V.

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Thomas Ruggles Pynchon, Jr is an American writer based in New York City, noted for his dense and complex works of fiction Hailing from Long Island, Pynchon spent two years in the United States Navy and earned an English degree from Cornell University After publishing several short stories in the late 1950s and early 1960s, he began composing the novels for which he is best known today V.

❰EPUB❯ ✻ V. Author Thomas Pynchon – Online-strattera-atomoxetine.info
  • Paperback
  • 547 pages
  • V.
  • Thomas Pynchon
  • English
  • 13 October 2019
  • 9780060930219

10 thoughts on “V.

  1. says:

    How Hard Can It Possibly Be V isn t so much a difficult novel to read it is after all just words, most of which are familiar as one in which it is sometimes hard to understand what is going on and why What does it mean Does it have to mean anything How does it all connect Ironically, if not intentionally, the inability to determine what and why, as well as who, is part of its design Pynchon mightn t want to answer all the questions he or life asks.However, that doesn t mean there isn t a lot of food for thought in the novel.Pynchon actually tells us a lot all of the time Like Ulysses , there are lots of hints and clues and allusions, and it s easy to miss them, if you re not paying attention to the flow of the novel and taking it all in It s definitely a work that benefits from multiple readings.Characters Both Sacred and Profane V starts with one of two protagonists, the schlemiel Benny Profane, on Christmas Eve, 1955 On the anniversary of the sacred day upon which a Virgin, Mary, gave birth to Christ and thus started what would become Christianity, both Catholic and Protestant , Profane is wearing black levis, a suede jacket, sneakers and a big cowboy hat, a sort of bohemian uniform at the time.He drops into the Sailors Arms, which welcomes sailors from the tempestuous sea onto solid ground For them, it s a dream come true, where the barmaids all love to screw and remind you that every day is Christmas Eve.This tavern is a haven and safe harbour The big breasted women here provide comfort and succour to men, something we can easily get used to and take for granted.A Form Guide to StencilSixty pages later, Pynchon introduces us to the second protagonist, Herbert Stencil, a man who refers to himself in the third person, which allows him to create a repertoire of bad faith or inauthentic identities or Sartrean impersonations He has no one solid persona, but somehow the ability to think of himself as and be not just the third person, but a first, a second, a fourth and a fifth permits him to function reasonably adequately if not always normally for a male, and so the multiple personalities keep Stencil in his place.When we meet him, however, his place is not static, it s dynamic He is on a single minded quest to find evidence of a woman named V who he believes once knew his deceased father As spread thighs are to the libertine, flights of migratory birds to the ornithologist, the working part of his tool bit to the production machinist, so was the letter V to young Stencil He would dream perhaps once a week that it had all been a dream, and that now he d awakened to discover the pursuit of V was merely a scholarly quest after all, an adventure of the mind, in the tradition of The Golden Bough or The White Goddess With these V shaped analogies and the allusion to these non fiction works is V itself just such a scholarly quest , Pynchon gives us some insights into the myth and mystery and significance of V.The next paragraph gives us even clues as to the nature of the pursuit or quest in general But soon enough he d wake up the second, real time, to make again the tiresome discovery that it hadn t really ever stopped being the same simple minded, literal pursuit V ambiguously a beast of venery, chased like the hart, hind or hare, chased like an obsolete, or bizarre, or forbidden form of sexual delight And clownish Stencil capering along behind her, bells ajingle, waving a wooden, toy oxgoad For no one s amusement but his own In Pynchon s next novel, The Crying of Lot 49 , a woman, Oedipa Maas, would be the subject in and of the quest She would be the one doing the detective work Here, a male is the subject and a woman is the object of the quest or pursuit.While both Oedipa and Stencil take their quests seriously, they meet with mixed success perhaps a hallmark of a post modern fiction However, Pynchon seems to venerate Oedipa highly For all his earnestness, profundity and third person pretension, Stencil is a clown or a fool to match Profane s picaresque schlemiel A Beast of Venery We all know the word venereal , but how often do we see its root, venery which means sexual indulgence or the pursuit of or hunt for sexual activity The quest for man, if not necessarily for Stencil, is a quest for sexual pleasure, for sexual delight, for the sexual conquest of woman.Stencil is looking for one woman However, because she is of his father s generation and vintage, you have to ask whether in reality he is trying