Vineland PDF/EPUB Ò Paperback

  • Paperback
  • 385 pages
  • Vineland
  • Thomas Pynchon
  • English
  • 16 March 2016
  • 9780141180632

10 thoughts on “Vineland

  1. Warwick Warwick says:

    Vineland is downplayed by Pynchon fans and completely ignored by curious newbies who tend to pass over it in favour either of the big game status of one of his doorstop meganovels or of the appealing slenderness of The Crying of Lot 49 Shame All his gifts and his mysteries are on display here wrapped up in one of his most enjoyable inexplicable and lushly all enveloping plots Rereading it now I’m convinced than ever that it’s terribly underratedThe essential storyline if there is one concerns the uest of fourteen year old Prairie to find her long lost mother Frenesi a hippy chick revolutionary turned government informer who has left a string of lovesick boys and girls wherever she’s been But around this kernel Pynchon deposits layer upon layer of sub plots super plots side plots and inter plots until you are wading thigh deep through new characters new locations new sensations on every pageIt reads chaotically but the chaos is intricately plotted Pynchon is doing twenty things at once in this book and all of them brilliantly Prairie’s story is set in the 1980s but the key events in Frenesi’s life happened fifteen or twenty years before that – and what Vineland is really about is what happened to that generation How the counterculture kids of the 1960s turned into the Reagan voters of the 1980s In that sense it’s a political novelOK a political novel all right – but that doesn’t really explain the experience of this book does it? Because along the way we have a psychic detective investigating a Godzilla attack we have a UFO abduction during a passenger flight to Hawaii we have a community of kunoichi or female ninjas in the Californian hills a political prison deep in a nuclear fallout shelter a Tokyo sex auction a community of zombie ghosts and a potted history of mallrats Often these incidents are slipped in obliuely so that you put the book down blinking as though coming up from hypnosis thinking vaguely –  did I really read that? Did I get that impression from the words on the page or was I imagining something on my own initiative? Pynchon is a master at palming ideas off unseen adding and dependent clauses to his sentences pushing the key information further and further down so that it seeps in through a kind of osmosis and though you understand what he’s talking about you don’t uite recall being toldThis sense of fluidity is abetted by his extraordinary ability to slip 'n' slide time and place when you least expect it jumping in and out of different timezones without the usual formalities but without also any jarringly ‘experimental’ effects Have a look at what happens during this conversation sometime in the 1970s where Prairie’s dad Zoyd is talking to a friend about finding somewhere to stay near Frenesi’s family“On the one hand you don’t want this turning into your mother in law’s trip on the other hand they might know about someplace to crash if so don’t forget your old pal a garage a woodshed a outhouse don’t matter ’s just me and Chloe”“Chloe your dog? Oh yeah you brought her up?”“Think she’s pregnant Don’t know if it happened here or down south” But they all turned out to look like their mother and each then went on to begin a dynasty in Vineland from among one of whose litters picked out for the gleam in his eye was to come Zoyd and Prairie’s dog Desmond By that time Zoyd had found a piece of land with a drilled well up off Vegetable Road bought a trailer from a couple headed back to LA and was starting to put together a full day’s workWhoa whoa whoa did you catch that? We just panned down to the dog for half a sentence and before you know it we’ve followed two generations of puppies all the way through a uick ten years so that Pynchon can now sleight of hand straight into a conversation in the '80s without having to do any ponderous throat clearing of the ‘Several years later’ variety He pulls this shit on every page and he is GOOD at it Most of them you won’t even noticePynchon’s women as always are cool and concupiscent but the horniness is balanced here – uniuely in his oeuvre – by having a wry female protagonist who is never sexualised Prairie is unflappable observant the writing never patronises her – she’s one of the great teenage girls in fictionFrenesi by contrast is the archetypal Pynchonic femme fatale replaying the author’s usual paranoid sexual fantasy of how nice girls just can’t resist the manly charms of the Asshole King who goes here by the name of Brock Vond a federal neofascist who’s eagerly prosecuting the Republicans’ War on Drugs A lot of people who discuss Vineland find Frenesi’s motivation implausible – would she really throw everything away her politics her principles her daughter just because she can’t stop fucking this guy? And is Pynchon really going to hinge his entire Heath Robinson plot on such a flimsy velleity?Yeah he is and the book doesn’t get enough credit for playing such a calculated move ‘I’m not some pure creature’ Frenesi agonises at one point during a painful imagined break up with a girlfriend who put her on the usual pedestal – ‘you know what happens when my pussy’s runnin' the show’ It’s a dynamic played out in almost all his books but the collateral resonances are nowhere made obvious the DS overtones in her submission to Brock prefiguring something essential about what happened to her whole generationBrock Vond’s genius was to have seen in the activities of the sixties left not threats to order but unacknowledged desires for itThere’s the whole novel in a sentence Does Pynchon believe it? Say rather that it’s his secret fear That’s why it’s necessary for it to play out on the interpersonal level too which pretty soon given his characters comes round to some kind of Sylvia Plathlike every woman adores a fascist deal Vineland is infused with a genuine unfashionable nostalgia for the acid dreams of the Sixties but a nostalgia tempered by the resolve to assess the roots of its failures as time went by and ‘revolution went blending into commerce’ Against these incursions all he can offer are the tried and tested defences of sex drugs and rock 'n' rollMucho went to the stereo and put on The Best of Sam Cooke volumes 1 and 2 and then they sat together and listened both of them to the sermon one they knew and felt their hearts comforted by though outside spread the lampless wastes the unseen paybacks the heartless power of the scablands garrison state the green free America of their childhoods even then was turning intoYou can sink into this book and swim in it and the pages will close up over your head It’s just beautifully made – hilarious and sexy and sad and constantly provocative And it has to say about what the 1980s were really about than any number of Brett Easton Ellis or Martin Amis or Jonathan Coe novels can manage Perhaps it’s not objectively his best book but it is for my money his most fun

