Read V. by Thomas Pynchon Online


Having just been released from the Navy, Benny Profane is content to lead a slothful existence with his friends, where the only real ambition is to perfect the art of "schlemihlhood," or being a dupe, and where "responsibility" is a dirty word. Among his pals--called the Whole Sick Crew--is Slab, an artist who can't seem to paint anything other than cheese danishes. But PrHaving just been released from the Navy, Benny Profane is content to lead a slothful existence with his friends, where the only real ambition is to perfect the art of "schlemihlhood," or being a dupe, and where "responsibility" is a dirty word. Among his pals--called the Whole Sick Crew--is Slab, an artist who can't seem to paint anything other than cheese danishes. But Profane's life changes dramatically when he befriends Stencil, an active ambitious young man with an intriguing mission--to find out the identity of a woman named V., who knew Stencil's father during the war, but who suddenly and mysteriously disappeared. ...

Title : V.
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 5530420312
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 463 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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V. Reviews

  • Aubrey
    2018-12-09 19:17

    4.5/5Knowledge is a funny business. Everyone pretends omniscience in the classroom, but god forbid you spout off like an intellectual outside of it. And then you have the subculture of people making an effort to read Pynchon in public, and the other subcultures that amuse themselves at their expense. The verdict seems to be know it all, but please, spare us from your efforts to prove it.I'd sell my soul to write like this at the age of six and twenty. There, I admitted to lack of know-how when it comes to the realm of Pynchon. Of course, the reference to souls might not be worth much coming from someone with no memory of being religious in any sense, but I'd like to think the Catholic upbringing accredits the statement somewhat. My horse may be hitched to atheism, but I can still appreciate good theological diatribes with healthy roots in philosophy and literature.Which is what I'm getting at here. Roots. Easily graspable statements with esoteric legs to stand on. A sense of context that spans the contemporary as easily as the ancient, and ties the two together in the delightfully tangible sense. Ivory computers, porcelain circuitry, old materials caking the eternal Street from 1955's Norfolk to 1919's Malta and beyond. To say the word 'automaton' and have the images of golems and cyborgs seamlessly interweave on the succeeding pages. This isn't your banal tactic of cultural references and knowledge dropping at every turn. I suppose I should give credit to Neal Stephenson for setting up an apparatus of tin foil and pipe cleaner, to better display Pynchon's idol of ebony and titanium. The desire to imitate that deceptive depth of story is understandable. Not everyone can write in the style of the yo-yo, apex to apex, apocheir to apocheir, without the bottom ponderously dropping out or the string severing at the zenith or the snagging speed making the ride sickening to the stomach.And again, six and twenty! 1963! In the US! Did you know that this book passes the Bechdel Test? I wouldn't have believed it either, least not without reading it for myself. Or believed without experiencing for myself how conscious the story is of life and its seeming coincidences, long lines of 'plot' drifting back and forth from immediate relevance to useless trivia. It never forsakes the surface details for the underlying meaning, and vice versa, and there's even spots of real humor and true beauty to be found. It's a rare talent that belies Pynchon's youth, to describe the passions that drive the intricate clockwork of the small days, and contextualize them in the themes that have, do, and will span for millenia. And to switch from one to the other without any noticeable jerks or shuddering! It makes one question the validity of the categories of knowledge that we function in, conventional discourse that so many gain use of by sacrificing the essence of their critical thinking. Puzzle pieces guaranteeing a pretty picture, inherently forsaking its right to a blank canvas."Events seem to be ordered into an ominous logic." It repeated itself automatically and Stencil improved on it each time, placing emphasis on different words--"events seem"; "seem to be ordered"; "ominous logic"--pronouncing them differently, changing the "tone of voice" from sepulchral to jaunty, round and round and round. Events seem to be ordered into an ominous logic.So, knowledge? Pynchon has it, and shows it in endless waves of connective tissues. I don't claim to understand all of it. But I have to thank him for my new-found way of thinking about this reading business of mine, my yo-yoing along the V shaped tracks of books like his, picking up bits and pieces with every passing over the same old stomping grounds. There's a surface of tin cans and plastic rubbish in those lands, and a wind whistling of ages past that sounds all the clearer the longer you walk. You can walk forward, and you can walk back, but to tread the same way twice is an impossibility, for better or for worse.

  • Ian
    2018-11-28 22:30

    How Hard Can It Possibly Be?"V" isn't so much a difficult novel to read - it is after all just words, most of which are familiar - as one in which it is sometimes hard to understand what is going on and why. What does it mean? Does it have to mean anything? How does it all connect?Ironically, if not intentionally, the inability to determine what and why, as well as who, is part of its design. Pynchon mightn't want to answer all the questions he or life asks.However, that doesn't mean there isn't a lot of food for thought in the novel.Pynchon actually tells us a lot all of the time. Like "Ulysses", there are lots of hints and clues and allusions, and it's easy to miss them, if you're not paying attention to the flow of the novel and taking it all in. It's definitely a work that benefits from multiple readings.Characters Both Sacred and Profane"V" starts with one of two protagonists, the schlemiel Benny Profane, on Christmas Eve, 1955. On the anniversary of the sacred day upon which a Virgin, Mary, gave birth to Christ (and thus started what would become Christianity, both Catholic and Protestant), Profane is wearing black levis, a suede jacket, sneakers and a big cowboy hat, a sort of bohemian uniform at the time.He drops into the Sailors' Arms, which welcomes sailors from the tempestuous sea onto solid ground. For them, it's a dream come true, where the barmaids "all love to screw" and "remind you that every day is Christmas Eve".This tavern is a haven and safe harbour. The big-breasted women here provide comfort and succour to men, something we can easily get used to and take for granted.A Form Guide to StencilSixty pages later, Pynchon introduces us to the second protagonist, Herbert Stencil, a man who refers to himself in the third person, which allows him to create a repertoire of bad faith or inauthentic identities (or Sartrean "impersonations"). He has no one solid persona, but somehow the ability to think of himself as and be not just the third person, but a first, a second, a fourth and a fifth permits him to function reasonably adequately (if not always normally) for a male, and so the multiple personalities "keep Stencil in his place".When we meet him, however, his "place" is not static, it's dynamic. He is on a single-minded quest to find evidence of a woman named V. who he believes once knew his deceased father:"As spread thighs are to the libertine, flights of migratory birds to the ornithologist, the working part of his tool bit to the production machinist, so was the letter V to young Stencil. "He would dream perhaps once a week that it had all been a dream, and that now he’d awakened to discover the pursuit of V. was merely a scholarly quest after all, an adventure of the mind, in the tradition of The Golden Bough or The White Goddess."With these V-shaped analogies and the allusion to these non-fiction works (is "V." itself just such a scholarly quest?), Pynchon gives us some insights into the myth and mystery and significance of "V".The next paragraph gives us even more clues as to the nature of the pursuit or quest in general:"But soon enough he’d wake up the second, real time, to make again the tiresome discovery that it hadn’t really ever stopped being the same simple-minded, literal pursuit; V. ambiguously a beast of venery, chased like the hart, hind or hare, chased like an obsolete, or bizarre, or forbidden form of sexual delight. "And clownish Stencil capering along behind her, bells ajingle, waving a wooden, toy oxgoad. For no one’s amusement but his own."In Pynchon's next novel, "The Crying of Lot 49", a woman, Oedipa Maas, would be the subject in and of the quest. She would be the one doing the detective work. Here, a male is the subject and a woman is the object of the quest or pursuit.While both Oedipa and Stencil take their quests seriously, they meet with mixed success (perhaps a hallmark of a post-modern fiction). However, Pynchon seems to venerate Oedipa more highly. For all his earnestness, profundity and third person pretension, Stencil is a clown or a fool to match Profane's picaresque schlemiel."A Beast of Venery"We all know the word "venereal", but how often do we see its root, "venery" (which means sexual indulgence or the pursuit of or hunt for sexual activity)?The quest for man, if not necessarily for Stencil, is a quest for sexual pleasure, for sexual delight, for the sexual conquest of woman.Stencil is looking for one woman. However, because she is of his father's generation and vintage, you have to ask whether in reality he is trying (potentially on behalf of all men) to understand the mystery of sexual attraction, the mystery of womanhood and the place of women in society and, if only from a male perspective, the role of woman in a man's life. The Birth of VenusFrom an etymological perspective, the word "venery" derives from the Latin "veneris", which in turn derives from the Roman god of love and sex, Venus, who in turn was modelled on the Greek god, Aphrodite.The connotation of pursuit is thought to come from the resemblance of the word to the Latin "venari", which means to hunt.Not coincidentally, the Botticelli painting "The Birth of Venus" features in the novel.According to Robert Graves, Venus was also adapted from the pagan sea-goddess, Marian, who was often disguised as a merry-maid or mermaid. Suffice it to say, this Venus rose from the sea, hence the shell in the painting.If we go back further in time, we meet another goddess Astarte, whom the Egyptians worshipped as a goddess of war and tenacity, while the Semites worshipped her as a goddess of love and fertility. The Greeks would later adapt Astarte as the basis of Aphrodite (on the way to the Latin Venus). It is also linked to the goddesses and names Astoreth, Ishtar and Esther.Esther is the name of a character in the novel, (partly Jewish, she gets a nose job in an attempt by her plastic surgeon who wishes to make her look more Irish), while a model of Astarte is the figurehead of the xebec or sailing ship upon which Stencil's father Sidney died in the Mediterranean off Malta in 1919. In a way, Sidney's death might be a return to the embrace of Venus (after all, she was a V) and the great unknown of the ocean?Opposing ProtagonistsProfane and Stencil inevitably meet each other over the course of the novel and collaborate in Stencil's quest as it moves from Manhattan to Malta.They approach life and womanhood in contrasting ways.Here's a summary of Profane:Aimless, directionless, concerned with the present, existential, free-style, random, improvisatory, profane, superficial, more interested in the surface, physical, decadent, irrational.And Stencil:Motivated, purposeful, concerned with the past, in pursuit of understanding and meaning, structured, organised, profound, more interested in depth, metaphysical, civilised, rational.Despite their differences, they join together in Stencil's quest. What they share, obviously, is their manhood, the fact that they are men in a patriarchal society. Whatever their differences as men, they are on the inside, whereas women, in contrast, are on the outside, subjugated, unable to exercise political power or social influence, whatever other means of persuasion they might have at their disposal."Not Who, But What"Stencil's quest starts when he inherits a journal in which his father wrote the following cryptic note:"There is more behind and inside V. than any of us had suspected. Not who, but what: what is she. God grant that I may never be called upon to write the answer, either here or in any official report."There is a suggestion that Young Stencil is trying to find his own identity in V. He was raised motherless, having been born in 1901, which we are also told was the year "Victoria" died.Stencil, speaking in the third person, says:"You'll ask next if he believes her to be his mother. The question is ridiculous."But does it mean the answer is ridiculous? Does it mean we shouldn't ask the question? Are Stencil and Pynchon simply steering us away from the obvious or the possible? Is Pynchon suggesting that fiction (at least post-modern fiction) need not be obliged to offer up answers, that not every quest leads to its Holy Grail?I don't think I'm giving anything away when I say that there's not just one V, but potentially many. Or at least, Young Stencil finds clues as to the existence of many candidates.Does it make any difference though? Does it matter who this particular woman, this V., is? Does the identity of any individual V. matter, when it is the "what", the abstraction of woman that Stencil might be seeking? Is he, like us, simply trying to understand womanhood in all of its complexity? Animation and AgitationWhatever the answer, Stencil's quest animates and energises him. Beforehand, he had been inanimate:"His random movements before the war had given way to a great single movement from inertness to - if not vitality, then at least activity. Work, the was V. he hunted..."Finding her: what then? Only that what love there was to Stencil had become directed entirely inward, toward this acquired sense of sustain it he had to hunt V.; but if he should find her, where else would there be to go but back into half-consciousness? He tried not to think, therefore, about any end to the search. Approach and avoid."Sidney, on the other hand, was a spy and interrogator for the British Foreign Office whose function was to perpetuate the British Empire. He regarded V. as a threat to order. He viewed her as an agent of chaos who, in her different manifestations, always arrived at a time when the world was in a state of siege. She had an unerring ability to appear when the patriarchal world of Western Imperialism was under threat, whether by civil war, rebellion or revolution.In a way, V. represents an undivided, less phallocentrically structured world that unites the stability of land and the fluidity of the ocean, as well as Europe and Asia, West and East, Woman and Man.At a more generalised level, V might represent the relationship between the Animate and the Inanimate, between Life and Death, between Eros and Thanatos.The Woman QuestionIt's interesting that neither Stencil really wants to find a definitive answer to their particular woman question. They are males, and they can't see beyond an era during which men are firmly ensconced in the saddle of power and influence.There is no preparedness to share power or to improve relationships between the sexes.The nature of womanhood is therefore a question that remains unsolved at the end of the novel. Women remain a mystery to men, perhaps because they (men) don't try hard enough or don't really want to understand. They are unable to change their own perspective, so that they might listen and learn. They are content to live with the allure of mystery.In a way, what hope would there be for relationships if all of the mystery was obliterated?As Profane says towards the end of the novel:"Offhand I'd say I haven't learned a goddamn thing."In a way, the unresolved concerns of the novel, from a male point of view, reflect Freud's plight:"The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is 'What does a woman want?"What is to be Done?Both protagonists are selfish in their own masculine way. Profane seems to be oblivious to the issue of what women might want. Young Stencil is ambivalent. However, at least Pynchon is posing a question, which I hope he did not view as ridiculous.Ultimately, while it's arguable that "V" is a pro-feminist novel, I think Pynchon's view was that, as at the time of writing in 1963, there was no solution to the relationship question in view. There was, quite simply, more to be done. Perhaps the underlying truth is that, unless and until man understands the place of woman in the world, he will never understand his place next to woman.Some perspective and hope might come from McClintic Sphere, the jazz musician in the novel. His counsel, almost zen or beat, is to "keep cool, but care." Don't worry too hard about it, just do it. But try to do it with love, not just lust and desire.Of course, the Women's Liberation Movement was only then starting to gather force. However, for all the good it has achieved since then, I think there still remains much to be done.Maybe at the level of couples it can be done, if we keep cool, but care.VERSE:Esther Got a Nose JobAfter years of childhood misery,Red-headed Esther got a nose job.One day the doctor removed her humpAnd returned it to her in a bottle.He thought it was such a great success,He gave her another hump for free.Pig's StoryTask force offGibraltarMoving forwardEn route To MaltaOn tar-colouredMediterraneanWaters underStars bloomingFat and sultry.The sort of nightWhen there's noTorpedoesOn the radarAnd Pig tellsUs all a storyAbout how he was Never caughtBehind the green doorThe night DoloresHeld an orgy.Nothing if Not ProfaneThey met mid-functionAt the Rusty Spoon.Although she's nowhereNear his age or size,He dreamed that he mightFind himself one nightAt the conjunctionOf her inner thighs.Voila, Vera Meroving![After and Mostly in the Words of Pynchon]Twin tendrils of sunlightIlluminated a crimson stainIn the courtyard of the Baroque plantation villa.A window swung openOn this fantastic dayTo reveal a striking woman In her forties, and otherwise, Barely clad, in a negligee,The hues of which werePeacock greens and blues,The fabric transparent,But not especially obscene.One Kurt Mondaugen,A crouching tiger, hid behindWrought iron curlicues, Astonished by his desireTo see and not be seen.If he waited long enough,A movement of the sun,This woman or the breeze,It might reveal to him,A voyeur, yes, it might rewardHis impatient gaze, his stare,With a glimpse of nipple,Her navel or some pubic hair.For Want of Godolphin[After and Mostly in the Words of Pynchon]Vera wanted GodolphinFor reasons he Could only guess.Her desire arose Out of nostalgia For the sensuous,Her appetiteKnew nothing at allOf nerves or heat,Or flesh or sweat,Or last night’s caress,But was instead beholden Entirely to barren,Touchless memory. Schoenmaker Offers to Make Esther Beautiful[After and Mostly in the Words of Pynchon]You are beautiful,Perhaps, not as you are,But as I see you.I, my love, yours truly,Want to give youSomething that Is truly yours.I can bring outThe beautiful girlInside you, latent,The idea of Esther,As I have done alreadyWith your face and nose.Do you think me so shallowThat I would only Love your body?Don’t you want meTo love your soul,The true you?Well, what is the soul?It is the idea of the body,The abstraction behindThe reality, the perfect EstherBehind the imperfect one Here in bone and tissue.Just an hour of timeIn my plastic surgery.I could bring your soulOutside, to the surface.I could make youPerfect, radiant,UnutterablyBeautiful and Platonically ideal.Then I could love youUnconditionally,Truly, madly, deeply, dearly.