potentially on behalf of all men to understand the mystery of sexual attraction, the mystery of womanhood and the place of women in society and, if only from a male perspective, the role of woman in a man s life The Birth of VenusFrom an etymological perspective, the word venery derives from the Latin veneris , which in turn derives from the Roman god of love and sex, Venus, who in turn was modelled on the Greek god, Aphrodite.The connotation of pursuit is thought to come from the resemblance of the word to the Latin venari , which means to hunt.Not coincidentally, the Botticelli painting The Birth of Venus features in the novel.According to Robert Graves, Venus was also adapted from the pagan sea goddess, Marian, who was often disguised as a merry maid or mermaid Suffice it to say, this Venus rose from the sea, hence the shell in the painting.If we go back further in time, we meet another goddess Astarte, whom the Egyptians worshipped as a goddess of war and tenacity, while the Semites worshipped her as a goddess of love and fertility The Greeks would later adapt Astarte as the basis of Aphrodite on the way to the Latin Venus It is also linked to the goddesses and names Astoreth, Ishtar and Esther.Esther is the name of a character in the novel, partly Jewish, she gets a nose job in an attempt by her plastic surgeon who wishes to make her look Irish , while a model of Astarte is the figurehead of the xebec or sailing ship upon which Stencil s father Sidney died in the Mediterranean off Malta in 1919 In a way, Sidney s death might be a return to the embrace of Venus after all, she was a V and the great unknown of the ocean Opposing ProtagonistsProfane and Stencil inevitably meet each other over the course of the novel and collaborate in Stencil s quest as it moves from Manhattan to Malta.They approach life and womanhood in contrasting ways.Here s a summary of Profane Aimless, directionless, concerned with the present, existential, free style, random, improvisatory, profane, superficial, interested in the surface, physical, decadent, irrational.And Stencil Motivated, purposeful, concerned with the past, in pursuit of understanding and meaning, structured, organised, profound, interested in depth, metaphysical, civilised, rational.Despite their differences, they join together in Stencil s quest What they share, obviously, is their manhood, the fact that they are men in a patriarchal society Whatever their differences as men, they are on the inside, whereas women, in contrast, are on the outside, subjugated, unable to exercise political power or social influence, whatever other means of persuasion they might have at their disposal Not Who, But What Stencil s quest starts when he inherits a journal in which his father wrote the following cryptic note There is behind and inside V than any of us had suspected Not who, but what what is she God grant that I may never be called upon to write the answer, either here or in any official report There is a suggestion that Young Stencil is trying to find his own identity in V He was raised motherless, having been born in 1901, which we are also told was the year Victoria died.Stencil, speaking in the third person, says You ll ask next if he believes her to be his mother The question is ridiculous But does it mean the answer is ridiculous Does it mean we shouldn t ask the question Are Stencil and Pynchon simply steering us away from the obvious or the possible Is Pynchon suggesting that fiction at least post modern fiction need not be obliged to offer up answers, that not every quest leads to its Holy Grail I don t think I m giving anything away when I say that there s not just one V, but potentially many Or at least, Young Stencil finds clues as to the existence of many candidates.Does it make any difference though Does it matter who this particular woman, this V., is Does the identity of any individual V matter, when it is the what , the abstraction of woman that Stencil might be seeking Is he, like us, simply trying to understand womanhood in all of its complexity Animation and AgitationWhatever the answer, Stencil s quest animates and energises him Beforehand, he had been inanimate His random movements before the war had given way to a great single movement from inertness to if not vitality, then at least activity Work, the chaseit was V he hunted Finding her what then Only that what love there was to Stencil had become directed entirely inward, toward this acquired sense of animatenessto sustain it he had to hunt V but if he should find her, where else would there be to go but back into half consciousness He tried not to think, therefore, about any end to the search Approach and avoid Sidney, on the other hand, was a spy and interrogator for the British Foreign Office whose function was to perpetuate the British Empire He regarded V as a threat to order He viewed her as an agent of chaos who, in her different manifestations, always arrived at a time when the world was in a state of siege She had an unerring ability to appear when the patriarchal world of Western Imperialism was under threat, whether by civil