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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Second time is even better

Thomas Pynchon is one of those authors that one either loves or hates. No...scratch that. Thomas Pynchon is one of those authors who writes a book that you either love or hate. I've read five of his novels and loved three but found the other two a bit boring. V. is one ...
Thomas Pynchon is one of those authors that one either loves or hates. No...scratch that. Thomas Pynchon is one of those authors who writes a book that you either love or hate. I've read five of his novels and loved three but found the other two a bit boring. V. is one of the three that I love and I think might still be his best work.

When I was just out of high school I picked up Gravity's Rainbow and was real excited about jumping in. But after the first 50 pages I had no idea what was going on or what it was even about. So it went on the shelf.

Years later I picked it back up and it was the same story as before. So I decided to read "The Crying of Lot 49" to give him another chance and I loved it. Not only that I started to understand his writing style and his way with words. I went back after finishing "Lot" and read "Gravity's Rainbow" with the companion guide and thought it was the greatest novel ever written. It's just fantastic once you get past the stream of conscious, postmodern style. There is no "A" to "B" to "C"'s a long twisting road that demands your attention. It's not like a King or Patterson novel where you take it one vacation and read it while sitting on the beach. It stood as my favorite work of his until I read "V."

"V." is a masterpiece from start to finish. The first time I read it I fully didn't understand all the twists and turns but just went along for the ride, picking up what I could and leaving the rest for a later read. Well I just finished it again after reading it two years ago and I got a heck of a lot more out of it this time around.

The novel is one that I feel people should read before "Gravity's Rainbow". If you can get into "V." then "GR" should be a problem. I love Stencil. He might just be one of my all time favorite characters in any novel. The plot is great...the flashbacks to Egypt, Florence, German South West Africa and Malta are worth the read alone. Some characters in this novel also make appearances in "GR".

I will be reading this again at some point in time to pick up more of what is going one. It's a quest...and a fun one at that. Give it a try and let the madness begin.

On a side note, I still don't like "Mason & Dixon".

posted by neanderthal78 on December 9, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Bizare but sadly not interesting

Sometimes a yo-yo is just a yo-yo. My advice - read the free sample then decide if you are willing to pay for more of the same.

posted by Anonymous on January 17, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2006

    Sophomoric first novel of American metafiction

    Having read Mason & Dixon, my expectations for V. were, perhaps, unfairly high. Clearly, V. is not Pynchon's best work of metafiction. The story rambles aimlessly, incessantly and pointlessly, at times. Of course, the futility in part is the point. However, the mystery concerning who or what is V. becomes wearisome after 400 pages of time travel punctuated by random global adventures even for a patient reader. The names of the shallow, flat characters are utterly sophomoric -- Stencil, Paola, Benny Profane, Pig, Slab -- they reminded me of the cast from a novel by Nabokov or characters of Beckett, except that Beckett always pulls them off and they're rounder, human figures about whom we actually care. The antics and low humor from the bars of Norfolk to the sewers of New York to wartime Malta seemed, sorry about this, somewhat silly and slapstick. But one has to remember that this is Pynchon's first novel and one can see the writer begin to mature as his first novel progresses. One begins to see the hint of the mature writer emerge in the chapter about V. in Love. And although the epilogue is epic, leaving one to wonder if he couldn't conclude how to conclude, the writing becomes scintillating. M&D is a masterpiece. It was enough to take me to V., which disappointed, onto Gravity's Rainbow, nevertheless, which is utterly blowing my mind. The point is that although V. seems sophomoric, Pynchon was, in fact, a sophomore when he wrote it and only a few years out of Cornell at that. Perhaps, the Iliads of V. and M&D could only have been written by a man from Ithaca. You may want to save V. for last and go straight to M&D or Gravity's Rainbow. Of course, if you happen to be a sophomore, you may find that V. is your cup of tea. Whatever you decide to do, I hope you decide to read Pynchon. He's the real thing and stands among the few living legends left in America of quite possibly Nobel stature. I could take or leave V. But M&D and Gravity's Rainbow are to die for.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2003


    I purchased this book mainly out of curiosity. I was expecting a tough read, but i thought I would be well prepared for it. The book was entriguing at first, with great stories from this guy's life and his friends, but then i started to become overwhelmed with the amount of characters and trying to pick out the underlying theme of this novel. I was aware before buying it that it was a multifacted allegory, but became overwhelmed with all the information to remember around page 75 in some foreign country--and it was also uninteresting. Im sure i will finish at a later time, but im writing this to tell others it might be a better book to rent from your local library. (If you remember to renew it)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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