  • MJ Nicholls
    2018-11-24 19:21

    So I opted to tango once more with Thomas. The results are a mix of the same frustrations I had with the first 150 pages of Gravity’s Rainbow (dropped thereafter), and a newfound appreciation for the most famous maximilist’s skill for writing sentences of incredible inventiveness, rhythm, and frenetic lunacy. After 300-odd pages of this novel, the niggles (new and old) returned—the introduction of innumerable madcap characters and their endless zing-flinging dialogue in the same voice; the overabundance of plots and their incoherent-seeming natures; the constant battle to nail a lucid understanding of every third or fifth sentence; the repeated use of ‘whaa’ in the mouth of too many characters; the painstaking detail and brilliance of contextless scenes that could not be appreciated without sufficient foregrounding or a roadmap; the guilt at feeling ennui when so much is happening on the page that screams ‘appreciate this’!; the screwball humour that lapses into searing pain through excess—and reading to the end turned to work. On the plus side, for the first 300-odd pages, I was zipping along on Thomas’s often divine prose style, allowing myself to be taken into weird and wonderful places, regardless of their driftless-seeming drift, and for a few days, I at last had a window into what ecstasy the Thomas fanboys experience when reading their man. It went many, many places, and somehow also nowhere, and for a little while, I ‘liked’ Thomas Pynchon. Triumph!

  • Madeleine
    2018-12-06 19:38

    I propose that the titular "V." is neither a person nor a place but a preposition.What, really, is more personal than a first novel? It's that all-or-nothing, balls-to-the-wall debut effort that can either send a fledgling writer plummeting to dream-shattering depths with an effort that falls flat for any number of reasons or it can be the inaugural celebration all starry-eyed young scribes dare to hope for, that which heralds a staggering new talent to a canon populated by the many great wordslingers who've scribbled their way to well-deserved immortality. (For argument's sake, we'll work under the assumption that those flimsy flavor-of-the-month bestsellers that are so in vogue for their seemingly eternal 15 minutes will, in time, be forgotten and written off as yet another regrettable mistake born of groupthink's lapse in judgment while these truly remarkable feats of literature persist through the ages.)If one is to write what one knows, how daunting must it be to know so much about such a wide range of complicated topics -- minute historical details of a time one either never experienced or was simply too young to fully digest, regardless of youthful precociousness; engineering equations requiring mathematical acrobatics and a more than adequate grasp on physics; an insider's take on the naval experience; an innate understanding of how to perfectly mix high-minded concepts and lowbrow humor with a dash of poetic lyric -- and attempt to whittle it all down into a tome that won't crush potential readers under the weight of both the volume itself and the awe-inspiring ideas roiling within?The little we do know about literature's most elusive enigma points to pieces of Pynchon being flung along the narrative's parade route like confetti, adding flashes of biographical color to his intricately structured and beautifully written first novel that pits the animate against the inanimate and the internal self against the external veneer (and has the best-ever bonus of an Ayn Rand stand-in reduced to baby-talk in the presence of a pwecious widdle kittums-cat?). Aside from what can only be thinly veiled allusions to his Cornell days with Richard Fariña and their cult of Warlock -- regarding the Generation of '37: "And we did like to use Elizabethan phrases in our speech"; "A farewell celebration for Maratt on the eve of his marriage"; "Dnubietna leapt up on the table, upsetting glasses, knocking the bottle to the floor, screaming "Go to, caitiff!" It became the cant phrase for our "set": go to."; "The pre-war University years were probably as happy as he described, and the conservation as "good."", to say nothing of the nod to a novel called Existential Sheriff -- the internal conflicts of the writer seem to be scattered throughout V. like a breadcrumb trail back to the source himself.Because Pynchon has be one conflicted dude. To be a notoriously private man juggling such derision for the spotlight with the compulsion to write for unseen but rabid fans, to churn out maddeningly, densely obscure works that are nevertheless guaranteed to meet both critical and commercial success (and increase sales of Excedrin in the following months), to posses such finely tuned right and left brains that he can be considered nothing less than an engineer-poet in his own right, to walk such a fine line between historical fictions and fictional histories -- is it any wonder that a man so in touch with dueling perspectives would build his first novel on the foundation of This v. That?

  • Vit Babenco
    2018-11-16 22:24

    “Say a man is no good for anything but jazzing around. He'll go live in a cathouse, he'll jazz it all over town.”When I’ve been reading V. I couldn’t get out of dictionaries and encyclopedias – the book is a carnival of words and ideas.People like anything: gossip, rumours, hearsay, tall tales, myths – the only thing they don’t like is truth…“Geronimo stopped singing and told Profane how it was. Did he remember the baby alligators? Last year, or maybe the year before, kids all over Nueva York bought these little alligators for pets. Macy's was selling them for fifty cents, every child, it seemed, had to have one. But soon the children grew bored with them. Some set them loose in the streets, but most flushed them down the toilets. And these had grown and reproduced, had fed off rats and sewage, so that now they moved big, blind, albino, all over the sewer system. Down there, God knew how many there were. Some had turned cannibal because in their neighborhood the rats had all been eaten, or had fled in terror.”V. is a luscious and scrumptious salad of baroque urban legends, frilly drinking bouts and fanciful history lessons.“Love's a lash, Kisses gall the tongue, harrow the heart; Caresses tease Cankered tissue apart. Liebchen, come Be my Hottentot bondsman tonight, The sjambok's kiss Is unending delight. Love, my little slave, Is color-blind; For white and black Are only states of mind.”And the novel language is a quintessence and epitome of that rebellious, tumultuous and alchemical epoch.“To have humanism we must first be convinced of our humanity. As we move further into decadence this becomes more difficult.” And somewhere in the wings of history stands a cosmic actress – a capricious, mercantile, decadent and frigid harlot.And this omnipotent cocotte is entropy. And entropy rules equally the doom of a soap bubble and the fate of a human being, therefore any human life is nothing but a soap bubble.