war, rebellion or revolution.In a way, V represents an undivided, less phallocentrically structured world that unites the stability of land and the fluidity of the ocean, as well as Europe and Asia, West and East, Woman and Man.At a generalised level, V might represent the relationship between the Animate and the Inanimate, between Life and Death, between Eros and Thanatos.The Woman QuestionIt s interesting that neither Stencil really wants to find a definitive answer to their particular woman question They are males, and they can t see beyond an era during which men are firmly ensconced in the saddle of power and influence.There is no preparedness to share power or to improve relationships between the sexes.The nature of womanhood is therefore a question that remains unsolved at the end of the novel Women remain a mystery to men, perhaps because they men don t try hard enough or don t really want to understand They are unable to change their own perspective, so that they might listen and learn They are content to live with the allure of mystery.In a way, what hope would there be for relationships if all of the mystery was obliterated As Profane says towards the end of the novel Offhand I d say I haven t learned a goddamn thing In a way, the unresolved concerns of the novel, from a male point of view, reflect Freud s plight The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is What does a woman want What is to be Done Both protagonists are selfish in their own masculine way Profane seems to be oblivious to the issue of what women might want Young Stencil is ambivalent However, at least Pynchon is posing a question, which I hope he did not view as ridiculous.Ultimately, while it s arguable that V is a pro feminist novel, I think Pynchon s view was that, as at the time of writing in 1963, there was no solution to the relationship question in view There was, quite simply, to be done Perhaps the underlying truth is that, unless and until man understands the place of woman in the world, he will never understand his place next to woman.Some perspective and hope might come from McClintic Sphere, the jazz musician in the novel His counsel, almost zen or beat, is to keep cool, but care Don t worry too hard about it, just do it But try to do it with love, not just lust and desire.Of course, the Women s Liberation Movement was only then starting to gather force However, for all the good it has achieved since then, I think there still remains much to be done.Maybe at the level of couples it can be done, if we keep cool, but care.VERSE Esther Got a Nose JobAfter years of childhood misery,Red headed Esther got a nose job.One day the doctor removed her humpAnd returned it to her in a bottle.He thought it was such a great success,He gave her another hump for free.Pig s StoryTask force offGibraltarMoving forwardEn route To MaltaOn tar colouredMediterraneanWaters underStars bloomingFat and sultry.The sort of nightWhen there s noTorpedoesOn the radarAnd Pig tellsUs all a storyAbout how he was Never caughtBehind the green doorThe night DoloresHeld an orgy.Nothing if Not ProfaneThey met mid functionAt the Rusty Spoon.Although she s nowhereNear his age or size,He dreamed that he mightFind himself one nightAt the conjunctionOf her inner thighs.Voila, Vera Meroving After and Mostly in the Words of Pynchon Twin tendrils of sunlightIlluminated a crimson stainIn the courtyard of the Baroque plantation villa.A window swung openOn this fantastic dayTo reveal a striking woman In her forties, and otherwise, Barely clad, in a negligee,The hues of which werePeacock greens and blues,The fabric transparent,But not especially obscene.One Kurt Mondaugen,A crouching tiger, hid behindWrought iron curlicues, Astonished by his desireTo see and not be seen.If he waited long enough,A movement of the sun,This woman or the breeze,It might reveal to him,A voyeur, yes, it might rewardHis impatient gaze, his stare,With a glimpse of nipple,Her navel or some pubic hair.For Want of Godolphin After and Mostly in the Words of Pynchon Vera wanted GodolphinFor reasons he Could only guess.Her desire arose Out of nostalgia For the sensuous,Her appetiteKnew nothing at allOf nerves or heat,Or flesh or sweat,Or last night s caress,But was instead beholden Entirely to barren,Touchless memory Schoenmaker Offers to Make Esther Beautiful After and Mostly in the Words of Pynchon You are beautiful,Perhaps, not as you are,But as I see you.I, my love, yours truly,Want to give youSomething that Is truly yours.I can bring outThe beautiful girlInside you, latent,The idea of Esther,As I have done alreadyWith your face and nose.Do you think me so shallowThat I would only Love your body Don t you want meTo love your soul,The true you Well, what is the soul It is the idea of the body,The abstraction behindThe reality, the perfect EstherBehind the imperfect one Here in bone and tissue.Just an hour of timeIn my plastic surgery.I could bring your soulOutside, to the surface.I could make youPerfect, radiant,UnutterablyBeautiful and Platonically ideal.Then I could love youUnconditionally,Truly, madly, deeply, dearly.

