The novel is a detective story, with its major themes being the September 11 attacks in New York City and the transformation of the world by the Internet. The often surreal and dream-like plot of the novel opens on the first day of spring , with Maxine Tarnow walking her two sons to school before going to work. Maxine, ex certified fraud examiner , is approached by Reg Despard regarding suspicious goings-on at hashslingrz, a computer security firm run by Gabriel Ice. She finds much of their financial numbers fail basic plausibility statistics, and notices large payments going to a now defunct website.
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Yet his slippery insouciance, his relentless japery, risk being tonally at odds with the subject. She threads among the daily bunches of flowers on the sidewalk, which will be cleared in a while. The list of firefighters here who were lost on 11 September is kept back someplace more intimate, out of the public face, anybody wants to see it they can ask, but sometimes it shows more respect not to put such things out on a billboard.
What makes these guys choose to go in, work hour shifts and then keep working, keep throwing themselves into those shaky ruins, torching through steel, bringing people to safety, recovering parts of others, ending up sick, beat up by nightmares, disrespected, dead?
Thomas Pynchon, meet Pete Hamill? Not so fast. In fact, the awful day is delayed for more than pages, by which time the two airliners crash not only into the twin towers but into an exemplary Pynchon shaggy-dog novel in full effect.
This one, featuring earth notes of Bret Easton Ellis and William Gibson, concerns the diversion of funds, by the shambolic white-collar outlaw Lester Traipse, from a hot Internet start-up called hashslingrz to a fiber brokerage called Darklinear Solutions, under the knowing eye of the corrupt dot-com entrepreneur Gabriel Ice. These figures move among dozens, in a conspiracy typically dazzling and ludicrous, as well as impossible and maybe unimportant to confidently trace.
Like Philip Marlowe, Maxine plunges into dive bars armed with nothing but her wits — except Marlowe never stripped for a pole dance to surveil customers from the vantage of the stage.
Pynchon has consistently invoked these sorts of quasi-mystical vales of yearning: spaces outside space, and times outside time. DeepArcher is his latest bardo. But wait. In fact none of us do, for figuring out what it is like to read Pynchon is what it is like to read Pynchon. One could study it forever. Motifs bleed off the edge of one Pynchon canvas onto the next.
Sure, nobody wants to be the P. He spoils us with descriptive flights. Everything changes. The traffic noise gets liquefied. Reflections from the street into the windows of city buses fill the bus interiors with unreadable 3-D images, as surface unaccountably transforms to volume.
Average pushy Manhattan schmucks crowding the sidewalks also pick up some depth, some purpose — they smile, they slow down, even with a cellular phone stuck in their ear they are more apt to be singing to somebody than yakking. Some are observed taking houseplants for walks in the rain. Even the lightest umbrella-to-umbrella contact can be erotic.
This time out, Pynchon may be pursuing a small clarification in his historical pageant of conspiracy. While everyday paranoiacs believe the worst questions have monstrously simple answers, paranoid art knows the more terrifying and inevitable discoveries are further questions.
Paranoid art traffics in interpretation, and beckons interpretation from its audience; it distrusts even itself, and so becomes the urgent opposite of complacent art.
The rolling frontier or bleeding edge of this collapse is where we persistently and helplessly live. For Pynchon, history is a nightmare within which we must become lucid dreamers. Thomas Pynchon is 76, and his refusal to develop a late style is practically infuriating.
Pynchon depicts the world as he sees it, riddled by the depredations of greed, conspiracy and intolerance, of entropies both human-engineered and cosmically imposed. But his novels take the form of the world as he wishes it, hence their mighty powers of consolation.
The freedoms and duties Pynchon assigns himself are those he desires on our behalf — lasciviousness, punning inanity, attention to the routinely sublime but also to the inevitability of suffering, love for the underdog and a home in our hearts for the dead. It requires years of pain, hard labor and loss, and there is no redemption — of, or from, anything.
I believe he has a masterpiece or three in him. Book Review Pynchonopolis. Home Page World U.
In work spanning six decades, Thomas Pynchon has depicted a plural world reduced to mechanization, automation, and control. In doing so he has done more than any American author to reveal to readers the posthuman future. It does so by examining how Pynchon concludes his works. This move from noise to clarity is a move from spiritualism to spirituality. Even though possibilities are diminishing, and the end seems near, there remains the opportunity for communion, shared vulnerability, family, and friendship.
Yet his slippery insouciance, his relentless japery, risk being tonally at odds with the subject. She threads among the daily bunches of flowers on the sidewalk, which will be cleared in a while. The list of firefighters here who were lost on 11 September is kept back someplace more intimate, out of the public face, anybody wants to see it they can ask, but sometimes it shows more respect not to put such things out on a billboard. What makes these guys choose to go in, work hour shifts and then keep working, keep throwing themselves into those shaky ruins, torching through steel, bringing people to safety, recovering parts of others, ending up sick, beat up by nightmares, disrespected, dead? Thomas Pynchon, meet Pete Hamill? Not so fast.
Though likely you have heard the rumors: He was the Unabomber; he was CIA; he wrote ornery letters to the editor at a small-town newspaper in character as a bag lady. Salinger had written all the novels. Tom is quite a writer. Batchelor and Pynchon probably know each other by now though neither has answered interview requests. But their first point of contact was a note Pynchon wrote in response to that original article, postmarked from Malibu and written, curiously, on MGM stationery.