29 February 2020

Book Review: Vineland by Thomas Pynchon

Hmm, I don't know what to think about Pynchon. I've read 5 books of his already before this one. Three of those I really liked, and gave 4 out of 5 stars. On the other hand, the other two I hated, and gave 2 out of 5 stars. I am afraid that this current book belongs to the latter. I just couldn't wrap my head around this one. Honestly, I had to look it up in Wikipedia to figure out what was happening, and even then I couldn't get it.

See, there's these people, Frenesi, Takeshi, DL, Brock Vond, and so many other characters. There's authorities chasing other characters, and because they couldn't catch these characters, they go to other characters such as the offspring or ex-partners of these characters they want to chase. There's also ninjas, there's groups of characters like Thanatoids, and there's interesting ways to execute people using death rays and magic touches, when a ninja touches someone and this someone would just suddenly drop dead one year later.

There's plenty of episodes that definitely shows the mark of Pynchon. There's his zany writing style, and I must admit, I liked the parts about the ninjas. At some point I even caught myself laughing. But that episode came and went, and once it was all gone, I was again lost. As I mentioned in my review for Gravity's Rainbow (another book I didn't like), at some point I ceased to see the point. Vineland is 384 pages long, but I do wonder whether one needed 384 pages for this.

This makes me torn: I seem to have a 50/50 likeability rate when it comes to Pynchon's books. I have loved 3 books of his and hated 3 books of his. This means that the jury is still out on him, whether I like him as an author or not. I guess I have to read another book to find out. In any case, I don't recommend this one to others. I give it 2 out of 5 stars.

See my other book reviews here.

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