  2. says:

    4.5 5Knowledge is a funny business Everyone pretends omniscience in the classroom, but god forbid you spout off like an intellectual outside of it And then you have the subculture of people making an effort to read Pynchon in public, and the other subcultures that amuse themselves at their expense The verdict seems to be know it all, but please, spare us from your efforts to prove it.I d sell my soul to write like this at the age of six and twenty There, I admitted to lack of know how when it comes to the realm of Pynchon Of course, the reference to souls might not be worth much coming from someone with no memory of being religious in any sense, but I d like to think the Catholic upbringing accredits the statement somewhat My horse may be hitched to atheism, but I can still appreciate good theological diatribes with healthy roots in philosophy and literature.Which is what I m getting at here Roots Easily graspable statements with esoteric legs to stand on A sense of context that spans the contemporary as easily as the ancient, and ties the two together in the delightfully tangible sense Ivory computers, porcelain circuitry, old materials caking the eternal Street from 1955 s Norfolk to 1919 s Malta and beyond To say the word automaton and have the images of golems and cyborgs seamlessly interweave on the succeeding pages This isn t your banal tactic of cultural references and knowledge dropping at every turn I suppose I should give credit to Neal Stephenson for setting up an apparatus of tin foil and pipe cleaner, to better display Pynchon s idol of ebony and titanium The desire to imitate that deceptive depth of story is understandable Not everyone can write in the style of the yo yo, apex to apex, apocheir to apocheir, without the bottom ponderously dropping out or the string severing at the zenith or the snagging speed making the ride sickening to the stomach.And again, six and twenty 1963 In the US Did you know that this book passes the Bechdel Test I wouldn t have believed it either, least not without reading it for myself Or believed without experiencing for myself how conscious the story is of life and its seeming coincidences, long lines of plot drifting back and forth from immediate relevance to useless trivia It never forsakes the surface details for the underlying meaning, and vice versa, and there s even spots of real humor and true beauty to be found It s a rare talent that belies Pynchon s youth, to describe the passions that drive the intricate clockwork of the small days, and contextualize them in the themes that have, do, and will span for millenia And to switch from one to the other without any noticeable jerks or shuddering It makes one question the validity of the categories of knowledge that we function in, conventional discourse that so many gain use of by sacrificing the essence of their critical thinking Puzzle pieces guaranteeing a pretty picture, inherently forsaking its right to a blank canvas Events seem to be ordered into an ominous logic It repeated itself automatically and Stencil improved on it each time, placing emphasis on different words events seem seem to be ordered ominous logic pronouncing them differently, changing the tone of voice from sepulchral to jaunty, round and round and round Events seem to be ordered into an ominous logic. So, knowledge Pynchon has it, and shows it in endless waves of connective tissues I don t claim to understand all of it But I have to thank him for my new found way of thinking about this reading business of mine, my yo yoing along the V shaped tracks of books like his, picking up bits and pieces with every passing over the same old stomping grounds There s a surface of tin cans and plastic rubbish in those lands, and a wind whistling of ages past that sounds all the clearer the longer you walk You can walk forward, and you can walk back, but to tread the same way twice is an impossibility, for better or for worse.

