defect (or the very nature) of a good or property which of itself is the cause of (or contributes to) its deterioration, damage, or wastage. Such characteristics or defects make the item an unacceptable risk to a carrier or insurer. If the characteristic or defect is not visible, and if the carrier or the insurer has not been warned of it, neither of them may be liable for any claim arising solely out of the inherent vice." (Business Dictionary)

The LRB review by Thomas Jones is good as well, although the conclusion that it is not as good as Gravity's Rainbow should be a given for any new Pynchon novel by now. I hope it's more Mason & Dixon than Vineland, the latter being a nadir for me.


johneffay said...

It's more Vineland than M&D, I'm afraid; sort of Pynchon-lite. I thought it was better than Vineland, though.

That LRB review is a bit off: it is actually really easy to follow the plot and characters by Pynchon's standards, despite the fact that it is written from the point of view of a guy who is permanently stoned.

Benjamin said...

oh dear I went and bought in yesterday - awful cover...
Still P is P, and I seem to have read all his work so far, unusual for me, so I'll 'do' this one as well.

ECW said...

You know me well. Inherent vice sounds very much up my alley. The dark rotting core of 60s, the febrile heart of polished commodities, the burrowing termites of counter-revolution gnawing away at utopias...

(That said, not a huge Pynchon fan at the end of the day, so my excitement about this book was relatively low. Perhaps my tune will change: I was always a Gaddis partisan, if one had to choose.)

Unknown said...

johneffay: 'That LRB review is a bit off: it is actually really easy to follow the plot and characters by Pynchon's standards'

That LRB review: IV is 'both shorter and easier to read than any of Pynchon’s previous novels apart from The Crying of Lot 49'

So not that off, even by johneffay's standards.