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V. (Perennial Classics) Paperback – July 5, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
Of course the flip side is that for those who find Pynchon to their liking he is a rare treat, an intriguing enigma that you simply cannot stop talking about. Such is the case with V., a novel that over the years has shown a propensity to spark almost endless debate. Ostensibly it is the story of two men, Stencil and Benny Profane. Benny spends the greater part of the novel tramping around New York City with his friends, the Whole Sick Crew, generally not doing much of anything except procrastinating and running through various jobs and friends. Stencil spends most of the novel a quest of sorts, using a unique technique to track down details about an elusive and mysterious woman known only as V.
It has been noted that it is a technique of Pynchon's to surround the reader in layer after layer of detail and leave her to ferret out some sense; V. is certainly in keeping with that tradition. Wrapped up in this book is enough social critique, pop culture, historical theory, hilarious humor, and prediction of the future to make the reader's head spin like the roulette wheel at a casino. Rather than a shortcoming, this overwhelming downpour of data is one of the best parts of V., as there is just enough cohesion among the disparate elements that certain associations, even theories, can be developed. But are the associations really there or just in the reader's head?Read more ›
The book is ostensibly about Herbert Stencil's quest to discover the identity of a mysterious woman who makes several appearances in his father's journal, but it's really Stencil's quest to understand his father (in German father is Vater) and perhaps, ultimately, to find himself. Also, there are the colorful escapades of the Whole Sick Crew, the group that Herbert hangs with, including Benny Profane, a navyman, and Rachel Hourglass who has a fetish for her automobile.
In a sense, fetishism, fondness for things, is the gist of the book; everytime V. appears she has one more artificial limb, or glass eye. She is less human and more thing, and perhaps this is what Pynchon is saying about the twentieth century and the World Wars that helped to shape it.Read more ›
books of the last 50 years. It is a book that is
filled with symbol and meaning and portent. At the
simplest level it is a story about Benny Profane,
a poor "schlemil" whose pathetic life is filled
with almost surreal adventures that lead him to
gangs and love and alligators in the sewers! But
Benny's adventures become inexplicablyintertwined
with those of Stencil and the mysterious V. And
therein lies the great challenge and great pleasure
of Pynchon. There is a search to discover meaning
and perhaps to discover one's own history. Pynchon's
tale leads back to the diplomatic intrique
preceding World War I and somehow connects us with
the misadventures of Benny. And all the while, like
some great mystery thriller in reverse, the deeper
one gets into V., the more information that is
revealed, the more complex the mystery becomes.
Indeed, the thrill of Pynchon is to become ensnared
in that mystery and try to find meaning in that
complex and interconnected web. Ultimately, perhaps,
like all the great questions in life, the question
of the meaning of who V. is and the meaning of the
book itself may never be answer. But the power of
this novel is that it draws you in to consider that
mystery. The book, somehow, finds connections
between the great historical events of the beginning
of this century and several generations of
characters who themselves are all interconnected
and the ever-changing technology of this century.
Is V. a mysterious woman, a cause of the wars of
this century or the essential meaninglessness
of modern society? Read V. and discover that answer
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I give this book four stars because it challenges the reader and is psychedelic as hell. I deduct two stars for persistent and annoying typographical errors that occur very... Read morePublished 16 days ago by Ian Conley
Pynchon is the greatest American novelist of the second half of the 20th century , and this is a great introduction to his wonderfully entertaining, deeply insightful, historical... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Nick Poulos
I had never read any Pynchon before. I had read that he was hard to follow, with hundreds of characters to keep track of. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Evan Hammerman
Many tedious chapters taken almost directly from historical records of antiquarian interest. Lots of semi-mystical posturing that is sometimes entertaining. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Roger Conner
I started reading this book as a prep for Gravity's Rainbow, as I had been told I need to prepare for that novel... I truly respect anyone who can really enjoy this work. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Francis C. Donnelly