  3. says:

    So I opted to tango once with Thomas The results are a mix of the same frustrations I had with the first 150 pages of Gravity s Rainbow dropped thereafter , and a newfound appreciation for the most famous maximilist s skill for writing sentences of incredible inventiveness, rhythm, and frenetic lunacy After 300 odd pages of this novel, the niggles new and old returned the introduction of innumerable madcap characters and their endless zing flinging dialogue in the same voice the overabundance of plots and their incoherent seeming natures the constant battle to nail a lucid understanding of every third or fifth sentence the repeated use of whaa in the mouth of too many characters the painstaking detail and brilliance of contextless scenes that could not be appreciated without sufficient foregrounding or a roadmap the guilt at feeling ennui when so much is happening on the page that screams appreciate this the screwball humour that lapses into searing pain through excess and reading to the end turned to work On the plus side, for the first 300 odd pages, I was zipping along on Thomas s often divine prose style, allowing myself to be taken into weird and wonderful places, regardless of their driftless seeming drift, and for a few days, I at last had a window into what ecstasy the Thomas fanboys experience when reading their man It went many, many places, and somehow also nowhere, and for a little while, I liked Thomas Pynchon Triumph

  4. says:

    Who or what is V Would love to sit here and say that I even cared It s certainly advisable to read this novel with a clear head Not the sort of book you want to sit up in bed with late at night with one eye open whilst the other one sleeps No, this requires complete and utter attention Alternatively, you could forget what I just said, let one s hair down, grab a drink, forget the plot, and just be dazzled by some preposterously madcap and rollickingly eccentric passages of writing If someone passed me this book and I didn t know who had written it, I would assume it was some wacko whos marble bag is a few balls sort.Just because it s highly original, and it truly is, that doesn t mean it just gets to automatically qualify for masterpiece status Although for the hardcore Pynchon fans shouting at the screen I can fully understand if you view it that way If he really is the Godfather of postmodern hip lit then good for him I remember reading Vineland back in 2015, and it still remains the most fun I have had with a book, ever This simply couldn t match it No way I even prefered Inherent Vice, which oddly made much sense to me Normally I would have quit this, but abnormally something keep me going, but I don t quite know what is was Probably just wanting to know what lunacy was awaiting in the coming pages.One thing I would love to give Pynchon a pat on the back for is his characters names They have to be some of the most brilliant out of the ordinary in all of literature So then, what does V have that other early post war novels lack It certainly emphasizes the creation of a sort of modern mythology which becomes apparent the further in you go Digressions of both idea and narrative here prove hard to crack most of the time, it was like playing around with a device that had a ten digit code The mode of storytelling stretches far back from the postmodern era though Of course most will think Of Joyce He did it for the moderns with Ulysses, writing a Homeric odyssey for a generation in which heroism lay flat on its face.V kind of reminds us that we never really made it that far away from ancient polytheism Benny Profane, one of the central characters walks the streets of New York City alternating between spells of Erotic and Bacchic revelry As wanderer back from the war, an archetype as old as written words, Profane lacks a homeland where he might end his voyage Whilst the obsessive Herbert Stencil, searching for V., finds the quest for his Holy Grail undercut with the eternally unknowable.He isn t the only one.Profane and the whole sick crew blunder along, tormented by drunkenness and misunderstanding, and I only found a remote likability to the whole cast of players Pynchon creates characters, so many of them in fact, it s difficult to truly make heads or tails of any of them His world and his overstretched sentences seem bent on proving that even though the planet may be nonsensical than say Alice s Wonderland, there s no reason we can t have fun along the way If only I could have found this fun But another F word comes to mind Frustrating Ultimately V serves as a metaphor even for characters who aren t, at least on the surface, searching for her or it She may be this person or that, that country or this, this down here, or that over there Their crackpot epic journey always seemed to have the feel of one running blindfolded down an alley before nutting a brick wall That leaves me now to ponder over Mason and Dixon and Against the Day, which some say is his best book I will likely read Vineland again though before considering one of those two.