  • Jimmy
    2018-11-24 23:22

    "A phrase (it often happened when he was exhausted) kept cycling round and round, preconsciously, just under the threshold of lip and tongue movement: "Events seem to be ordered into an ominous logic." It repeated itself automatically and Stencil improved on it each time, placing emphasis on different words-"events seem"; "seem to be ordered"; "ominous logic"-pronouncing them differently, changing the "tone of voice" from sepulchral to jaunty: round and round and round. Events seem to ordered into an ominous logic. He found paper and pencil and began to write the sentence in varying hands and type faces."As wartime paranoia, obsessiveness, elusiveness, and ambiguity all seem to be trademark characteristics of Thomas Pynchon's more epic narratives, it's easy enough for the reader to constantly stumble upon these intentionally scattered, meta-clues. Because his novels cover such a broad realm of subjects, while proposing a very unique, and humorous philosophy of history, the connections and transitions of V.'s hodgepodge of vignettes concerning a rich tapestry of characters struggling with both World Wars becomes more and more apparent as the "story" reaches its conclusion. Overall, this passage seems to function as an accurate metaphor for what it feels like to read V..With his eagerly anticipated seventh novel coming out in August of this year, V. now stands as one of his more accessible works, not to mention a fascinating example of his writing to look back upon in retrospect. Benny Profane is the archetypal Pynchonian schlemihl; an endearing protagonist, merely trying to get by as the rest of the world struggles obsessively with finding existential meaning in a universe full of closed systems. Tyrone Slothrop of Gravity's Rainbow would later act as a more carefully constructed version of this character. While it's true that not all of Pynchon's protagonists are slackers simply looking for a good time, they still function as tour guides who offer a more or less objective view of the events taking place. Even Herbert Stencil who exists as sort of an opposite of Profane, still shares a set of common characteristics, namely, humility or humanity. Call it what you will.We follow Profane after just getting out of the navy, living in New York. He falls in with a crowd of bohemians and drifters referred to as the Whole Sick Crew. This group resembles the social crowd in the Recognitions as well as characters belonging to any standard party scene in a beat novel (albeit far more tolerable, and acting as intentional parodies). Profane loafs around, finds a job hunting alligators in the sewers of New York. After shooting Stencil in the ass on one of his jobs more characters enter the picture, and we are introduced to Stencil's obsessive quest to find the elusive V., a sort of character that his father before him had been fascinated with. From there the narrative drifts back and forth between historical episodes set during the tail end of the 19th century, and the first half of the 20th. Pynchon's sympathies have always been directed at the marginalized, poor, oppressed, idealistic, liberal, etc. Even when he sketches portraits of his capitalist, fascist, hateful villains, he still manages to show their early development from wide-eyed, idealistic dreamer to avaricious monster, while avoiding a sort of idealistic bias because he presents the reader with the inherent weakness and hypocrisy of his liberal heroes just as well. Gaddis did the same thing with Wyatt Gwyon and Edward Bast, albeit both met more morbid, Faustian ends. V. functions as a metaphor for the late twentieth century, synthetic dehumanization, which has now become one of the more blatant examples of postmodern theorizing, but in 1961 this all must have read as more of a prescient idea. Several episodes in the book, as ambiguous as they are, sort of portray "her" as an unattainable object of desire. The fourth chapter entitled "In Which Esther Gets a Nose Job" is the earliest introduction to this theme. Naturally, Shoenmaker the man who performs this operation, later to become her insensitive lover is the first sort of villain to appear. Robots modeled after humans appear later on. Profane has a particularly profound and hilarious conversation with one of them. Pynchon utilizes this theme as a way of revealing how human beings desire this sort of mechanical, empty ontology, as a way of escaping their own horrific human condition. Once again, this is why Profane's character is so very important. He exemplifies the human spirit. In his lackadaisical approach to life, he achieves what is of the utmost importance to Pynchon. The ability to merely exist, and deal, regardless of whatever sort of astronomical terror will abound. Another reason why his own unique brand of historical fiction functions so well. What's more horrifying than the first half of the twentieth century?

  • Sean Wilson
    2018-11-21 02:22

    Thomas Pynchon... twenty six years old... first novel... twenty six... first novel... twenty six?Reads like The Adventures of Tintin on hallucinogens. Full of great comic scenes mixed with political espionage and paranoia amidst philosophical comments on the nature of politics, religion, death, time, sexuality and war. V. is undeniably complex and I can admit that there were moments of mind numbing confusion, but the book is so beautifully written that you just go for the ride. It's a haunting and frequently hilarious postmodern satire.V., to me, represents enlightenment, or finality. The quest itself is a long journey, hence the time and globe spanning nature of the story. The book itself is like a series of interconnecting short stories that sweeps through the majestic settings of New York, Paris, Malta, Egypt, Africa and Alexandria. The nature of V seems nurturing, motherly and caring in times of stress and suffering. Pynchon is operating on a metaphysical plain, where particles and matter can be seen and felt and the world is different from our own 20/20 vision. V is eventually seen, felt and experienced for those who are willing to take the necessary steps. Too many times are we fed little slices of fear from the characters who contemplate the nature of dying, growing old, separation from mans ignorance. These men in search of V are, in some way, in search of an ego death, to cure their fears in the face of God, a maternal presence of spirit, a being of upmost enlightenment.Obviously, there is so much more packed into this near 500 page novel, but that's what I got out of it first time around. Political theory is examined extensively through different countries and characters. Sexuality and youth seems prevalent within The Whole Sick Crew. There are some comments on the Christian Church and Christianity in general. Freudian psychology, science and mathematics pop up and colonialism is touched on as well.Or you could be a schlemihl and take Benny Profane's approach: "I haven't learned a godammn thing."

  • Dave-O
    2018-12-06 02:33

    Reading Thomas Pynchon's first novel is like plunging head first into a room with very little light. As the novel progresses, Pynchon regulates that light sometimes letting the reader see very clearly, narratively speaking, and other times enveloping the reader into near darkness.The two main characters are discharged Naval officer Benny Profane the self-described "schlemiel" and Stencil, the hunter of the elusive woman/idea known only as V. Though not exact opposites, their destinies do not intersect until the last part of the book. Profane's story is the more traditional narrative of the two as he passively wanders into alligator hunting, bar brawls, and an enigmatic security job. Profane with his friends known as "The Whole Sick Crew" could be Pynchon's alter ego and could be also an amalgamation of Naval and literary figures.The breadth of Pynchon's encyclopedic knowledge comes through with the emergence of Stencil as he wanders through time and multiple identities taking up his father's mission to find V. V wanders time and space (presumably though- its never clear) showing up in 19th century British Egypt, as a rat in a New York City sewer, and (in a very difficult chapter) as a "bad preist" mangled by children in the ruins of World War II. Pynchon's strokes are most broad in sub-stories regarding a German colony in South Africa and later in another chapter surrounding an impaled ballerina that entrances V.The connections are not often clear but the indictments of colonialism and war ring true. V is a challenging must-read postwar American whirlwind that remains consistent in its aggressively cubist tone.

  • Nathan
    2018-12-07 02:23

    It’s a long distance from 1963 to 2009. The prior, V.’s pub date. The later, when I thought maybe I had found perhaps the Pynchon key in Inherent Vice. I unlocked a bunch of great stuff with that key. Fantastic stuff. Stuff I dug. Stuff I got lost in. Against the Day. The newest thing. That one from the early ‘90s. I’m still waiting to see if it fits Mason & Dixon. Gravity’s Rainbow is next, but I’ve already done 2/3 of that one and know I don’t need no damn key for it. That key doesn’t fit V..Well, at least it didn’t key it open in the kind of immediate manner a million+ candle Klieg might have brightened it up. In other words, to my only slight disappointment, it’s still the same damn novel it was back when I first tried my hand at it ages and ages ago with the mere assistance of Sam Adams. I don’t think Sam Adams or any of his kin are helpful in the reading of V.. And probably not helpful for reading other Pynchon either. But that might just be my thing about disavowing any pretense about drugs of various sorts making entertainment products better. Drugs are entertaining enough on their own without the supplement of other artistic genres. But speaking of drugs of various sorts, what one should point out is that the distance between 1963 and 2009 is a length of 46 years. That’s a pretty damn old Scotch. And I’ve never been able to afford one. These later vintage’d Pynchons have treated me very very well. And GR is being sweated with a great deal of anticipation by me. But this V. thing would require a third pass through to get itself cracked (or key’d, depending on our metaphor here) by Yours Truly. And it doesn’t need to be cracked by My Truly. You’ll do just fine with it. I liked lots of stuff it in though. To be sure. There’s a lot of that stuff that pops onto a wave length I’ve tuned myself to and I really like it and there’s other stuff where you know the sentences don’t really follow from themselves so much the way I prefer my sentences to follow themselves. And they really don’t need to. I really liked the way sentences followed themselves in Against the Day.On thing I really like about Pynchon, and a thing I noticed first when reading his 2006 novel, or maybe it was his 2009 novel, is that when you’re reading along and you get this recollection of something that happened a while ago and you start paging backward to find that thing that happened a while ago and you realize that what happened a while ago happened only three pages back not thirty pages back like you had anticipated because that’s how long back things like that usually happen in other novels you read. I had that experience with V. and really kind of appreciated it.I guess so the reason maybe why I’m hemming and hawing is that I sort of failed to do that part where the reader picks up his part of the task and sews the whole damn thing into a unity. And I know that with someone like a Pynchon that unity is designed to be frustrated, but dammit! there’s still a unity even within that fracturing. So the episodic stuff of course is de rigour these days and I dig it; making a novel out of a collection of short stories. Which is emphatically not what V. is. So with a bit of a synchronic approach I have no doubt that I’d be able to zip this thing into a proper novelistic unity were I to read it a fourth and fifth time. (I really can’t believe that in this post-structuralist age folks still think novels need to be written and read diachronically!) That’s not the thing. The thing is, the thing that sort of bugged me or kicked me out or left me cold or didn’t work for me was the way the sentences didn’t exactly follow themselves. And thank the gods they didn’t! because in 1961 The Novel needed some shaking up. And I’m glad Pynchon shook it up. And I’m glad he continued to write novels because I think he’s written some of the Best Novels Ever. This is just not quite one of them. Maybe. Still and all, it’s Pynchon so lots of good people will read it. Some will love it. Some will move on with great Begeisterung back to GR and M&D. (That’s me!)

  • Geoff
    2018-11-24 00:14

    Ignore talk below of my previously setting this aside - I am giving it try #2 and am enjoying it much more - perhaps it's the timing - it begins on Christmas Eve and the first chapters unfold during the week between Christmas and the new year...

  • Nate D
    2018-12-17 22:36

    What to say of Pynchon's half-century spanning epic? Like Gravity's Rainbow, Pynchon's first novel (published, I think, at an astonishing age 26) is concerned with questions of life and death, here both at the internal, personal scale of our relations to people, things, and the outer world, and on a broad international scale of war, colonialism, and political intrigue. Linking the two, Herbert Stencil, adventurer and obsessed historian, tracking the intertwined history of his British foreign office agent father and the enigmatic V., represented in various forms across 50 years in a slow progression towards the inanimate. Questions of the animate and inanimate worlds serve as central life/death dichotomy here, and the novel is filled to the brim with significant objects, automatons, prostheses, and bouts of tourism/colonialism (both of which, it seems, are joined in their ability to take a living place and convert it to small spheres of inanimacy, both literal, in a truly chilling Sudwest setpiece, and metaphorical, everywhere else people cluster around notable buildings and monuments (embodied by frequent references to mid 19th-century travel guide writer Karl Baedeker)). Stencil himself, curiously, seems to be one of only a few characters in the teeming cast not occupying an obvious spot on an animate to inanimate continuum, as his obsessions simultaneously encompass the human and inhuman worlds (people, but lost to the unliving past). His off-the-scale foil is ultimate sad-sack ex-seamen Benny Profane, whose role as uber-schlemiel seemingly places him at both the far left position of animacy (the born bungler's natural enemy, we are told, being the inanimate objects that conspire to trip them up like so many banana peels (which, fortunately, appear nowhere in the novel -- it would just be too much)) and the deepest inanimacy of sloth and of one who, giving in to his perceived (self-created?) role, inevitably sabotages every human relationship he finds himself in. Potential Profane paramour Rachel Owlglass, on the other hand, may sit at the fulcrum and be as a result the novel's healthiest character overall.What can be said? Lots apparently, and yet much, much more than I can possibly describe here. What matters most is that the novel is beautiful and tragic, a marvel of both clockwork convergent plotting and the ultimate nonconvergent spinout of human passions. And one which manages to be considerably more gripping and less opaque than some of the subsequent Pynchon I've read. I've seen the book described elsewhere as "cubist". It is an accurate term, evoking both the book's violent modernism and chorus of impossible angles. Angles which, we find, are still capable of describing a human portrait.

