Tonawanda News


September 22, 2013

BOOK NOOK: 'Inherent Vice' may whet appetite for new Pynchon offering

Tonawanda News — Excitement is building fast for famed American author Thomas Pynchon’s newest novel, “Bleeding Edge.” 

With a release date just last week, a hot-button storyline revolving around the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and conspiracy theories, and a prior catalog of internationally recognized works, it’s not hard to see why the hype for the novel is building.

At the same time, Pynchon’s last novel, “Inherent Vice,” is gaining traction too. Reports have indicated that Paul Thomas Anderson, director of “Boogie Nights,” “There Will Be Blood” and “The Master” has signed on for a film adaptation of the novel, and even has Pynchon’s blessing on the project.

Such a blessing is more rare then perhaps assumed. Pynchon is notorious for his enigmatic lifestyle, avoiding almost all media outlets, interview requests and book tours. He’s America’s latest J.D. Salinger, at least in his fame-evading approach to writing.

“Inherent Vice” was published four years ago, a mix-mash of genres throwing together the laid back vibes of California in the 1960s with the hardboiled detective pulp fiction widely popular at the same time. The story revolves around “Doc,” a private eye perhaps a bit too fond of his marijuana stash. 

“Vice” follows Doc around in his never-ending pot haze, as he struggles to pick apart a case brought to him by his ex-girlfriend. Doc seems to be always getting himself caught up in such small-fish cases that don’t end up paying, but when there’s a chance to see his high school cutie from what seems like a lifetime ago one last time, Doc bites.

“Inherent Vice” may not be a go-to novel for all mystery and detective fans, but those willing to experiment a bit with the hippie culture with which Pynchon nostalgically fills his novel should be entertained by the work’s originality in the crime/mystery field. 

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