  2. Oriana Oriana says:

    So when you think of Pynchon you think of serious work right? And trudgery and difficulty and obfuscation and pedanticism and like this dizzying thing that just makes you feel unintellectual and slow for never being able to catch up right? Well if that is the case you have never read Vineland Because oh my god This book is so fucking goodI'm not going to try to summarize or anything because this book is too sprawling and reeling and anyway that would be an afront to its amazingness But look it's got all the same basic building blocks as any Pynchon book—a million characters exhaustively historied unfollowable plot twists crazy ranting paranoia incredibly phraseology bizarre songs sixties culture sex and violence in fact large swaths are oddly comparable to Kill Bill if you ask me—but it's done at a much easier level somehow It's much accessible it's hilarious and warm and you don't feel like you're in uicksand the whole time just desperately trying to understand and keep breathing See people never talk about the really unimaginable joy that soars through Pynchon's work And beauty I mean look this book is tough for sure and I won't try to claim that I understood everything but honestly it just doesn't matter It's just so much fun to read It's not work at all And the ending Once I had like thirty pages left I started getting that dark foreboding feeling you know like there's no way he can end this satisfactorily there just isn't enough space I was so sure he was going to do something horrible leaving everything messy and unfulfilling end things like right in the middle of a sentence or something but no The ending was beautiful just like the rest of the book totally satisfying and wonderful Jeez I loved this book Wow

  3. Steven Godin Steven Godin says:

    This is without a doubt one of the most insane books ever written even by Pynchon's standards this is something else the characters are bonkers the story if you could call it that is nuts not a lot makes sense the writing feels schizophrenic there are moments that could have come from things such as James Bond Tarantino Asian ninja flicks cartoons the hippie movement 80's action B movies spirituality and a whole lot The one thing that's in it's favour is the fact it was just so much fun to read you are riding the crest of one crazy wave best to just go with the flow and let Pynchon's uniue vision take hold