  • Michael Finocchiaro
    2018-12-04 01:39

    The search for the identity of V is the primary question in this masterwork from Pynchon. It is funny and tragic and crazy and totally Pynchon. I honestly cannot remember everything this book - it does not stick in my memory as much as Mason&Dixon, Gravity's Rainbow or Against the Day. I mean, I loved the pleasure of reading it. But months later, I remember just the story of the genocide in Africa and some other snapshots but overall the image remains vague. Perhaps I read too much Pynchon in too short a time? I definitely will need to reread this one again.

  • Stian
    2018-12-11 01:36

    Thomas Pynchon has written some of the best pieces of English fiction that I've ever read. He projected worlds in Against the Day and in Mason & Dixon that were amazing, magical, utterly enthralling. The world he tries to project in V., however, went over my head. The writing feels upolished, unrefined, not really the Pynchon I've grown used to. The sub-plots and digressions, which are rambling to an extreme degree even for Pynchon's standards, are less-than-stellar most of the time. Except for some funny moments -- some sewer crocodile hunting in New York, and a somewhat unusual bus ride towards the end of the book, to mention two of few -- there happens almost nothing here that is noteworthy, nothing, to my mind, that is particularly memorable. There are glimpses here and there of what Pynchon is capable of, but for the most part, this book is simply not any fun. The themes so present in, say, Against the Day are here too to some degree, but as with the writing, the themes' presentation feels unrefined. You know, the duality thing, change (universal and political), the nature of knowledge and, well, everything, the opposites: like it says on the back of the book, one man "looking for something he has lost, the other with nothing much to lose." There are Wittgenstein references and hints of something philosophical under the surface, but it's impossible to garner the strength (or will, if you will) to really care about all that and to dive deeper into it when the book is generally so boring. A massive disappointment.

  • Mariel
    2018-12-01 02:24

    I'm suffering from a painfully drawn out flu so I feel bad enough already. It can't be made worse by trying to review V. on gr. (If I wanna hit my head in frustration, well, it already hurts plentiful.)V. was my first Thomas Pynchon. I chose it because it was cheapest (used). I like discounts. The notes in the margins for a college paper were fun too. I'm proud of my mercenary side. Now the self-congratulations end and I'll wrestle my mind and alligators in those mental gutters to convey why this is one of my favorite books. Benny Profane and the Whole Sick Crew. (Love those guys.) Getting through life without sketching circles in the sand. Yeah, going through life not quoting the philosopher Belinda Carlisle (it's too late for me). (Slacker characters appeal to me. I have an inferiority complex. It's torture to read fantasy novel after fantasy novel about over-achievers.) He Ventures out and has another friend, Herbert Stencil (stencilling in the sand? Shutup, Mariel) who sets him on his quest for the mysterious Victoria. I'm not gonna win this battle. There's no Victoria for me. It's gonna eat me alive. (Shit, maybe I need to consult that kid's notes.) (Because I never shutup: we'll get a "V" on our paper. V for venarial diseased.)My pet alligator wants me to write that this book is about alligators who live in the sewers of New York City. (Her name is Gatorella. I can tell she is a she because of the bow on top of her head. Gators are reptiles and therefore don't have penises. Not that I checked.) (Could've been mutated into pizza loving ninjas in those sewers where people dump all manners of things like radioactive chemicals, in addition to taking a dump, after all. Anything is possible.) Shutup, you cold-blooded monster. It is not! There are alligators in the book though, those mythic gators flushed down the sewers when their humans (rightfully!) grew tired of them. I remember vividly reading Benny's time in those sewers, hunting and feeling hunted, not just by toilet reptiles but by nagging thoughts of right and wrong. (Gatorella says she wants to flush my review down the toilet.)Argh. Yeah, it's dense and rambling and worth it for the spending of the time. Benny Profane, Stencil and the poet Fausto. V. connects to them as a circle: round and round unprogressively. And a line, like a connecting thread between them, because Pynchon does get somewhere about history and how it fucks with us. History doesn't make sense, and only rarely do we get to see the little man (or angel) it made in the snow. It takes its toll. Any place, any time.It's easier to review books one doesn't like. Like breaking up with someone and you can name some reason to explain everything away (if it doesn't cut it. It just is what it is, is all) and explaining love is really hard to do if you're me. I like to ramble. I like reading the ramblings and looking for the happy and sad moments of clarity in the engaging messes. I know I felt something. That's love for me. Now I'll get eaten because Benny didn't kill all those gators.p.s. I like the Sarah Silverman joke about getting raped by a doctor being bittersweet for a Jewish girl. Reminded me of Rachel.

  • Lane Wilkinson
    2018-12-05 19:16

    EDIT: I give up again. 'V' is a travesty of juvenile puns, unconvincing dialogue, and (my own pet peeve) characters with impossibly trite names. Seriously, what gives? EDIT: I decided to try reading it again.have you ever had the feeling that an author is simply trying to bludgeon you over the head with abstruseness? have you ever read one of those books that all of the "serious readers" swear is an infallible masterpiece, despite its meat-fisted appropriation of the stylistic innovations of Eliot, Pound, Joyce, Woolf, et al.? If you haven't, then read 'V'. (seriously, though, 'V' is a great book. i just read it too soon after my Ezra Pound phase, and it sort of rang hollow and derivative. i'm sure i'll love it when i read it again in a few years.)

  • Mk Tantum
    2018-12-15 21:24

    From this book I learned that:a) Thomas Pynchon may be the smartest man alive.b) Pynchon's vocabulary is one of the most extensive I've ever come across.c) Reading Pynchon is tedious and often unpleasant.Even with the companion and a book discussion group, reading this novel was like wading through a bog. Every time I grasped the plot, I'd lose track of Pynchon's message, and every time I caught a glimpse of the message, I lost the plot.No wonder the man's a recluse. Talking to him must be like spending an afternoon with Stephen Hawking.

  • Οδυσσέας Μουζίλης
    2018-11-24 20:35

  • J.L. Sutton
    2018-12-17 03:28

    Thomas Pynchon's V is one of my favorite novels (it's on my rotating list of favorites which also includes Dostoevsky's The Idiot, Leslie Marmon Silko's Almanac of the Dead and a few others). Describing it is next to impossible (for me at least). V seems like it's about so many things, but when you stop to think about it, it's not about any of those things at all, but something else. The main protagonists include Benny Profane, Rachel Owlglass, Stencil, a group of artists known as the Whole Sick Crew and a mysterious entity known as V. Pynchon goes back and forth in time between Profane's yo-yoing on the subways in Manhattan in the present (or what was the present when Pynchon wrote this novel) to Stencil's search for clues to V's identity in the late 19th and early 20th century. This isn't the easiest of books to tackle, but if you want to experience Pynchon, you might give The Crying of Lot 49 a try. It's not as difficult, but definitely another great book!

