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Inherent Vice
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The legendary author of V and Gravity's Rainbow is back with a taut, psychedelic yarn, about the sixties, featuring private eye Doc Sportello...

About the Author

Thomas Pynchon is the author of V., The Crying of Lot 49, Gravity's Rainbow, Slow Learner, a collection of short stories, Vineland, Mason and Dixon and, most recently, Against the Day. He received the National Book Award for Gravity's Rainbow in 1974.

Reviews

So Doc Sportello, inveterate doper and sometime private eye, is sitting around hazy L.A. at the end of the Sixties when he gets a visit from former flame Shasta. Seems she's been seeing developer-turned-visionary Mickey Wolfmann, whose wife and boyfriend are cooking up a scheme to kidnap Wolfmann and want to cut her in. Meanwhile, black ex-con Tariq wants Doc's help in hooking up with Glen Charlock, a White Aryan he did business with behind bars, and he's pretty bummed that Channel Vista Estates, Wolfmann's latest development, has wiped out his neighborhood. Doc heads for Channel Vista, where he might have encountered Charlock had he not blacked out (it's those drugs?). Instead, Charlock winds up dead; Doc has another run-in with friendly nemesis Lt. Det. Bigfoot Bjornsen; and Wolfmann disappears. So, for that matter, does Shasta. And it gets even more complicated as Doc is off on one very weird acid trip of an investigation. Verdict With whip-smart, psychedelic-bright language, Pynchon manages to convey the Sixties-except the Sixties were never really like this. This is Pynchon's world, and it's brilliant. The resolution is as crisp as Doc is laid-back. Highly recommended.-Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Pynchon sets his new novel in and around Gordita Beach, a mythical surfside paradise named for all the things his PI hero, Larry "Doc" Sportello, loves best: nonnutritious foods, healthy babies, curvaceous femme fatales. We're in early-'70s Southern California, so Gordita Beach inevitably suggests a kind of Fat City, too, ripe for the plundering of rapacious real estate combines and ideal for Pynchon's recurring tragicomedy of America as the perfect wave that got away. It all starts with Pynchon's least conspicuous intro ever: "She came along the alley and up the back steps the way she always used to"--she being Doc's old flame Shasta, fearful for her lately conscience-afflicted tycoon boyfriend, Mickey. There follow plots, subplots and counterplots till you could plotz. Behind each damsel cowers another, even more distressed. Pulling Mr. Big's strings is always a villain even bigger. More fertile still is Pynchon's unmatched gift for finding new metaphors to embody old obsessions. Get ready for glancing excursions into maritime law, the nascent Internet, obscure surf music and Locard¿s exchange principle (on loan from criminology), plus a side trip to the lost continent of Lemuria. But there¿s a blissful, sportive magnanimity, too, a forgiveness vouchsafed to pimps, vets, cops, narcs and even developers that feels new, or newly heartfelt. Blessed with a sympathetic hero, suspenseful momentum and an endlessly suggestive setting, the novel's bones need only a touch of the screenwriter's dark chiropractic arts to render perhaps American literature's most movie-mad genius, of all things, filmable. Inherent Vice deepens Pynchon's developing California cycle, following The Crying of Lot 49 and Vineland with a shaggy-dog epic of Eden mansionized and Mansonized beyond recognition--yet never quite beyond hope. Across five decades now, he's more or less alternated these West Coast chamber pieces with his more formidable symphonies (V; Gravity's Rainbow; Mason and Dixon; Against the Day). Partisans of the latter may find this one a tad slight. Fans of the former will know it for the throwaway masterwork it is: playful as a dolphin, plaintive as whale song, unsoundably profound as the blue Pacific. (Aug.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Hilarious and thought-provoking * London Review of Books *
Brilliant and brain boggling by turns * Daily Mail *
Inherent Vice works brilliantly as both a neon-lit noir and as a psychedelic lament to the Sixties * Sunday Telegraph *
The greatest, wildest author of his generation * Guardian *
The intellectual game-play is characteristically dazzling...colourful and pleasurable * Financial Times *

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