  4. Manny Manny says:

    The novel transports him back to California the country he has often visited even lived in but which still seems like a dream everything too vivid too distinct too much to be real the Pacific viewed from halfway up a mountain separated into bands progressing from auamarine to eggshell sea transformed into sky in a series of gradations as precise as the steps in a theorem the ever present background hum of violence occasionally coalescing into tangible form raised voices from the lobby a scream coming downstairs to see a man slumped over the front desk blood pouring from a hole in the occipital region of his head a cramped office where nerds take a break from creating the future to sit on the floor and drink coffee from laboratory glassware and then return to symbolic manipulations that may turn into billions of dollars which will then be stolen by smart operators familiar with the legal aspects of stock options mystical sex on waterbeds with girls who still call themselves hippie chicks when they are naked and speak indifferent Spanish and Japanese Pynchon reconstructs it all in living technicolor it is a kind of minor miracle

  5. Adam Dalva Adam Dalva says:

    Pynchon's most underrated I think a bighearted funky read; a worthy 3rd V book

  6. Darwin8u Darwin8u says:

    everybody's a hero at least once maybe your chance hasn't come up yet Thomas Pynchon Vineland I first read Vineland about 25 years It was my sopho year in college I was idealistic and I met this guy in the college bookstore named Thomas Pynchon Since it was my FIRST or was The Crying of Lot 49 my first? Pynchon I think I missed way than I gained except for the desire for MORE Pynchon Looking back now Pynchon for me starts to divide into his BIG GREAT novels and his funny shorter novelsIn my brain Vineland fits with Inherent Vice Bleeding Edge V and The Crying of Lot 49 On the otherside of my Pynchon index card sits Gravity's Rainbow Mason Dixon and Against the Day Obviously there are no perfect systems here But that is how Vineland sits for me It was VERY good just not GENIUS Pynchon The slimmer linear sufferpot noir stuff seems likely to be finished and read But his bigger Maximalist juggernauts are waves that if you can catch and ride will float you to Nirvana The bigger the Pynchon risk the better your chance for seeing God or at least splitting a sub with her Vineland basically tells the story of how the hippies of the 60s sold out in various ways and moved from rejecting Nixon in the 60s to embracing Reagan in the 80s Like most of Pynchon's novels this one is filled to overflow with Pynchon's humor caricatured characters with absurd names pop culture paranoia and weed I enjoyed it and if I was going to rank it against most writers it would rank high But it is on the lower end of the Pynchon heap

  7. Geoff Geoff says:

    Everybody always told me Vineland was Pynchon’s worst effort what? No way no how brothers and sisters this here is an endless DNA chain or like Russian doll of embedded story after story descending and re emerging through various strata of narratorial layers pop culture send ups genre parodies all funny as hell and twisted and ridiculous while also extremely smart and painted with mind tweaking flights down and up imaginative spiral staircases And there’s so much heart in this book this old cold hombre almost teared up at certain moments Worst Pynchon? C’mon this is his classic Saturday night drive in camp flick for the mentally agitated among us to be paired generously with Inherent Vice and a downright lovely insane ode to mid 20th century American popular culture get on it

