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Against the Day Paperback – October 30, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
The book was savaged by some critics with a notable air of self-pity ... oh it's so long, oh it's so meandering, oh I didn't bother to finish it. Yes, there are major reviews in major American publications where paid critics admitted to skimming over most of the last 300 pages. A crime and a pity, because it's only in the last few hundred pages where "Against The Day" fully reveals itself.
Critics (and readers) who enter this journey with hard and fast rules of what a novel should (or must) be are warned here ... you may very well hate it. Pynchon's characterizations can be muddled at time -- it took a second reading with the help of the superb audiobook (I don't know if they give Grammys for audiobook performances, but Dick Hill's is outstanding and worthy of some kind of award) for me to fully appreciate the cavalcade of characters. There is no central character, no central plot, but there are a multitude of character arcs and human interactions that I found heartbreaking.Read more ›
Taken at a more leisurely pace, this novel is, in fact, very accommodating, especially compared to the delightful, but verbage challenging Mason Dixon. Far from the blur of comically named stereotypes that have been alleged, the characters are more than adequately drawn with sufficient depth, if not to the unusual (for him) affection that Pynchon displayed for the aforementioned boundary makers.
The accessibility of the book also comes from a consistent level of humor, more droll than uproarious compared to his earlier work. It is this consistency of observation and discourse that makes Against the Day stand out from all that has proceeded it. In a way, it seems somewhat reminiscent of the stylistic change that Melville produced in The Confidence Man that distinguished it from the dramas that proceeded. Like the new novel here, there is a constant motion to the story as the focus changes from on character to the next, producing a works that are more esoteric than heart-wrenching.
Is too much of a good thing bad?Read more ›
Yet the Pynchon of Against the Day is not the Pynchon of Gravity's Rainbow. 33 years ago, that Pynchon was loading every page with deep emotion, fear and paranoia in a sort of urgent desperation. Now, this latest book contains many of the same themes that have followed Pynchon throughout his long career, yet with much more refinement, finesse and subtlety than ever before. The plot is more complex than any of Pynchon's earlier works, but also (strangely enough) easier to follow than the last part of 'Gravity's Rainbow' or even some of the disjointed flashbacks of 'V.'
The plot itself, like any Pynchon novel, is secondary to the themes of the novel, the mood that is created, the sheer weirdness of a Pynchonian world. It involves the murder of a Colorado anarchist, a group of 5 boys traveling the world in a balloon conducting secret missions, academic competition in early 20th century Germany, time travelers from the future, and the evil plans of a corporate tycoon. Sideplots and tangents include a journey inside a hollow earth, an attempted murder using mayonnaise, the search for a mythical central Asian city, and a group of magicians touring Europe.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Thomas Pynchon at his wildest ever. Set in the crucial years just before and just after the turn of the last century (some called it the Belle Epoque), Pynchon follows the miner... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jon Waters
Pynchon is one of a handful of genuine American treasures; his command of the language would make Shakespeare sit up and notice. Reading this guy is reading for pleasure. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Robert H. Adams
Read what the 4- and 5-star rating reviewers have said. I won't repeat that here. Again, this was the best book I have ever read. Read morePublished 4 months ago by oscar olivivas
I have a first edition hardcover copy of "Against the Day".It is interesting to read randomly fro time to time.Because Like an encyclopedia it has many subjects. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Cihat Lacin
Top notch Pynchon, not for the beginner, not for the casual reader.Published 7 months ago by A. Liguori
Against The Day is, more or less, a very few major overarching plot lines with 1000 vignettes in-between. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Jonathon_Wilson