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Against the Day: 900 pages of new Pynchon

A more definite followup to the very enticing news Phillip Alderman posted last week.

A coworker of mine happened across this news item online. That's actually a bit of a cheat, because she found it on Earthlink and I'm linking to CNN, but an item regarding Pynchon novels sort of deserves to be convoluted at least a little.

As the article mentions, though, details regarding the book are sketchy. All we know for sure is that it's called Against the Day, it'll run at least 900 pages, and it's due to be in shops this coming December.

Of course, this is if you disregard the mysterious blurb that was added to the book's Amazon listing and then pulled within a day. Our own Philip Alderman reproduced it here.

As I said earlier, my first instinct was that this was a hoax (the blurb...not the upcoming book)...and I have many reasons for thinking so...not the least of which is Pynchon's lifelong hesitation to communicate anything directly to his audience. But the CNN article confirms it is indeed Pynchon's own introduction...a bit too straight-faced for my liking, but that doesn't mean the book isn't going to blow me away.

In fact, now knowing that this is the plot of Against the Day, it's much easier to get excited about it. Pynchon's spanned decades in his other books without any problem, and sprawling plot is something he does extraordinarily well. Plus: 900 pages? Holy god...this is going to be incredible. Gravity's Rainbow, no lean book, tipped the scales at about 700. This may have been a long wait since Mason & Dixon (almost ten years), but the expansive setting and clear girth of the book really will make up for it.

Of course, I know that 900 pages will take a long time to I probably won't even have an opinion on the book until Februrary. A-and on top of that, with the exception of Vineland, I've never once really enjoyed a Pynchon novel the first time through. It's always, at the soonest, a second reading that really lets the humanity shine through the complexity. Gravity's Rainbow and Mason & Dixon are both arduous, difficult books to make it through once...but somehow to make it through them twice is easily...leisurely...endlessly rewarding.

I'm sure Against the Day is going to be a difficult book (how can it not be?), but if it's anything like his other five novels, it'll be worth every drop of blood.

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One page, supposedly leaked from the Penguin Publication Catalog:


By Philip J Reed, VSc
August 11, 2006 @ 3:18 am

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Click that link in my previous comment. You'll notice the "page" from Against the Day has vanished.

Was it a hoax all along? Are Pynchon's lawyers serving cease and desist orders?

It's not even mentioned there anymore. Why not an explanation of why it vanished? Surely that wouldn't hurt...r-right?

I'm going to start conspiracy-theorizing right now. There's no better way to celebrate new Pynchon than with a body-sized dose of capital-P Paranoia.

By Philip J Reed, VSc
October 13, 2006 @ 3:04 am

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