Book Review: Against The Day, Thomas Pynchon

by Writer X

Pynchon’s latest doorstop, Against The Day is corrupt work. It has the irresistible effect of turning smart men stupid.

It all began when Flaubert O’Leary, flushed and breathless, burst into the Minor Gelding: “I bought the Pynchon!” he shrieked.

O’Leary bludgeoned us for a solid week with ceaseless re-tellings of The Purchasing of The Pynchon, an act akin to curing cancer. He physically compelled a trembling cashier at Borders to autograph his receipt: Congrats. Ashley.

Next up: “I started the Pynchon!” For fifteen days, happiness was besmirched by daily, hour-long synopses, delivered in stentorian tones, strewn with deafening self-aggrandizements, boring as hell, all thickly frosted with flamboyant gesticulations, flying saliva, and the laughter of the insane.

“I’m reading the Pynchon!” O’Leary would suddenly announce, apropos of nothing and to no-one in particular. He did it alone in the car. He baffled to tears an adolescent cashier at Spangles.

O’Leary then surrendered wholly to the Pynchon. The P Time, he calls it. He locked his door and refused invitations to dinner: “I’m with the Pynchon!” he barked through the intercom. He threw his cell phone out the window. He did not bathe.

A week of peace. People drifted back to the Gelding.

Then, inevitably: “I finished the Pynchon!” An islet rose from a Malaysian sea. And too, the commencement of a torrent of critical blah-blah-blah, a Nile of dorky, pseudo-intellectual, corn-studded mind-vomit that surges yet unchecked, stinking.

Of course, O’Leary now perceives the world as inhabited by only two kinds of people: those who have read the Pynchon, and trash. He’s murder at parties.

Damn the Pynchon!

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