  • FrancoSantos
    2018-11-17 21:38

    3.5Notas tomadas durante la lectura:(view spoiler)[ V., de Thomas Pynchon. (Puede contener errores).Benny Profane: Marinero. USS Scaffold, viejo buque de él y Pig. Comportamiento yo-yo: no se lleva bien con los objetos inanimados, es por eso que no puede permanecer a ningún lugar. Beatrice: Exnovia de Profane. Camarera.Beatrice, Buffo: Otra camarera, dueña del Sailor's Grave.En el Sailor's Grave todas las camareras comparten el mismo nombre. Todas se llaman Beatrice.Ploy: Marinero al que le sacaron los dientes y le dieron una buenísima dentadura postiza.Dewey Gland: Amigo de Ploy. Toca la guitarra.Pig Bodine: Antiguo compañero de Profane.Pappy Hod: Esposo de Paola, camarera del S. G. Ahora separados.Paola Maijstral: Esposa de Pappy Hod. Camarera. 16 años. Le gusta Profane. Morris Teflon: Amigo de Pig. Rachel Owlglass: Expareja de Profane. Amante de su MG (motocicleta). Da Conho: Exjefe de Profane. Tenia una ametralladora, pero se la robaron.Duke Wedge: Asesino a sueldo. Rachel engañaba a Profane con él. Profane le pinchó todos los preservativos como venganza.Rachel le pide a Profane que vaya a NY. Profane le dice a Paola que vaya ella con Rachel.Kook: Conoce a Profane en el tren. Hace un numero musical para ganar dinero.José: Conoce a Profane en el tren. Hace un numero musical para ganar dinero.Tolito: Conoce a Profane en el tren. Hace un numero musical para ganar dinero.Angel: Hermano de Kook. Caza caimanes.Josefina Mendoza: Hermana de Kook. Conoce a Profane en el tren.Jerónimo: Amigo de Ángel.Profane se suma a cazar caimanes en las alcantarillas de NY.Mister Zeituss: Jefe de Ángel y Jerónimo, del proyecto para matar caimanes de las alcantarillas de NY.Raoul-Slab-Melvin: Amigos. La Dotación Enferma. Artistas.Slab tiene una relación ligera con Rachel.Esther Harvitz: Amiga de Rachel, compañera de piso con Paola. Le pide dinero a Rachel. Que le haya pedido dinero para operarse la nariz con el doctor Shoenmaker fue el desencadenante de un problema.Rachel, Esther, Paola viven juntas en el mismo piso.Shoenmaker: Cirujano plástico. Tiene como ayudantes de una chica llamada Irving y a un chico llamado Trench, que es delincuente juvenil. Tiene algo que ver con V.Herbert Stencil: La madre de Stencil desapareció. Su padre (Sidney Stencil), que trabajó en el Foreign Office, investigó los Desordenes de Junio en Malta. Cuando murió, le dejó a Herbert, su hijo, papeles manuscritos que hablan de una misteriosa mujer, V. Stencil la busca desde entonces. Shoenmaker parece que tiene algo que ver con V., y Stencil lo anda pinchando para que le diga lo que sabe. Stencil es amigo de Esther.McClintic Sphere: Saxofonista. Toca en el V-Note.Winsome, Charisma y Fu: Chicos que estaban en el V-Note escuchando a McClintic. Paola también estaba con ellos. Tiene algo que ver con Winsome, Charisma y Fu.Salto de Tiempo 1 (capitulo tres):Egipto. Porpentine Goodfellow, uno de los colegas del padre de Stencil, murió en el duelo en Egipto por Eric Bongo-Shaftsbury. Espias.Fiesta en el consulado de Austria. Porpentine y un gordo hablan en un bar. Planean asesinar a Sir Alastair Wren, poderoso miembro del Parlamento Britanico. Bongo-Shaftsbury es el amante de Victoria Wren, hija de Alastair. Porpentine y el gordo son anarquistas. Bongo-Shaftsbury se hacia pasar el amante de Victoria para quitarle dinero a Alastair. Victoria parece que simpatiza con los anarquistas.Yusef: Anarquista. Presente en la fiesta del consulado.Sirdar Kitchener: Héroe ingles. Victorioso en Jartum. Está a 600 km del Nilo Blanco. General Marchand: En las proximidades del Nilo Blanco (francés).Gran Bretaña no quería que Francia interviniera en el Valle del Nilo. M. Delcassé, ministro de Asuntos Exteriores francés. Estos dos países podrían entrar en guerra.Maxwell Rowley-Bugge: Pedófilo. Peregrino. Ama a Alice. Se encuentra con Victoria, Mildred, Porpentine, Bongo-Shaftsbury y un tal Lepsius en la fiesta. Se va a ir a Alejandría.Waldetar: Portugués viviendo en Egipto, judio. Nita, novia o esposa, espera un hijo de él. Se encuentra en el tren con Porpentine, Mildred, la hermanita de Victoria, y Bongo-Shaftsbury, quien perseguía a la niña para mostrarle una máquina conectada a su cerebro.Porpentine golpea a un árabe (?).Gebrail: Espera el Último Dia. Ve a Porpentine. Borracho. Musulmán.Girgis: Ladrón.Porpentine se encuentra en la joyería de Lesius (?).Bongo-Shaftsbury quiere matar a Porpentine por acostarse con Victoria.Hanne: Trabaja en una cervecería alemana. Boeblich, el propietario. Amante de Lesius. Habla con alguien que quiere matar a Porpentine. Tiene miedo de estar enferma. Fashoda: El Incidente de Fachoda o Crisis de Fachoda es el nombre con el que se conocen los episodios que tuvieron lugar en 1898 cuando Francia y Reino Unido deciden construir sendas líneas de comunicaciones destinadas a conectar sus respectivas colonias africanas de manera ininterrumpida.Jardín de Ezbekiyeh: El asesinato de Porpentine.Victoria: V.-------------------------------------------------------------Esther y Shoenmaker tienen una relación.Shoenmaker durante la Primera Guerra estuvo en las Fuerzas Expedicionarias Estadounidenses.Shoenmaker se hizo cirujano por el trauma de ver a Evan Godolphin, un piloto a quien el amaba, desfigurado. Evan luego fue víctima de una reconstrucción mal hecha por el doctor Halidom.Stencil está también interesado en Godolphin. ¿Tiene relación con V.?En las alcantarillas hubo una vez un sacerdote, Linus Fairing, loco que creía que las ratas iban a ser el futuro del mundo. Ese sacerdote vivía en las alcantarillas con esos animales y hablaba con ellos y los bautizaba y etc. Entre esas ratas había una que resaltaba por sobre todas: Veronica, V.Roony Winsome (el que estaba en el bar con Charisma y Fu y Paola): Es ejecutivo de una empresa discográfica, Outlandish Records. Busca nuevas curiosidades musicales. Le gusta Paola.Mafia: Mujer de Roony Winsome. Escritora. Relación en decadencia.Stencil también fue a cazar caimanes. Le dispararon. Bodine fue mandado por Pappy Hod (exesposo de Paola) para que viera a Paola. Hod está en el Mediterráneo.Rachel, Fu, Paola, Bodine, Esther, Winsome, Raoul-Slab-Melvin y Stencil: todos se conocen y se llevan bien.Josefina y Profane están en una relacion. Josefina es una especie de figura espiritual de un grupo de bandidos llamados Playboys. El jefe de Josefina (Fina) es Winsome.Profane abandona a los Mendoza. Se terminaron los caimanes para cazar. Busca trabajo y techo.Salto de Tiempo 2 (capitulo siete):Dudley Eigenvalue: Dentista de Stencil. Tiene una dentadura falsa guardada hasta que encuentre a la mandíbula perfecta para su uso.Evan Godolphin. En Florencia. Fue a visitar a su padre, Hugh Godolphin. Hugh le mandó un telegrama para que lo fuera a ver.Cesare, Mantissa y un Gaucho planean robar un cuadro de Botticelli: El nacimiento de Venus, en el consulado venezolano.Aparece nuevamente Victoria, esta vez como casi monja, convertida al catolicismo.Victoria conoce a Hugh Godolphin, quien le cuenta sobre su expedición a Vheissu, un lugar fantástico y cuasimitológico.Gente lo busca a Hugh para saber sobre esa expedición.La policía atrapa al Gaucho en el consulado y cuando lo interrogan le preguntan sobre Vheissu, a lo que el Gaucho responde que no sabe nada. Moffit: Compañero de S. Stencil.Sidney Stencil entrevista al Gaucho para saber sobre Vheissu. El Gaucho le da un mensaje a Evan Godolphin para que se lo entregue a un tal Cuernacabrón.Ferrante: Espía que detesta la política, se encuentra con una señora que le dice cosas secretas sobre Vheissu.Hugh Godolphin y su hijo Evan se encuentran con Raf Mantissa y Cesare en un bar. Hablan de Vheissu. Moffit los espía.Godolphin padre e hijo abandonan Florencia con el cuadro de Botticelli.--------------------------------------------------------Profane, desempleado, busca trabajo. Encuentra una agencia y la que lo entrevista es su examante, Rachel Owlglass. A Profane lo contratan como vigilante.Stencil se encuentra con Kurt Mondaugen, ingeniero de Yoyodyne.La historia de Mondaugen (Salto de Tiempo 3): Südwest, África, Guerra Herera.Mondaugen: Ingeniero. También aparece en GR.Se encuentra con una tal Vera Meroving, que podría ser V., Hedwig Vogelsang, que también podría ser V. Mondaugen asimismo se encuentra con Hugh Godolphin, que le habla sobre que va a ir al Polo Sur.Hugh se encuentra con Vera y hablan de Vheissu. Hugh dice que se terminaron las bromas, se termino Vheissu para ellos. ¿Invento todo lo de Vheissu como una broma, una fantasía de él para animar el tiempo?Hugh confunde a Mondaugen con su hijo Evan. Dice que "Ella" le dijo algo. Pueden volver a casa.-------------------------------------------------------------Sphere se acuesta con una prostituta, que se hace llamar Ruby.Profane termina trabajando como vigilante en la portería de una filial de Yoyodine.Ruby resulta ser Paola, quien le da a Stencil las confesiones de su padre.Historia de Fausto (Salto de Tiempo 4):Fausto Maijstral escribe un diario contando cómo la guerra cambió su poesía. En su diario se tocan temas como la religión, la verdad, el tiempo, el amor y, obviamente, la guerra. Todo sucede en Malta.El Mal Cura: ¿Una fuerza del mal?Elena: La madre de Paola y pareja de Fausto.(Fausto I, II, III son la misma persona).Valetta: ¿V.? La ciudad de Malta es vista como una especie de ente, como si tuviera vida. Esto quizá sea por la "inanimación" de Fausto, su dehumanización.El Mal Cura era una mujer, parece. Cuando le quitaron el sombrero vieron que uno de sus ojos era de cristal, y que parecía un reloj. ¿Hedwig Vogelsang?Al final del capitulo Stencil se pregunta si ha hallado a V. ------------------------------------------------------------Roony le propone a Paola (como Ruby) irse a Lenox con él. Paola no quiere.Esther está embarazada y discuten abortarlo en Cuba, a un precio barato.Rachel piensa en Profane.Winsome se trata de suicidar pero Pig Bodine lo salva (hilarante escena).Rachel encara a Slab en el aeropuerto por mal influenciar a Esther. En el mismo lugar Profane se encuentra con Fina.McClintic Sphere y Paola se van juntos. Paola le cuenta su historia.Profane es echado del trabajo de vigilante. Siente que ahora tiene una vida, y eso lo agobia, en especial en su relación con las mujeres.Stencil, Paola y Profane deciden viajar a Malta, más precisamente a La Valetta.Stencil y Profane roban la dentadura falsa de Eigenvalue como ofrenda a V.V. enamorada (Salto de Tiempo 5):Mélanie l'Heuremaudit: Bailarina que interpretara a Su Feng, una virgen que los invasores mongoles torturan hasta morir por proteger su condición de virgen.Interesantes discusiones sobre la decadencia humana. Despegarse de la humanidad y dotar a los objetos de esta. ¿El yo-yó de Profane? ¿Fausto y Valetta?M. Itague y Satin la reciben.Porcépic: Cantante del cabaré.La patrocinadora quiere hablar con Mélanie. La misteriosa mujer se lleva a Mélanie adonde vive. Luego se revela que es V., pero V. enamorada.V. se enamoró de Mélanie.Mélanie muere empalada. Se olvidó de ponerse el traje protector.V. desaparece.----------------------------------------------------------Pappy Hod llega en el Scaffold a Malta. Con los otros marineros habla de lo que van a hacer esa noche. Se emborrachan.Hod se encuentra con Profane y Paola. Paola le dice que lo quiere y que lo va a esperar en Norfork.Stencil habla con Fausto Maijstral, quien se muestra reacio a ayudarle en su búsqueda.Stencil habla con Avalanche. El predecesor del padre Avalanche es Fairing. Esto enloquece a Stencil, lo hace pensar que todo tiene un sentido. Paranoia.Profane se va con Brenda, una chica que encontró en la ciudad.Salto de Tiempo 6, Epílogo:Sidney Stencil es enviado a Malta junto con un tal Demivolt para espiar las pequeñas revoluciones del pueblo clamando ser independientes de Italia.El padre Fairing y Fausto son espías al mando de Stencil.Fairing decide renunciar porque siente que esta traicionando a Dios.La esposa de Fausto le pide a Stencil que libere a su esposo de su labor como espía, porque dice que lo está consumiendo.Stencil se encuentra con Veronica Manganese, V.Stencil habla con Veronica sobre que quieren lo mismo, que están del mismo lado: que Malta sea un país independiente. "Conservar a Malta separada de Italia".Godolphin es el protector de Veronica.Stencil muere yéndose en su barco en el Mediterráneo.Victoria Wren, Veronica Manganese, Hedwig Vogelsang, la amante de Mélanie = V., I presume... (hide spoiler)]