  5. says:

    Say a man is no good for anything but jazzing around He ll go live in a cathouse, he ll jazz it all over town When I ve been reading V. I couldn t get out of dictionaries and encyclopedias the book is a carnival of words and ideas.People like anything gossip, rumours, hearsay, tall tales, myths the only thing they don t like is truth Geronimo stopped singing and told Profane how it was Did he remember the baby alligators Last year, or maybe the year before, kids all over Nueva York bought these little alligators for pets Macy s was selling them for fifty cents, every child, it seemed, had to have one But soon the children grew bored with them Some set them loose in the streets, but most flushed them down the toilets And these had grown and reproduced, had fed off rats and sewage, so that now they moved big, blind, albino, all over the sewer system Down there, God knew how many there were Some had turned cannibal because in their neighborhood the rats had all been eaten, or had fled in terror V. is a luscious and scrumptious salad of baroque urban legends, frilly drinking bouts and fanciful history lessons Love s a lash, Kisses gall the tongue, harrow the heart Caresses tease Cankered tissue apart Liebchen, come Be my Hottentot bondsman tonight, The sjambok s kiss Is unending delight Love, my little slave, Is color blind For white and black Are only states of mind And the novel language is a quintessence and epitome of that rebellious, tumultuous and alchemical epoch To have humanism we must first be convinced of our humanity As we move further into decadence this becomes difficult And somewhere in the wings of history stands a cosmic actress a capricious, mercantile, decadent and frigid harlot.And this omnipotent cocotte is entropy And entropy rules equally the doom of a soap bubble and the fate of a human being, therefore any human life is nothing but a soap bubble.

  6. says:

    I propose that the titular V is neither a person nor a place but a preposition.What, really, is personal than a first novel It s that all or nothing, balls to the wall debut effort that can either send a fledgling writer plummeting to dream shattering depths with an effort that falls flat for any number of reasons or it can be the inaugural celebration all starry eyed young scribes dare to hope for, that which heralds a staggering new talent to a canon populated by the many great wordslingers who ve scribbled their way to well deserved immortality For argument s sake, we ll work under the assumption that those flimsy flavor of the month bestsellers that are so in vogue for their seemingly eternal 15 minutes will, in time, be forgotten and written off as yet another regrettable mistake born of groupthink s lapse in judgment while these truly remarkable feats of literature persist through the ages If one is to write what one knows, how daunting must it be to know so much about such a wide range of complicated topics minute historical details of a time one either never experienced or was simply too young to fully digest, regardless of youthful precociousness engineering equations requiring mathematical acrobatics and a than adequate grasp on physics an insider s take on the naval experience an innate understanding of how to perfectly mix high minded concepts and lowbrow humor with a dash of poetic lyric and attempt to whittle it all down into a tome that won t crush potential readers under the weight of both the volume itself and the awe inspiring ideas roiling within The little we do know about literature s most elusive enigma points to pieces of Pynchon being flung along the narrative s parade route like confetti, adding flashes of biographical color to his intricately structured and beautifully written first novel that pits the animate against the inanimate and the internal self against the external veneer and has the best ever bonus of an Ayn Rand stand in reduced to baby talk in the presence of a pwecious widdle kittums cat Aside from what can only be thinly veiled allusions to his Cornell days with Richard Fari a and their cult of Warlock regarding the Generation of 37 And we did like to use Elizabethan phrases in our speech A farewell celebration for Maratt on the eve of his marriage Dnubietna leapt up on the table, upsetting glasses, knocking the bottle to the floor, screaming Go to, caitiff It became the cant phrase for our set go to The pre war University years were probably as happy as he described, and the conservation as good , to say nothing of the nod to a novel called Existential Sheriff the internal conflicts of the writer seem to be scattered throughout V. like a breadcrumb trail back to the source himself.Because Pynchon has be one conflicted dude To be a notoriously private man juggling such derision for the spotlight with the compulsion to write for unseen but rabid fans, to churn out maddeningly, densely obscure works that are nevertheless guaranteed to meet both critical and commercial success and increase sales of Excedrin in the following months , to posses such finely tuned right and left brains that he can be considered nothing less than an engineer poet in his own right, to walk such a fine line between historical fictions and fictional histories is it any wonder that a man so in touch with dueling perspectives would build his first novel on the foundation of This v That