  8. Ian "Marvin" Graye Ian "Marvin" Graye says:

    If Three Should Be FiveI first read “Vineland” some time in the 90’s Based on an imperfect recollection of it I rated it three stars when I joined GoodReads I’ve raised my rating to five stars partly because of how much fun I had reading it a second timeI can’t think of a better novel to read between now and when we emerge safely into the Post Trump era Reprise and Foreshadow “Vineland” reprises the longing and uest for an absent woman that was at the heart of “V” in this case the daughter of left wing activist parents a “third generation lefty” student radical film maker and the novel’s heroine Frenesi Gates; it features Kommandant Karl Bopp former Nazi Luftwaffe officer and subseuently useful American citizen who could have emigrated from “Gravity’s Rainbow”; while it foreshadows the focus on the underground and anarchism that was so fundamental to “Against the Day” More realist than Pynchon’s previous three novels its description of the American landscape is as detailed and expressive usually as humorous and sometimes as sentimental as it would later be in “Mason Dixon” “The shape of the brief but legendary Trasero County coast where the waves were so high you could lie on the beach and watch the sun through them repeated on its own scale the greater curve between San Diego and Terminal Island including a military reservation which like Camp Pendleton in the world at large extended from the ocean up into a desert hinterland”They were in a penthouse suite high over Amarillo up in the eternal wind with the sun just set into otherworld transparencies of yellow and ultraviolet and other neon sign colours coming on across the boundless twilit high plain381“A lightning storm had appeared far out at sea and now behind them out the window was advancing on the city taking brightly crazed shots all along the horizon Somewhere in here a stereo began to play a stack of albums from the fifties all in that sweet intense mainstream wherein the tenor drowns of love or as it is known elsewhere male adolescence”“Zoyd who was driving came at last upon a long forest lined grade and cresting saw the trees fold away as there below swung dizzily into view came Vineland all the geometry of the bay neutrally filtered under pre storm clouds the crystalline openwork arcs of pale bridges a tall power plant stack whose plume blew straight north meaning rain on the way a jet in the sky ascending from Vineland International south of town the Corps of Engineers marina with salmon boats power cruisers and day sailers all docked together and spilling uphill from the shoreline a couple of suare miles crowded with wood Victorian houses uonset sheds postwar prefab ranch and split level units little trailer parks lumber baron floridity New Deal earnestness And the federal building jaggedly faceted obsidian black standing apart inside a vast parking lot whose fences were topped with concertina wire ‘Don’t know it just landed one night sitting there in the morning when everybody woke up folks seem to be gettin’ used to it’ 317”This sounds like somewhere that is really there and that you’re in the passenger’s seat of the car that Zoyd is driving and you can see it too Whilst laughingReaganomic Drug HysteriaPublished in 1990 the novel is set partly in 1969 in cinematic flashback but primarily in 1984 the year in which Ronald Reagan won a second term as President It was also a time when Reagan’s economic policies dubbed “Reaganomics” and his “War on Drugs” which initiates what Pynchon calls “national drug hysteria” were in full flight Perhaps presciently for Trump it’s worth noting that the assassination attempt on Reagan was made just 69 days into his first term in 1981 People must have known what they were going to getIronically or maybe not the ultimate source of the drugs was the CIA “Verily I say that wheresoever the CIA putteth its meathooks upon the world there also are to be found those substances which God may have created but the US Code hath decided to control Get me?Notice how cheap coke has been since ‘81?”Leaning Across the Counter cultureIt’s well known that Pynchon has always had counter cultural sympathies Here they’re front and centre as is the associated politics Frenesi conceives of her life working in the seventies underground documentary film industry this way “When the sixties were over when the hemlines came down and the colours of the clothes went murky and everybody wore makeup that was supposed to look like you had no makeup on when tatters and patches had had their day and the outlines of the Nixonian Repression were clear enough even for the most gaga of hippie optimists to see it was then facing into the deep autumnal wind of what was coming that she thought Here finally here’s my Woodstock my golden age of rock and roll my acid adventures my Revolution Come into my own at lastHere was a world of simplicity and certainty no acidhead no revolutionary anarchist would ever find a world based on the one and zero of life and death Minimal beautiful The patterns of lives and deaths”Student Film CollectiveFrenesi belongs to a student film collective called 24fps whose motto is “A camera is a gun An image taken is a death performed Images put together are the substructure of an afterlife and a Judgment We will be architects of a just Hell for the fascist pig Death to everything that oinks”I Love a Man in UniformParadoxically Frenesi has inherited a “uniform fetish” from her mother “as if some Cosmic Fascist had spliced in a DNA seuence reuiring this form of seduction and initiation into the dark joys of social control” She enjoys a privileged personal and financial position because after the death of agent Weed Atman at the College of the Surf protest she’d been compromised by FBI agent Brock Vond “a rebel cop with his own deeply personal agenda only following the orders of a repressive regime based on death” into supplying information and film footage about other activists for a fee in his eyes she had good “snitch