  • Paradoxe
    2018-12-03 01:36

    4+Ας γυρίσω σπίτι σκέφτεσαι. Βρίσκεις παρκάρισμα ακριβώς απέξω, σταθμεύεις, κατεβαίνεις, ψευτοχαμογελάς δεν ξέρεις γιατί χαίρεσαι κουτά που πάρκαρες αλφάδι. Ξεκλειδώνεις και μπαίνεις στο βασίλειο σου. Το φως είναι απαλό, μυστήριο συνήθως αφήνεις ένα πορτατίφ με σκληρή λάμψη, ώστε άμα γυρίζεις βράδυ οι κλέφτες να νομίζουν πως κάποιος είναι μέσα. Μπροστά σου βλέπεις ένα κύριο παχύ κι ατσούμπαλο, σε κοιτάει μ’ ενδιαφέρον, αλλά ανοίγει την πόρτα και φεύγει, πίσω του πέφτει ένα κομματάκι χαρτί, σκέφτεσαι ίχνος θα ‘ναι, μα όταν τ’ αγγίζεις δεν είναι παρά ίνες από κωλόχαρτο. Προχωράς περισσότερο –τι διάολο πως μεγάλωσε έτσι το σπίτι σου – συναντάς ένα κύριο που φορά λοξά ένα σεντόνι μπεζ, έχεις ήδη αρχίσει να παραλογίζεσαι, λες θα ‘ν αι κανάς αρχαίος απ’ αυτούς που βαριέσαι να διαβάζεις και παράτησες μαζί με το σχολείο, αντ’ αυτού τον ακούς να μονολογεί πως κάπου άφησε το Seiko του και δεν το βρίσκει κι έπειτα φεύγει χοροπηδηχτός. Μιας και το σκέφτηκες όμως ένας νεαρός, με μούσι και ακουστικά στο λαιμό, κρατά ένα παλιό ντίσκμαν, σε κοιτάει επιτιμιτικά ‘’γιατί’’ σε ρωτά ‘’άφησες τα αντικείμενα να σε κατευθύνουν; Έχει το αμάξι ψυχή; Γιατί όταν οδηγείς ώρες πολλές φιλάς το τιμόνι και του λες κάτι χαϊδευτικό, το νιώθεις ως επέκταση σου, όταν φεύγεις τσαντισμένος απ’ τη γκόμενα και λες θα με δει να περνώ με τ’ αμάξι και η εικόνα μας δικιά μου και τ’ αμαξιού θα την κάνει να νιώσει δέος γιατί είναι σα να προσπερνώ εγώ, μα είσαι εσύ που νιώθεις δέος, ματαιόδοξα για τον εαυτό σου που βρήκες τη δύναμη να φύγεις’’, όχι ρε δε σ’ αφήνει περιθώριο να απαντήσεις, σε παρατά και προχωρεί συνεχίζει να μιλάει, να αναρωτιέται, να φοβάται πως άργησε πολύ κι ο κόσμος πια είναι αιχμάλωτος των αντικειμένων, γι’ αυτό και τα κτίρια ερωτεύονται, οι κάδοι παραλογίζονται κι όλοι ζουν με το κεφάλι χαμηλά, προσπαθώντας ν’ αποκτήσουν. Μονολογεί μόνος του, ‘’άργησες Επίκτητε! Άργησες’’ με απογοήτευση. Μα γιατί αποκαλεί τον εαυτό του σε τρίτο πρόσωπο??? Και πως μπορεί να είναι ο Επίκτητος; Τι μυστήρια είναι αυτά; Αυτή τη φιγούρα την ξέρεις παρακάτω, κλασική φιγούρα Αϊνστάϊν. Έχεις πια καταλάβεις, δε θα σου φανεί παράξενο αν απ’ τα χείλη του δεις να βγαίνει ένα συννεφάκι – όχι το Ερωτευμένο – με εξισώσεις, αλλά αντ’ αυτού μιλάει … ιταλικά! Κι όμως εσύ περιέργως καταλαβαίνεις. Συζητά με ένα μελαγχολικό νεαρό, το βλέμμα σου πάει στη βιβλιοθήκη σου που φαίνεται ίδια, και καταλαβαίνεις πως ο Επιστήμων δίνει κουράγιο στον Καλβίνο, μόλις είχε γράψει τη Φωτογραφία. Ναι του λέει θα γίνουν επέκταση μας όλες μας οι επινοήσεις, δε θα μας βοηθούν, θα μας κατευθύνουν, θα κρυσταλλωνόμαστε σε πλαστές στημένες εικόνες, όλοι όμορφοι να περνάμε φανταστικά, βλέποντας στην προέκταση του χεριού μας συνδεδεμένα ηλεκτρονικά φωτογραφικά άλμπουμ –μόλις κατάλαβες ότι μιλάει για το κινητό τηλέφωνο – τρομάζεις, τώρα πια ξέρεις πως το V σε διαβάζει, όχι εσύ αυτό. Πως είναι δυνατόν, ο Pynchon να βλέπει καθαρά όλα αυτά το 1961 κι εσύ να είσαι τυφλός;;; Και γιατί ο Σπινόζα –ο Σπινόζα δεν είν’ αυτός; - ανταγωνίζεται στο ατάρι με ένα παπά; Αυτοί με τις πιτζάμες που τους πετούν σαϊτες μοιάζουν με το νεαρό Μαρξ και τη Μαρί Κιουρί. Ο Ένγκελς γιατί τρώει μαζί με τον Κόνραντ;Παρακάτω μια δεσποινίδα, όχι πολύ όμορφη, κοιτιέται σ’ έναν ατομικό καθρέφτη εντατικά κ σημειώνει σε κάποιο χαρτί κάτω απ’ τον τίτλο ‘’Αλλαγές’', έπειτα βλέπεις το βιβλίο πεταμένο καταγής, ήταν κάποιο θρησκευτικό βιβλίο που δεν ξέρεις αν αναγνωρίζεις. Δίπλα της τσακώνονται κι είναι έτοιμοι ν’ αρπαχτούν δυο τύποι. Αναγνωρίζεις σ’ εκείνον με την ένρινη φωνή και τα υγρά μάτια, το Χέγκελ, έτσι λες μέσα σου επιτόπου πως ο άλλος με τα λιωμένα παπούτσια πρέπει να ‘ναι ο Σοπενάουερ, μα μια φράση σε κάνει ν’ αλλάξεις γνώμη, δεν είσαι σίγουρος και τότε μια άλλη κοπέλα, όμορφη αλλά όχι σέξι, γυμνή, με στρογγυλά στήθη και ένα τσιγάρο στα χείλη σου ψιθυρίζει πως είναι ο Φόϋερμπαχ. Ουφ! Ποιος είναι πάλι τούτος; Δεν μπαίνεις στον κόπο να το σκεφτείς περισσότερο, αν και κάτι ψυχανεμίζεσαι για πνεύματα, θρησκείες, εκπαιδεύσεις, τέχνες, που ν’ ασχολείσαι, κάποιος τρελός συνειρμός του Πύντσον θα ‘ναι.Αχά! Αυτή η φάτσα είναι ελληνόφατσα, στέκει δίπλα σ’ ένα κοκκινοπρόσωπο φανερά μονόχνωτο τυπάκο, χοντρό με ξενέρωτα, αταίριαστα ρούχα κ παραδίπλα ένας πολύ σκούρος σαραντάρης με τριμμένο λαδί παντελόνι από τσόχα και πουκάμισο καρό. Τα μάτια σου κάνουν πουλάκια, σου μοιάζουν σαν τις τρεις χάριτες του 90 από ‘κεινο το κανάλι που σου ‘μαθε πως πρέπει να σκέφτονται οι άνθρωποι, αλλά όχι είναι άλλοι, δεν τους ξέρεις. Σε κοιτούν κι αναφωνούν μαζί ‘’η πολιτική είναι ψέμα’’ σε μια γλώσσα που τώρα πια καταλαβαίνεις πως είναι το μιξ που φοβόταν ο Καβάφης όταν έγραφε το Ποσειδωνιάται. Ακούγοντας τον Έλληνα, κάνεις φόκους και είναι σα να τον βλέπεις να σκέφτεται τον πρωθυπουργό του, αδιαφορείς για τη ματαιοδοξία στα λόγια του Άγγλου, θέλει να τον προσέξεις, μυρμήγκια σε ξύνουν παντού κοιτώντας τον Άραβα, ξέρεις πως είναι φανατισμένος. Μα που τα ξέρεις όλα αυτά, αναρωτιέσαι και με τέτοια βεβαιότητα….οι τρεις Χάριτοι ενώνονται, γίνονται μια πανέμορφη κοπέλα, αέρινη, πάλλευκη σε πλησιάζει, περιμένεις το φιλί, σου δαγκώνει το κάτω χείλος με δύναμη, ερωτικό μα και πονάει, σε χαστουκίζει, ψιθυρίζει ‘’όλα είναι σε μια διάσταση, ψάξε’’ κι εξαφανίζεται…Πανδαισίες χρωμάτων που ποτέ σου δε φαντάστηκες περνούν από μπροστά σου, δε στέκονται, στη μια εσύ, στην άλλη ένας γέρος κοιτάζει περίλυπος, ίσως είναι ο πατέρας σου και σαν φωτοστέφανο από πάνω του θαρρείς πως βλέπεις μια ρωμαλέα φασματική μορφή του από κάποιο παρελθόν, δεν κατάλαβα το αστείο σου γνέφει και καταλαβαίνεις κι ας μην ανταλλάξατε ούτε λέξη πως υπάρχει ένας ολόκληρος γκρεμός ανάμεσα σας, είναι εκείνος που δίνει, ο γιός στον πατέρα κι ας μη λησμονεί ποτέ την εποχή των χρόνων που γεννήθηκε κι είν’ ο πατέρας που δίνει, σ’ εκείνον που παίρνει το γιο, ενσταλάζει ότι κέρδισε με κόπο, τα πιο πολύτιμα μυστικά που μπόρεσε να βρει, μ’ αγάπη να μεταδώσει στο γιο του. Στο κέντρο όλων μια Βαβέλ. Τον βλέπεις πανώριο αυτό τον πύργο που υψώνεται κι υψώνεται διαρκώς μα τίποτα δε φαίνεται απειλητικό, έτοιμο θαρρείς να τον γκρεμίσει. Μια εξέγερση, ναι το περιμένεις, να μυρίσεις το αίμα, να βρεις τα κίνητρα για να λες αυτό είναι ζωή, χρόνια μετά σε κάποιο καναπέ, να γλυκαίνεσαι που κάποτε πήρες τα όπλα για πολέμους που δεν κατάλαβες, μα που σου δώσανε μια ευκαιρία να βρεις ένα κάποιο ιδανικό.Παραισθησία λέξεων, τόσες πολλές, τόσο μεγάλες, συνεχόμενες εξισώσεις λέξεων, πεπλεγμένες, με αγνώστους που δεν χωρίζονται κι ας είναι καταστάσεις υπαρκτές μόνο για όσους εμπλέκονται και συνηθισμένο νερό που κυλά και χάνεται στους υπονόμους, για όλους τους υπόλοιπους. Σαν ασημένιες, γυαλιστερές, θανατηφόρες μπίλιες εκτοξεύονται παντού οι χίλιες ιστορίες του καθενός και ολονών μας. Και κάθε τόσο η μεγάλη ιστορία αναγεννιέται μέσα από αναβρασμό και κάτω απ’ την ανάγκη κι από κάθε νέα Τροία, η Ελένη ξανά και ξανά. Υποβόσκει στο βλέμμα σου, στον ακκισμό που έκανε εκείνο το αγόρι κάθε που πέρναγες απ’ το μαγαζί του και τώρα σου φέρεται εχθρικά, στα ψιλά στο πορτοφολάκι το οβάλ που έγινε πάλι της μόδας με την έλευση του ευρώ, στο φασίστα που φωνάζει από κάποιο βήμα, στην ειρωνεία ενός δολοπλόκου δημοκρατικού, σε κάποιο κείμενο στο ίντερνετ, στη στημένη φωτογραφία που εκλιπαρεί για προσοχή, η Ελένη. Η μεγάλη θεά της επιθυμίας που προκάλεσε χίλιους πολέμους, που εξυμνείται απ’ τα έμβολα όταν βάζεις μπροστά το αυτοκίνητο, στο φως που ανάβει με το πάνω και σβήνει με το κάτω, στη σελίδα που γυρνάει δεξιά κι αριστερά, αλλά απ’ το πλάϊ είναι πάνω – κάτω. Γιατί παντού βρίσκεται ο έρωτας. Να ξεσκίσει, να ενσωματώσει, να κοροϊδέψει όλους τους πιστούς, η ιστορία καθενός και όλων μας. Η Ελένη.Αυτό που θαυμάζω στον Πύντσον είναι πως πρόκειται για πραγματικό συγγραφέα, στο είδος του και θεωρώ πως γι’ αυτό παραμένει αφανής. Ο συγγραφέας που είναι βυθισμένος στην αυτάρκεια του εαυτού του και βαυκαλίζεται με την αναγνωρισιμότητα ( κανένας μας δε μπορεί να αρνηθεί πως απολαμβάνει κάπου – κάπου ένα μικρό ποσό ματαιοδοξίας ) στερεί απ’ το γραπτό του κι από ‘μας κάτι πολύ σημαντικό: Δε μπορεί να κυκλοφορήσει ελεύθερος, ελεύθερα και να μιλήσει με τον οποιονδήποτε, να κινηθεί σε όλα μήκη και τις συχνότητες. Οι άνθρωποι να του κρυφτούν, να του αποκαλυφτούν, να έχει την ευκαιρία να τους μάθει, να τους δαμάσει, να τους αποστηθίσει, να σκεφτεί πάνω σε όσα βλέπει και να υψωθεί τελικά η φωνή του για όλους μας: να μοιραστεί, να προσφέρει, να βοηθήσει. Και ο Πύντσον αυτό ήθελε πάντοτε να κάνει, να μπορεί να κυκλοφορεί, να μαθαίνει, να επεξεργάζεται και να αποκαλύπτει, να ζητάει το λόγο.Τα κείμενα του είναι δυσνόητα, χαοτικά, σκοτεινά και γι’ αυτό δεν έχει αποκτήσει εχθρούς. Θέλει σκέψη και θέληση για να διαβάσεις Πύντσον. Υπάρχουν πέντε τρόποι για να περιγράψεις μια βόλτα με τα πόδια που κάθε τόσο γυρνάς το κεφάλι δεξιά, μετά αριστερά, κάπου στέκεσαι, αλλού αλλάζεις πορεία και παρατηρείς, παίρνεις το χρόνο σου να καταγράψεις, να διαλογιστείς, να μυρίσεις. Γιατί υπάρχουν πέντε τρόποι; Γιατί δε μπορείς να συμπεριλάβεις τα πάντα, επειδή δεν είσαι ο Πύντσον. Θα περιγράψεις στη γκόμενα σου κάτι που σου έκανε εντύπωση, ένα επεισόδιο που είδες να εκτυλίσσεται μπροστά σου, κάποιο αντικειμενάκι σε μια βιτρίνα που σε τράβηξε, μια γιαγιά που δε μάζεψε το σκατό του σκύλου και το πάτησες, αλλά όχι όλα. Δε θα αντλήσεις από όλα, τουλάχιστον άμεσα. Θα παραμείνουν όμως σαν εικόνα για κάποιο καιρό μέσα σου, στη σκέψη σου. Ο Πύντσον είναι σαν τη σκέψη σου, θα περιγράψει τα πάντα, στο χρόνο που συμβαίνουν, δηλαδή τώρα. Όλα τα φόντα μαζί, όλες τις κινήσεις, όλους τους ανθρώπους. Θα το κάνει με ενάργεια αλλά σαν τις αχτίδες του ήλιου σε μια στυλώνεις το βλέμμα, δε μπορείς σε όλες μαζί. Γι’ αυτό και τα γραπτά του είναι λίγο απ’ όλα, λίγο λογοτεχνία, λίγο φιλοσοφία, δημοσιογραφία, φιλοσοφική ανάλυση, ψυχολογική προσπάθεια.