  7. says:

    A phrase it often happened when he was exhausted kept cycling round and round, preconsciously, just under the threshold of lip and tongue movement Events seem to be ordered into an ominous logic It repeated itself automatically and Stencil improved on it each time, placing emphasis on different words events seem seem to be ordered ominous logic pronouncing them differently, changing the tone of voice from sepulchral to jaunty round and round and round Events seem to ordered into an ominous logic He found paper and pencil and began to write the sentence in varying hands and type faces As wartime paranoia, obsessiveness, elusiveness, and ambiguity all seem to be trademark characteristics of Thomas Pynchon s epic narratives, it s easy enough for the reader to constantly stumble upon these intentionally scattered, meta clues Because his novels cover such a broad realm of subjects, while proposing a very unique, and humorous philosophy of history, the connections and transitions of V s hodgepodge of vignettes concerning a rich tapestry of characters struggling with both World Wars becomes and apparent as the story reaches its conclusion Overall, this passage seems to function as an accurate metaphor for what it feels like to read V..With his eagerly anticipated seventh novel coming out in August of this year, V now stands as one of his accessible works, not to mention a fascinating example of his writing to look back upon in retrospect Benny Profane is the archetypal Pynchonian schlemihl an endearing protagonist, merely trying to get by as the rest of the world struggles obsessively with finding existential meaning in a universe full of closed systems Tyrone Slothrop of Gravity s Rainbow would later act as a carefully constructed version of this character While it s true that not all of Pynchon s protagonists are slackers simply looking for a good time, they still function as tour guides who offer a or less objective view of the events taking place Even Herbert Stencil who exists as sort of an opposite of Profane, still shares a set of common characteristics, namely, humility or humanity Call it what you will.We follow Profane after just getting out of the navy, living in New York He falls in with a crowd of bohemians and drifters referred to as the Whole Sick Crew This group resembles the social crowd in the Recognitions as well as characters belonging to any standard party scene in a beat novel albeit far tolerable, and acting as intentional parodies Profane loafs around, finds a job hunting alligators in the sewers of New York After shooting Stencil in the ass on one of his jobs characters enter the picture, and we are introduced to Stencil s obsessive quest to find the elusive V., a sort of character that his father before him had been fascinated with From there the narrative drifts back and forth between historical episodes set during the tail end of the 19th century, and the first half of the 20th Pynchon s sympathies have always been directed at the marginalized, poor, oppressed, idealistic, liberal, etc Even when he sketches portraits of his capitalist, fascist, hateful villains, he still manages to show their early development from wide eyed, idealistic dreamer to avaricious monster, while avoiding a sort of idealistic bias because he presents the reader with the inherent weakness and hypocrisy of his liberal heroes just as well Gaddis did the same thing with Wyatt Gwyon and Edward Bast, albeit both met morbid, Faustian ends V. functions as a metaphor for the late twentieth century, synthetic dehumanization, which has now become one of the blatant examples of postmodern theorizing, but in 1961 this all must have read as of a prescient idea Several episodes in the book, as ambiguous as they are, sort of portray her as an unattainable object of desire The fourth chapter entitled In Which Esther Gets a Nose Job is the earliest introduction to this theme Naturally, Shoenmaker the man who performs this operation, later to become her insensitive lover is the first sort of villain to appear Robots modeled after humans appear later on Profane has a particularly profound and hilarious conversation with one of them Pynchon utilizes this theme as a way of revealing how human beings desire this sort of mechanical, empty ontology, as a way of escaping their own horrific human condition Once again, this is why Profane s character is so very important He exemplifies the human spirit In his lackadaisical approach to life, he achieves what is of the utmost importance to Pynchon The ability to merely exist, and deal, regardless of whatever sort of astronomical terror will abound Another reason why his own unique brand of historical fiction functions so well What s horrifying than the first half of the twentieth century

  8. says:

    Thomas Pynchon twenty six years old first novel twenty six first novel twenty six Reads like The Adventures of Tintin on hallucinogens Full of great comic scenes mixed with political espionage and paranoia amidst philosophical comments on the nature of politics, religion, death, time, sexuality and war V. is undeniably complex and I can admit that there were moments of mind numbing confusion, but the book is so beautifully written that you just go for the ride It s a haunting and frequently hilarious postmodern satire V., to me, represents enlightenment, or finality The quest itself is a long journey, hence the time and globe spanning nature of the story The book itself is like a series of interconnecting short stories that sweeps through the majestic settings of New York, Paris, Malta, Egypt, Africa and Alexandria The nature of V seems nurturing, motherly and caring in times of stress and suffering Pynchon is operating on a metaphysical plain, where particles and matter can be seen and felt and the world is different from our own 20 20 vision V is eventually seen, felt and experienced for those who are willing to take the necessary steps Too many times are we fed little slices of fear from the characters who contemplate the nature of dying, growing old, separation from mans ignorance These men in search of V are, in some way, in search of an ego death, to cure their fears in the face of God, a maternal presence of spirit, a being of upmost enlightenment.Obviously, there is so much packed into this near 500 page novel, but that s what I got out of it first time around Political theory is examined extensively through different countries and characters Sexuality and youth seems prevalent within The Whole Sick Crew There are some comments on the Christian Church and Christianity in general Freudian psychology, science and mathematics pop up and colonialism is touched on as well.Or you could be a schlemihl and take Benny Profane s approach I haven t learned a godammn thing.

  9. says:

    Although not nearly as perfect as some of his later works, there are many traces of Pynchon s genius in this novel It is not as drug induced, decadent or heartbreaking as Gravity s Rainbow, nor is it as beautiful, ambitious or creative as Mason Dixon, not to mention as impressively human or historically conscious as Against the Day Pynchon s writing in this early novel, though showing early incarnations of his later works, seems unrefined and confused There are so called Pynchon sentences here, but none as decisive or as wonderful as in his later writings, in which almost every page is stacked full of incredibly sharp, yet long and haunting passages Most significant in Pynchon s later writing is his incredible writing on the movement of social and political structures and mechanisms In other words, Pynchon s later writing is dynamic things and people move in Pynchon s world and the movement feels significant, as if it reflects on the movement of things and people in real life a movement that is hard for us to grasp unless it is written by Pynchon s genius pen That being said, V , is a very good book I really enjoyed it There are some incredibly funny passages, specifically some about alligator hunting in the New York sewers, and some interesting passages on Malta Many of Pynchon s later thematic concerns appear in V , such as automata, transhumanism, war, capitalism, historicity, truth, and most important Love, but none of those thematic concerns seem as important as in his later novels, given the fact that Pynchon had not found his artistic style yet.

  10. says:

    Reading Thomas Pynchon s first novel is like plunging head first into a room with very little light As the novel progresses, Pynchon regulates that light sometimes letting the reader see very clearly, narratively speaking, and other times enveloping the reader into near darkness.The two main characters are discharged Naval officer Benny Profane the self described schlemiel and Stencil, the hunter of the elusive woman idea known only as V Though not exact opposites, their destinies do not intersect until the last part of the book Profane s story is the traditional narrative of the two as he passively wanders into alligator hunting, bar brawls, and an enigmatic security job Profane with his friends known as The Whole Sick Crew could be Pynchon s alter ego and could be also an amalgamation of Naval and literary figures.The breadth of Pynchon s encyclopedic knowledge comes through with the emergence of Stencil as he wanders through time and multiple identities taking up his father s mission to find V V wanders time and space presumably though its never clear showing up in 19th century British Egypt, as a rat in a New York City sewer, and in a very difficult chapter as a bad preist mangled by children in the ruins of World War II Pynchon s strokes are most broad in sub stories regarding a German colony in South Africa and later in another chapter surrounding an impaled ballerina that entrances V.The connections are not often clear but the indictments of colonialism and war ring true V is a challenging must read postwar American whirlwind that remains consistent in its aggressively cubist tone.

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