potential” “He figures he won his war against the lefties now he sees his future in the war against drugs”“Duly sworn officers of the law wearing uniforms packing guns bound to uphold the Constitution you think men like that would lie?”From New Deal to No DealHowever come Reagan’s autumnal wind things started to change “She understood that the Reaganomic axe blades were swinging everywhere that she and Flash her husband were no longer exempt might easily be abandoned already to the upper world and any unfinished business in it that might now resumeas if they'd been kept safe in some time free zone all these years but now at the unreadable whim of something in power must reenter the clockwork of cause and effect Someplace there would be a real axe or something just as painful Jasonic blade to meat final but at the distance she Flash and Justin their son had by now been brought to it would all be done with keys on alphanumeric keyboards that stood for weightless invisible chains of electronic presence or absenceWe are digits in God’s computer”They go from “once carefree dopers” to drug criminals sought out by paramilitary law enforcement agencies like the crop destroying Campaign Against Marijuana Production CAMP Brock Vond’s Political Re Education Program PREP and the Ultra High Speed Urban Reconnaissance Unit UHURUone of many “Star Trek” references Pynchon paints a picture of the Reagan government as a brutal conniving fascist regime that repealed the New Deal and replaced it with No Deal “It’s the whole Reagan program isn’t it dismantle the New Deal reverse the effects of World War II restore fascism at home and around the world flee into the past can’t you feel it all the dangerous childish stupidity ‘I don’t like the way it came out I want it to be my way’”Reagan attacks the counter cultural underground as if it were a vicious alien virus intent on destroying the American mainstream The residents of Vineland become victims of Rex84 an armed exercise to test the US military's ability to detain large numbers of American citizens in case of civil unrest or national emergency Pynchon describes it as “big and invisiblesilent undocumented forever deniable”The Nature of ResistanceReagan is resisted by a coalition of forces including dopers bikers students unionists “die hard industry lefties” in Hollywood the Old Left Wobblies the New Left and Anarchists Guerillas turn skywriting and billboards that proclaim “Drug Free America” into “Drugs Free America” Only within a few years they’re either dead or drinking Bud LightWhile I suspect that Pynchon is sympathetic to Anarchism than I am Frenesi comes from a family tradition that is labour oriented than focussed on the Identity Politics of the New Left and the Anarchist movement Her parents have experienced HUAC inuiries Hollywood black lists and strike breaking Their politics is concerned with the plight of the working class under American capitalism than it is with social and cultural issues For the sake of convenience I’ll call the former Hard Left Politics and the latter Soft Left PoliticsWhile the Soft Left continued its struggle into the 80’s its effectiveness was undermined by Reagan's use of authoritarian force and the distribution of psychedelic drugs by the law enforcement agencies Worse still the Soft Left was placated sedated and negated by the new drug of complacency and conformity Television the Tube Pynchon seems to lament that the Soft Left became prominent than the Hard Left Despite his consistent identification with the counter culture he seems to regard its social and cultural concerns as introspective self obsessed and narcissisticTo the extent that the New Left focuses on the status of the individual it’s political program is individualistic in nature In contrast the Old Left focuses on the role of workers under Capitalism and its political program is collectivist Tubular BluesThe Broken CollectivityEither way Reagan severely damaged the collective of resistance so that Pynchon refers to it as “the broken collectivity”Blue eyed Frenesi's reaction was to turn blue She suffered postnatal depression after the birth of her daughter Prairie who joins the uest for her mother with her father Zoyd Wheeler and various federal agents not just Brock Vond who are obsessed with her In a way the uest to find Frenesi after she disappears ends up being a uest for the restoration of family and arguably family order This is Pynchon at his most sentimental or empathetic what he calls a little wave of tenderness However it also suggests an additional degree of scepticism about Anarchism This is what he has to say about Brock Vond “Brock Vond’s genius was to have seen in the activities of the sixties left not threats to order but unacknowledged desires for it While the Tube was proclaiming youth revolution against parents of all kinds and most viewers were accepting this story Brock saw the deep if he’d allowed himself to feel it the sometimes touching need only to stay children forever safe inside some extended national FamilyThey needed some reconditioning”Perhaps the State doesn’t need to be abolished It too might just need some reconditioning Whether this reads too much into Pynchon’s work I still think it can be uestioned whether he euates the counterculture with Anarchism It's arguable that an alternative culture of any significance reuires a social democracy a democratic family within which to thrive An anarchist society would be too full of unregulated and counterproductive individualism and conflictThe Words of the Next GenerationRightly or wrongly Prairie's boyfriend Isaiah Two Four blames the Tube for what went wrong Whole problem ‘th you folks’ generation nothin’ personal is you believed in your Revolution put your lives right out there for it but you didn’t understand much about the Tube Minute the Tube got hold of you folks that was it that whole alternative America el deado meato just like th’ Indians sold it all to your real enemies and even in 1970 dollars it was way too cheapFebruary 26 2017