Τι στην ευχή είναι το V. ; Θα περάσω καλά αν το ξεκινήσω; Δε σας κρύβω πως όταν το παρήγγειλα δεν είχα προσέξει τα χαρακτηριστικά του, φανταζόμουν ότι είναι λεπτούλι σαν το 49, ένα λεπτούλι τούβλο. Και έρχεται η παραγγελία, σχεδόν 700 σελίδες. Αποκαρδιώθηκα, δε θεώρησα τον εαυτό μου ικανό ν’ ανταπεξέλθει σε κάτι τέτοιο, όχι με τρόπο τουλάχιστον που θα με ξεκουράσει και θα με διασκεδάσει, γιατί με το 49 διασκέδασα, την καταβρήκα. Κοινό τους χαρακτηριστικό είναι το κυνήγι του θησαυρού, ψάχνεις κι όσο ψάχνεις βρίσκεις. Αυτά που θες, εκείνα που δε θες κι εκείνα που δε σκέφτηκες για να δεις αν θες. Ξέρεις πάντως πως όταν η Ρέιτσελ περπατάει πάνω στη σχάρα με επιδεξιότητα πλέον χωρίς να σπάει τα τακούνια της πως είναι σα να τη βλέπεις, αέρινη, γατόπαρδη, να διασχίζει τη Θησέως, ή το Ρίβερσαϊντ Παρκ. Και έχεις κάνει ήδη εικόνα τις φορές που με τη γκρι μάλλινη φούστα, τσακισμένη απ’ τη δουλειά, της έσπαγε και το τακούνι και διαολόστελνε όλη την ημέρα. Από ‘κει και πέρα πρόκειται για τρομερά στριφνό και δύσκολο βιβλίο. Μπορείς να διασκεδάσεις μαζί του αναμφίβολα και να ονειρευτείς πάνω σε σκέψεις σου που τώρα γεννιούνται. Κάποια θέματα είναι σπουδαία για το 1961 αλλά όχι για το 2017, κάποια άλλα παραμένουν, ορισμένα δεν τα ‘χες σκεφτεί ποτέ έτσι. Ουπς! Να τώρα δα, χάθηκες, δεν καταλαβαίνεις τι διαβάζεις, πρέπει να γυρίσεις πίσω, ναι αλλά πόσο πίσω, που πίσω; Είναι κουραστικό, είναι σπαστικό, αλλά αξίζει τον κόπο, νομίζω. Και δεν έχει να κάνει με τη δική μου υπερφυσική διάνοια. Ηλίθιος είμαι. Αλλά ο οποιοσδήποτε μπορεί να το καταλάβει, ή να καταλάβει όσα θα μιλήσουν στη γλώσσα του, πρέπει όμως να το θέλει πολύ και να το παλέψει. Δε μ’ ενδιαφέρει το κεντρικό μήνυμα, δε με νοιάζει η φύση του V όπως δε μ’ ένοιαξε και του Τρίστερου η συνολική διάσταση. Τις βλέπω, δεν τις συνδέω γιατί δεν είμαι πολύ έξυπνος, ή είμαι πολύ τεμπέλης για να σκεφτώ περισσότερο, ή όλα αυτά μπορεί να στα γράφω για να σε πείσω και να με πείσω πως δε με νοιάζει επειδή αδυνατώ να καταλάβω. Μπορεί να είναι κι έτσι, αλλά φυσικά είμαι αλαζόνας όπως όλοι μας, προτιμώ να πιστεύω πως κατάλαβα. Αυτό που άξιζε όμως και το ξέρω είναι η διαδρομή, το σύνολο. Μου αρέσει η φλόγα του νεαρού Πύντσον, ο τρόπος που τον επηρεάζει ο πόλεμος. Είτε έχει θύματα τους Μπόερ, είτε είναι παγκόσμιος. Παθιάζομαι μαζί του. Υπάρχουν κάποιες σελίδες αστείρευτης ομορφιάς, ζοφερότητας και αλήθειας, << με την έννοια της εφικτής ακρίβειας >>, όπως γράφει κι ο ίδιος ο Πύντσον. Αυτή που απαλλαγμένη από κάθε μεταφυσική χροιά, αγγίζει μόνο το υπαρκτό, το απτό, ρέει προς τα σπλάχνα, τους πνεύμονες, τα πόδια. Κι επίσης, μου αρέσουν τέτοια βιβλία διότι μας τονίζουν, ότι δεν πόνεσαν μόνο οι Εβραίοι και οι Έλληνες. Πολλοί λαοί και άνθρωποι γενικά υπήρξαν θύματα των πολέμων. Και Γερμανοί. Ας μην το αγνοούμε αυτό, σαν τα άρθρα που εμφανίζονται κατά καιρούς για να θυμηθούν γνωστές εταιρίες που βγάζουν μίξερ ή αυτοκίνητα, λες και φταίει ντε και καλά η Γερμανία για τη δική μας παράλογη κακοδιαχείριση. Αλλά αυτά μάλλον δεν ανήκουν εδώ. Ωστόσο επειδή η ιστορία επαναλαμβάνεται και είναι αυτή που ξεχνάμε, ενώ θυμόμαστε ονόματα που δεν έχουν καμιά σχέση μ’ εμάς, κάτι που είχε προβλέψει βέβαια αιώνες πριν ο Σενέκας και που σαν ονόματα ( θα συμφωνούσε κι ο Πύντσον σ’ αυτό ) δηλαδή λέξεις ασύνδετες δε διαφέρουν σε τίποτα από άψυχα αντικείμενα και ο Πύντσον σε αυτό το βιβλίο τονίζει την ημιτονοειδή γραφική παράσταση τόσο της ιστορίας, όσο και της παρακμής, δεν είμαι εντελώς παράλογος που έκανα αυτή τη σύνδεση, αν και προφανώς παραμένω εντελώς εκτός θέματος. Αλλά ο πόλεμος δεν είναι μόνο μπαμ μπουμ. Έχει διάφορες μορφές, όσο και διάφορες εντάσεις. Κάποιες φορές θα σας έλεγε η Πάολα είναι εσωτερικός, άλλοτε ανάμεσα σε δύο και κάπου κάπου ξεσπάει γενικά και παρασέρνει τα πάντα. Κι έπειτα ξυπνάς μια μέρα και λες, εδώ θα συμφωνούσε ο Φάουστο, ο Μοντάουγκεν κι ίσως και ο γέρο – Πλωτάρχης πως έχει φως κι ας είναι μελαγχολικό, μα πως μπορεί να είναι μελαγχολικό το φως. Και βγαίνεις έξω κι όλα όσα δεν έβλεπες, τα νιώθεις και όλα εκείνα που σε κρατούσαν πίσω, θα τα δεις κάποια στιγμή συντρίμμια και θα λυπηθείς, θα συνδεθείς με την συθέμελη καταστροφή τους και θα χάσεις κάτι απ’ τη μαγεία. Ύστερα κι η τελευταία στάλα του κράσου θα φύγει από μέσα σου και θα θυμηθείς τον πόλεμο, ή τους πολέμους που ζεις. Ίσως και να προσευχηθείς. Ευτυχώς βέβαια κάτι θα σου αποσπάσει την προσοχή, να σου αποδείξει πως << μόνο οι άγιοι, ή οι παράφρονες μπορούν να προσηλώνονται >> πεισματικά για ώρες. Οι καμπύλες των ημιτόνων θα συνεχιστούν. Νίκες ή ήττες, κορυφές, ή παρακμές, πόλεμοι, ή … Μου αρέσουν επίσης οι διάλογοι αν και νομίζω πως θα τρελάνουν αρκετούς αναγνώστες. Δεν έχουν καμία απολύτως τάξη, ή σειρά, ούτε καν ευθείες απαντήσεις. Αλλά μαντέψτε κάτι! Αν απομονώσετε ένα τυχαίο διάλογο, δεν υπάρχει περίπτωση μετά να δείτε κάτι διαφορετικό απ’ τους διαλόγους του Πύντσον, όταν μιλάτε με την κολλητή σας, τη μητέρα σας, ή ένα συνάδελφο. Ας μην πιάσουμε τις σχέσεις εκεί το σουρρεάλ είναι ρεάλ. Και νομίζω με πιάνετε. Μετά μπαίνεις σε σκέψεις σχετικά με τους διαλόγους σε άλλα βιβλία και το στρωτό μοιάζει σαν ανταλλαγή θεατρικών μονολόγων. Μπορεί ένα πρωτόλειο έργο να είναι τέλειο; Η υπερβατικότητα του θαυμασμού μου γι’ αυτό το βιβλίο σας πείθει ότι θα πω ναι. Αλλά η απάντηση είναι όχι, τουλάχιστον όχι αυτό το πρωτόλειο. Έχει τα ελαττώματα του. Το πρώτο είναι πως σε κάποια σημεία φλυαρεί άσκοπα, χωρίς ωστόσο να επαναλαμβάνεται. Το δεύτερο είναι πως, θα έχετε παρατηρήσει ότι αρκετοί συγγραφείς στα πρώτα τους βήματα χρησιμοποιούν τα σημεία αναφοράς τους, δηλώνοντας τα και περισσότερο εξετάζοντας τα θεωρητικά, ως ιδέες, ή σαν εσωτερικές αντιμαχίες. Με αποτέλεσμα να δίνουν την εντύπωση πως πετάνε ονόματα και αντιγράφουν τσιτάτα. Ο Πύντσον δεν κάνει αυτό. Κατ’ αρχήν δεν υπάρχει ούτε μια θεωρία, ή φιλοσοφία που να δίνεται αυτούσια και να ακολουθεί τελεία, παρά μόνο ύστερα από επεξεργασία που την έχει βουτήξει μέσα στα προσωπικά του βιώματα και την έχει μετατρέψει σε ιστορία. Κατά κάποιο τρόπο η μέθοδος των παραβολών του Βολταίρου, χωρίς όμως να δανείζεται αυτό το στιλ. Είναι σοβαρός, με στιβαρές κατασκευές που δεν ξεφεύγουν από πουθενά με σκοπό όχι να σε κάνει να σκεφτείς, όχι όπως ο Βολταίρος μέσω της υπερβολής και της αντιπαραβολής, αλλά αντλώντας απ’ τη θέση τη φύση, ως απόρροια σκέψης που έγινε πράξη. Πού είναι το κακό σ’ αυτό; Το ‘’κακό’’ είναι πως σε κάποιες περιπτώσεις αλλά όχι σε όλες φαίνονται οι ραφές. Έχει κάνει κτήμα του τη σκέψη, αλλά όχι τη θεωρία, κατά κάποιο τρόπο σα να λύνει ένα πρόβλημα μαθηματικών, γράφει τη θεωρία που θα χρησιμοποιήσει αυτολεξεί και προχωράει στην απόδειξη και αυτό το αυτολεξεί κουράζει. Αλλά σε αντίθεση με άλλους, δεν είναι επίδειξη γνώσεων.Ορισμένοι χαρακτήρες υπάρχουν μόνο σαν ονόματα αλλά δε διακρίνεται αυτή η αλλαγή ‘’προσωπικότητας’’, ή άλλοι μένουν ουσιαστικά αχαρτογράφητοι, περισσότερο σα να γεμίζουν το χώρο. Στο κεφάλαιο των εξομολογήσεων του Φάουστο, o ΙV που είναι και ο βασικός συγγραφέας δε διαφέρει σε τίποτα απ’ το στιλ του ίδιου του Πύντσον, δε γδύνεται το ρόλο του αφηγητή για να ντυθεί αυτόν του IV. Και επίσης ο IV μάς αναλύει τις αλλαγές μεταξύ Ι, ΙΙ και ΙΙΙ αλλά πρακτικά μόνο μετά την σελίδα 440 περίπου γίνεται σαφές, ότι ο ΙΙΙ είναι ξεχωριστός. Ναι μεν καταλαβαίνω πως όλοι τους είναι παραλλαγές του ίδιου πυρήνα, αλλά με τις αλλαγές φάσεων που προηγούνται στους προλόγους, περίμενα να το δω κιόλας και επίσης ήθελα να δω αυτό που είδα στην περίπτωση του Μοντάουγκεν που πραγματικά πέρα απ’ τα σημεία αυτοστοχασμού του Πύντσον απουσιάζει εντελώς κι είναι σα να βρίσκεται στο χώρο μόνο ο Μοντάουγκεν. Εδώ όμως ο Φάουστο IV και ο Πύντσον – αφηγητής – στοχαστής – σκηνοθέτης είναι ένα και το αυτό.Ωστόσο, το σκηνικό αυτό αλλάζει θεαματικά απ’ τη βόλτα στον κήπο μετά την επιδρομή, του Φάουστο και της Έλενα. Νομίζω πως σε περιγραφικότητα κ σε μετάδοση συναισθημάτων και δη ανασφάλειας, πόνου, πίκρας, εσωτερικής μάχης, δηλαδή όλων των συναισθημάτων με θετικό πρόσημο αφού τραβούν προς μια διέξοδο, είναι από τις ωραιότερες που έχω συναντήσει φέτος σε βιβλία και μπορεί να συγκριθεί με ορισμένες αντίστοιχες, απ’ τη Νύχτα της Λισαβόνας. Παρακάτω μου άρεσε που διαφώνησα με τον Πύντσον σχετικά με το αν ο Φάουστο έπρεπε να πει στην Πάολα για την αποκάλυψη της Έλενα, δεδομένων των συνθηκών. Επίσης, φρίκιασα με την τιμωρία των παιδιών στον παπά και αναφέρομαι στην λεκτική τιμωρία και όχι στο ξεγύμνωμα, πολύ λιγότερο σ’ αυτό. Ακόμη, δε φρίκιασα λιγότερο στο πρώτο όνειρο του Μοντάουγκεν με τη γάτα. Τέλος πάντων, από τον κήπο και μετά απογειώνεται το κεφάλαιο κατακόρυφα σαν τα Ρώσικα αεροσκάφη. Ο Πύντσον και ο Φάουστο διαχωρίζονται ολοκληρωτικά. Για κάποιο λόγο συνειρμικά πάντοτε ως τώρα συνδύαζα τον Φάουστ του Γκαίτε με τη Θεία Κωμωδία του Δάντη και μου φάνηκε ενδιαφέρον ότι ο Φάουστο περνάει από διάφορα στάδια που θυμίζουν τη Θεία Κωμωδία. Βέβαια κάποιες παρόμοιες σκέψεις, όχι σε σχέση με τη Θεία Κωμωδία, με άλλα θέματα, τόσο για την Οιδίπα, για να πεταχτώ λίγο στους 49 όπως και κάτι άλλο, επεξεργαζόμουν επίσης σχετικά με το επώνυμο της Βέρα. Αλλά αυτά ίσως είναι προτιμότερο να αποτελέσουν τροφή για σκέψη καθενός προσωπικά. Και νομίζω ότι χάρη στον Πύντσον και το Στίρνερ κατάλαβα πως μάλλον έκρινα λίγο άδικα το Φρομ σε ό,τι αφορά το γλωσσικό προγραμματισμό. Μερικές φορές είναι πραγματικά σα να μου ψιθυρίζει ο Σοπενάουερ στ’ αυτί ‘’στα ‘λεγα εγώ’’, ότι το πώς λέγεται κάτι και όχι το τι, είναι εκείνο που δίνει αξία διότι μπορεί να σώσει ανθρώπους από άλλα, πως, που μπορεί να ήταν σωστά, αλλά με τον τρόπο τους, τούς έδιωξαν μακριά. Χρήσιμα γκατζετάκια πριν ή μετά το V:Η κόψη του ξυραφιού του ΜωμΤο Age of Aquarius των Revolution Renaissance, το When the lights are down των Kamelot, το Wasted sunsets των Deep Purple και το End of the rope των Draconian. Κι ίσως στην εξομολόγηση του Φάουστο να αρέσει η παρέα του Child in time και ο Στένσιλ να μουρμουρίζει το παλιό κομμάτι των Jethro Tull, που έλεγε είμαι πολύ μεγάλος για να ροκάρω, αλλά πολύ μικρός για να πεθάνω.Και τώρα άνοιξε την πόρτα: να ‘χεις μια ενδιαφέρουσα βόλτα!Και να θυμάσαι η Αναζήτηση δεν είναι μόνο ένας ορισμός, είναι ένας οιωνός πως η ζωή θέλει ψάξιμο και χάσιμο και λάθη και χαλάρωση και φούρια, αλλά όχι στάσεις.

