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Political and aesthetic disruption in Against the Day
Simon Malpas
and
Andrew Taylor

This chapter explores the impact of anarchy as a strategy for disrupting the coherencies of ideology, those of politics and of reading. Within Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day, anarchist activity is a rife, as several characters attempt to resist the inexorable march of capitalism, and anarchist violence is felt across the world. The novel combines an explicit attentiveness to spatial and temporal forms, investing in both categories as viable politicised modes of experience. Against the Day, with its self-conscious awareness of science-fiction conventions and time-travelling possibilities, offers up a challenge to linearity's dominance. Narrative digressions, pronounced shifts backwards and forwards in time and across space, and transitions into dream-worlds ensure a reading experience that is bereft of the reassurances of linear progression.

in Thomas Pynchon
Abstract only
Inherent Vice as Pynchon Lite?
Simon Malpas
and
Andrew Taylor

This chapter explores Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice in terms of the ideas, imagery, styles and themes of Pynchon's work that the authors have discussed so far. In other words, they take the idea of 'Pynchon Lite' as a starting point and assess the extent to which such an idea might help them approach Pynchon's work as a whole. After a brief introduction to the novel itself, the chapter compares it with his earlier works (V. and Gravity's Rainbow) with which it has generally been unfavourably contrasted by reviewers. Then, the chapter compares it with the other two Californian novels (The Crying of Lot 49 and Vineland) that share a number of thematic and historical concerns. Finally, the chapter compares it with his more recent novels (Mason & Dixon and Against the Day), which some reviewers seem to find wilfully obscure in comparison to his last work.

in Thomas Pynchon