  9. Madeleine Madeleine says:

    I don’t usually finish a book and start a review in the same breath But I also don’t usually allow myself to read than one of an author’s works within a calendar year many books little time etc though of course Stephen King would be this year’s other exception because the Tower all things yield to it T Ruggs you magnificant bastard I hope you know how many personal rules I’m violating because you’re the first time since auspiciously picking up my first collection of Bukowski poems that I’ve been able to add a This Writer Changed My Life For Always notch to my literary bedpost Reading “Vineland” confirmed what “Gravity’s Rainbow” left me suspecting I bloody love Thomas Pynchon RillyFinishing “Gravity’s Rainbow” left me with an almost obscene urge to help myself to another serving of Pynchon which is an urge I’ve been fighting for months now I finally caved intending to take on “V” but settling for “Vineland” because part of the joy of Pynchon is the inherent madness and I just can’t handle another meaty tome yet the latter weighs in at a few pages shy of 400; the former uh does most assuredly not And because I haven’t talked about GR enough I am still a little battered from that experience my opinion on bananas might be forever changed too I needed something a little less daunting first Enter “Vineland”This book was so good Now being able to pinpoint a Pynchonian pattern – a few musical outbursts sleuthing plots oddball character names stunning tangents that really aren’t that tangential after all a natural vocabulary only found in the most ruthless of Scrabble opponents – helped me identify what I adore most about Pynchon’s prose It’s his ability to concoct some of the most overtly zany scenes in literature to confront the reader with these in your face storms of hilarity for the sake of maximizing the subtle tragedies he gently lets the story consider leaving the reader to marinate in sadness It’s an effect that would be any mixture of sloppy condescending formulaic or tedious if attempted by anyone else but Pynchon makes it work The real success is that his characters who need be sympathetic are so when someone realizes that her best days are behind her or comes to the dawning realization that he’s being used by an entire government or has an ugly epiphany about the mother she never knew it is the most heartbreaking scene in the world As for the effort involved in decoding the obscure references that are sprinkled throughout Pynchon’s books as liberally as the Bacon Bits on any salad worth eating I was deeply grateful that T Ruggs's novel begins the same year as I did which meant I caught waywayWAAAAY cultural allusions this time The narrative flows better when I’m not running to a secondary source every three lines and I appreciated the opportunity to enjoy this book less haltingly which isn't to say that I didn't need to have a few reference materials handy There were enough hazy hippie memories to keep me on my toes though I caught a number of those as often as I had a flutter of joyful recognition every time The Doors or Zeppelin or Pink Floyd or some other People's Republic of Rock and Roll favorite got a shout outI feel a reread of The Crying of Lot 49 and maybe Inherent Vice in my future Color me fucking amped

  10. Christopher Christopher says:

    Pynchonian zaniness fibrous nutrition at the sentence level fun to read hermeneutical political leaving plenty of lacunae in immediate comprehension to commit intellectual effervescence not to mention I’m of an age to not to have to look up most of the cultural references

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Vineland Vineland a zone of blessed anarchy in northern California is the last refuge of hippiedom a culture devastated by the sobriety epidemic Reaganomics and the Tube Here in an Orwellian 1984 Zoyd Wheeler and his daughter Prairie search for Prairie's long lost mother a Sixties radical who ran off with a narc Vineland is vintage Pynchon full of uasi allegorical characters elaborate unresolved subplots corny songs Floozy with an Uzi movie spoofs Pee wee Herman in The Robert Musil Story and illicit sex including a macho variation on the infamous sportscar scene in VFor than seventy years Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English speaking world With than 1700 titles Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors as well as up to date translations by award winning translators

About the Author: Thomas Pynchon

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 1963