Tuesday, July 15, 2014

V.

1st ed. cover
V., by Thomas Pynchon

I wanted to spend part of the summer reading Thomas Pynchon's first novel, V.  This is my first full-length Pynchon venture, so I figured I might as well start at the beginning.  I cannot say that I loved it, but I will say that I plan to continue with the next novel--at least one of these days, not right away.  It was interesting sometimes, and other times not so much.  It's kind of more a guy novel, maybe.

It starts with Benny Profane, ex-Navy, who falls in with a crowd of oddballs called The Whole Sick Crew in New York, and there are random adventures.  Then there is also a fellow called Stencil who is on a life-long quest to search for V., a mysterious woman with many different personae.  Maybe.  The episodes interchange and wander all over the place and in time as well. There are fictional countries and real places--Malta figures largely--and a lot about yo-yoing and Vs, and historical episodes.  It's very strange and not the kind of thing I can describe well.

My copy is a first edition that looks like the image here.  I got it from work and we seem to have a complete collection of Pynchon; whoever was buying back then was on the ball, I guess.  The 50-year-old library jacket nearly drove me crazy, though.

For the music to match, I pick Procol Harum's Whiter Shade of Pale, which may not be entirely fair since V. was published in 1963 and this song is from 1967, and I have no idea if the two (Pynchon and Procol Harum) had any interest in each other whatsoever.  They aren't even from the same country.  BUT I always associate them in my head, because of college, and they do have the same weird surrealist thing going on.

3 comments:

Amateur Reader (Tom) said...

This song, "Eyes of a New York Woman," as performed by The Insect Trust, is actually from V.!

Honestly, there are better Insect Trust songs. Still, actually from V..

Jean said...

This one here? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NLr7XSHrgs

That's pretty neat.

Jean said...

Oh hey, you put in a link. I just couldn't see it. Sorry.