Pynchon take on the end of the 60s goes deep into the Fear and Loathing of California post Manson and the end of the Hippie dream.
Doc Sportello is a protagonist for the ages as a marijuana infused gumshoe wandering through a kidnapping case that seems to ensnare everything it its path from Lemuria to Las Vegas.
A library classic by any standard.
I saw the movie first and enjoyed it so much I got the book. I just finished listening to the audio version. In this story of late '60s stoned LA Pynchon captures the rhythms of the times. The performer brings them to life.
Seeing the movie first both helped and hindered my listening experience. I knew just how each place and person looked, but I expected the narrator to be a woman, to be Sortilege. And Coy to sound like Owen Wilson. As it was Doc, Denis, Coy, and the other stoners sounded pretty much alike.
Even so it was fun to listen to down here in the dregs of winter.
Librarian, father, fantasy fool and tech enthusiasts.
Was expecting this to be a lot harder. But this was a good fun crime story that I'we enjoyed greatly.
If you're a Pynchon fan you don't need a review as you have doubtless already read the book. Mr. Pynchon is the finest writer of the last half century. If you lived in one of the Los Angeles beach communities in the 70s you will recognize the beat, or the loss of tune, or whatever. Before disco and coke flattened sensibilities there was a groove. Or maybe I tend, like most people not lost in the greed narcotic, to romanticize. Doesn't make a difference. You can catch some vibes here. Groovy. Do English departments still suck the life out of literature. Is deconstruction still the heartbeat of the unimaginative? Well then someone else can write an essay on all of that. Meanwhile, in my third read if this I am still finding note that impressed me about this. I haven't seen the movie so I don't know how that worked out. I don't know how it could. Anyway, great read.
The story was like Ernest Hemingway meets Tom Wolfe. By that, I do not mean wistful prose. Just imagine if Hemingway substituted drinking wine for smoking pot. Boom. Inherent vice. It kept me going for most of it, but had a fairly disappointing close.
Ghost writer of over 100 unpublished works...;).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.
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.