So, us average readers looking for an entree into Pynchon think we finally have one. And yet, upon entering, we find that old Tom has decades of cliches and cleverness built up that he just has to get out. Not a waste of time, but hardly worth the download.
Some humorous dialogue but like...wow man....too much tripping and well. ah.... you know.... got boring after a while....never did finish it....better things to do, man. what was the plot....?
Ghost writer of over 100 unpublished works...;).
Ok, ok, I get the negative reviews. There's lots of stuff about the '60s. There's lots of talk about drugs and talking by people on drugs. If it's going to turn you off, skip this one. Comparisons with The Big Lebowski are justified, but IV’s got a lot more going on than just a spaced out protagonist.
Doc, the main character, is a Private Investigator who works a lot of free cases but manages to get by. But he's more than a cliché PI who’s a sucker for a pair of legs and a pouty lip. Pynchon neither subscribes to nor ignores cliché. He plays with it. He uses it, from blonde jokes to stoner metaphysics, as postmodern documentation of a society that would have such clichés.
It’s America and the end of an era. The Civil Rights movement has become a caricature of itself, as increasing government power and surveillance methods begin to attack Civil Rights in new ways. Is this the paranoid delusion of washed out surfer hippies, or something more? Will this ARPAnet someday grow into something all-pervasive, all-knowing?
This is no Cheech and Chong meets Bogart. It’s more Mark Twain meets Umberto Eco.
Lost worlds, secret organizations, zombies, crooked cops, biker gangs, and (of course) dentists are packaged in with the sex, drugs, and Rock ’n’ Roll.
It’s a fantastic, wonderful ride.
This book is hard to classify. You might call it a comic mystery, but I didn't find it all that funny. It does accurately reflect a certain time (late 1960's) and place (Southern California beach towns) and the business and brutal side of the drug culture. Various characters, including the PI, "Doc" Sportello, reminded me of an amalgam of "Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers," comic book characters from the early 1970's. At one point, Doc recites their favorite line: "Dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope." They had no ambition other than to smoke dope and try psychedelic drugs (other than heroin), a little like Doc. He appears to be smart but views the world through a continual marijuana haze. It gets tiresome after a while. There are too many characters and side detours, at least for me, who only listens in the car while commuting or shopping. His dialog with the "honest cop," Bigfoot Bjornsen, contrasts their different life styles and philosophies, but eventually, it too seems to grow stale. One does sense a mutual respect.
The narrator does a pretty good job handling the myriad challenges of the book, but sometimes, I couldn't distinguish a character by his/her voice. Altogether, a mixed bag.
I gather a film of the same name will be released in 2014, starring Joaquin Phoenix as "Doc." It'll no doubt be simplified and easier to understand. It'll be interesting to see whether I will like it better than the audiobook.
Actually, I would give it three and a half stars if I could here. Good interesting well-defined characters in this story, somewhat interesting story. However, there is lots of druggies, drug use here which ramble too much, ruminating on their thoughts, feelings, and that gets old half-way through, for me. The theme is the late 1960's, a private eye, his friends, the cops who hound them, a mystery about the whereabouts of an ex-girlfriend of the private eye. It was an interesting change of pace for me but not sure I could recommend it to others. I think it will probably make a better movie than book as the music, visuals and sixties sets will most-likely help.
The narrator was okay, really didn't add or detract from the story. His performance was not notable. I felt there was no advantage in listening to the audiobook over reading the book in print myself.
Typical Pynchon. Complex, darkly funny, intelligent, wonderful prose... Can't say how happy I am that this book WASN'T read by Dick Hill.
I see that he reads "Against The Day", and for that reason I will not buy that one.
For me, Hill's irritating voice and inability to keep his own interpretation of the books he reads out of his narrations is reason enough not to buy.
I loved the narrator'sability to speak in character. It was funny, dramatic wonderful. He even does a great job of singing.
The main character, Doc, was colorful, smart, funny.
I liked Doc, the gumshoe main character. What a cool guy. Knows how to fool people into thinking he's stupid while he's actually doggedly pursuing his goal.
Surprising that the pothead PI is so timely. Very enjoyable character, who at bottom is a straight arrow while accepting of every kind of person, crook or cop, in his inimitable laid-back weed-softened way.
I went into this expecting the Pynchon of V or at least Vineland, but it's really something different. I still see some Postmodern echoes -- and for me, with Pynchon, that means a sense that there is a way to make sense of everything but it's ever-changing -- but they aren't central. Instead, think of this book as Stoner Hard-Boiled. It's an almost conventional noir novel except that our protagonist is often stoned and always trying to be mellow. It may not be Pynchon at his best, but it takes enormous skill to pull this off. There are some loose ends, but that's part of the genre and it makes room for some of the classic Pynchon questions to seep in.
McLarty is great almost all of the time. His voices lend real color to the book, especially the contrast between the "Flatlander" types like BIgfoot and the stoners like Doc. There are a few places where he loses the difference, though. Doc will start to sound straight when he's conversing with someone who's an even bigger stoner. It's still great work, but McLarty does falter in some of those spots.
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies…The man who never reads lives only one.” (George R. R. Martin)
It depends...they're probably equal.
The main character, Larry "Doc" Sportello. He's similar to Lebowski if played by Matthew McConaughey.
He really got the whole vibe of the book and did a good job differentiating between the characters in the novel.
Same as the favorite character question.
The audiobooks is a fun ride. It is similar to most detective novels but with the twist being the time period in which the story takes place.