Tuesday, January 29, 2008

AGAINST THE DAY by Thomas Pynchon (part III)

Around page 700, Pynchon's surreal comic inventiveness, his singular genius for energetic imaginative improvisation, begins to flag, and the novel modulates, for the next 200 pages or so, into a more sober performance occasionally punctuated with absurdities and groaningly bad gags that seem calculated to keep the air from becoming too, too HEAVY. The Cyprian Latewood narrative, initially irksome and stereotypical, eventually becomes both a decent adventure story (in its Balkan phase) and, most unexpectedly, an exploration of the complexities of male homosexuality, giving Pynchon an opportunity to finally deal with the homophobia so apparent elsewhere in the book. Now, at page 900, I'm hoping for a return of the darkly playful Pynchon satirical imagination before this big book ends.

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