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A Companion to V. Paperback – February 1, 2001
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Here, on the other hand, we have J. Kerry Grant's Companion to V. Is this book truly necessary? you might well ask. The first time I read V., I didn't have no goldurned guidebook, and I did just fine. It's a great novel, but it's orders of magnitude less allusive and perplexing than GR. Curiosity overtook me, however, so I decided to see if the guidebook would enhance my experience upon rereading it.
Short answer: no. I can confirm that V. remains a brilliant book, if, on reflection, not quite on the level of GR or Mason & Dixon, but the guide proved to be generally unhelpful.
Since V. contains much less esoteric material that needs glossing than Gravity's Rainbow, how does Grant fill up the pages here? By including much more interpretive material than Weisenburger did, culled from a wide variety of critics. This seems like a potentially useful approach, but in practice, it's almost worthless. There are useful bits and pieces here and there, but not too often. Grant takes a seemingly random assortment of phrases, ideas, and paragraphs as they come up in the text and provides interpretive speculation, sometimes his own but mostly from other critics. There's no guarantee that a passage that you find perplexing will be glossed, and there are plenty of glosses that make you ask, was this really necessary? It's all very arbitrary.Read more ›