- Series: Perennial Classics
- Paperback: 560 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics (July 5, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780060930219
- ISBN-13: 978-0060930219
- ASIN: 0060930217
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.3 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 130 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #325,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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V. (Perennial Classics) Paperback – July 5, 2005
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"This work may well stand as one of the very best works of the century." -- "Atlantic Review""Filled with wild humor, intentive wordplay and a darkly imaginative power."-- "Philadelphia Inquirer""[A] brilliant and turbulent first novel." -- George Plimpton, "New York Times Book Review""[L]eaves the imagination spent and the mind reeling." -- "New York Herald Tribune"
About the Author
Thomas Pynchon was born in 1937. His books include V, Gravity's Rainbow, Vineland, Mason & Dixon, Against the Day, Inherent Vice, and Bleeding Edge.
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Finally, I would advise the reader interested in Pynchon to start here. Having read all his works now, I can truly say that this is a very approachable novel, if you start with the right attitude. Don't get bogged down in "meaning," because I don't think it's as highly symbolic as some would have us believe. Somewhere I believe I hear Pynchon saying "it's just a novel, for chrissakes...." But it is approachable and manageable (as is Inherent Vice, which I think is cut from this same cloth), and I think the best place to experiment with Pynchon (who, by the way, is not for everyone). And further, I'm glad I picked up the hardcover version, because I found it easier to read than my previous paperback version. That may be just a personal preference, though.
I made the mistake of reading Gravity's Rainbow as my first foray into the works of Thomas Pynchon. I should have started with V. to get my feet wet before taking the plunge. Be warned, these novels take maximal concentration and you may find yourself getting a bit lost in the huge host of characters. Reading this novel with a notebook helps, just so you can write down a character and their background before they disappear and reappear several chapters later doing something completely unexpected. Pynchon shows us that in the world of men, nothing is as it seems. People have hidden motivations. They work for secret, hidden agendas. Benny Profane considers himself a schlemiel, an insignificant person. Even insignificant people have a majestic significance in the grand scheme of Pynchon's grandiosely twisted and beautiful visions.
It took a hundred pages to pick up the rhythm of the book, but from then on it went smoothly. I did do a lot flipping back to see where a character was first mentioned.
What is amazing to me is that a 24-year-old knew so much about the Navy (in which I served), could go on for pages describing a nose job in excruciating detail, the history of Namibia and Malta, and lots of other specific stuff.
This book is not for every reader. It's not say, a James Paterson that can be ripped through on a beach weekend. But if you can persevere, you will have a unique literary experience unavailable from any author. Plus you will see how Pynchon influenced DFW and other post-modern authors.
And you will be part of a secret society, like the Masons or Knights of Pythias.
I have an OCD to read books in the order they were written in. The next two books, The Crying of Lot 49, and Gravity's Rainbow, have some of the same characters as V.