  • Makis Dionis
    2018-12-09 23:34

    V *****Τα γνωστά μοτίβα του Pynchon που θα τον κάνουν παγκόσμιο είναι εδώ. Ανακάτεμα χρονικο , τοπολογικό και ιστορικό της τράπουλας φέρνει συνεχόμενες κεντες , παρουσιάζοντας ένα ακόμα μωσαϊκό της περιφέρειας του κόσμου λίγο πριν κ λίγο μετά τους δύο πολέμους. Το ανοίγεις τυχαία, διαβάζεις 50 σελίδες και παίρνεις ισχυρή ντόπαΗ Βεϊσού μπορεί να οριστεί ως ένα σύμπτωμα. Συμπτώματα σαν κι αυτό παραμένουν πάντοτε ζωντανά σε κάποιο σημείο του κόσμου.Δεν έχουμε άλλο χρόνο να παραμείνουμε στη Βεϊσού

  • Mattia Ravasi
    2018-11-20 19:15

    Video-review: in my Top 20 Books I Read in 2017A puzzling but glorious read that is, paradoxically enough, both breath-taking fast and extremely broody, thrilling and self-absorbed. It will require quite a lot of dedication to be fully enjoyed.

  • Nicole
    2018-12-10 02:41

    I tried, lawd knows I tried.“It is something less than heavenTo be quoted Thesis 1.7Every time I make an advance;If the world is all that the case isThat’s a pretty discouraging basisOn which to pursueAny sort of romance.I’ve got a proposition for you;Logical, positive and brief.And at least it could serve as a kind of comic relief:[Refrain]Let P equal me,With my heart in command;Let Q equal youWith Tractatus in hand;And R could stand for a lifetime of love,Filled with music to fondle and purr to.We’ll define love as anything lovely you’d care to infer to.On the right, put that bright,Hypothetical case;On the left, our uncleft,Parenthetical chase.And that horseshoe there in the middleCould be lucky; we’ve nothing to lose,If in these parenthesesWe just mind our P’sAnd Q’s.If P [Mafia sang in reply] thinks of meAs a girl hard to make,Then Q wishes youWould go jump in the lake.For R is a meaningless concept,Having nothing to do with pleasure:I prefer the hard and tangible things I can measure.Man, you chase in the faceOf impossible odds;I’m a lass in the classOf unbossable broads.If you’ll promise no more sticky phrases,Half a mo while I kick off my shoes.There are birds, there are bees,And to hell with all your P’sAnd Q’s.And by the time Profane finished his beer, the blanket covered them both.”The songs have been my favorite part of reading Thomas Pynchon’s V. Really, I have enjoyed some of the reading, but as I’m typing this and feeling the urge to justify and push myself to like it, I realize that I’m just not that into it. I’m dropping it. My bookmark is on page 302-303 of the 1963 edition. I like his naming: Profane, Stencil, Mafia, The Sick Crew. I like the geography; I’ve dreamt of Florence and Cairo since the reading. But I’m not excited, I’m not finding why I should continue reading.Maybe it’s because I’ve been apart of a Sick Crew; I’m not in wonder about it.***********Finished reading the chapter “V. in love” with really the same reaction as the my last reading of the previous chapters. Things I really enjoyed: the number obsession in the first few paragraphs, the rich visual descriptions of Melanie’s clothing and costuming and her occupation with herself in them, the discussion of fetish and otherness and even tourism which I always find rather interesting as a person who travels. But I’m still just not that excited. I didn’t feel like I wanted to continue reading again although this was a much more interesting chapter to me than many of them. But fetish and otherness have been done much better by others, and having Melanie be a victim of sexual abuse that he then killed off at the end leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Still, pretty interesting to read.****Couldn't finish it, not interested.

  • Oscar
    2018-12-17 19:40

    Si leer 'La subasta del lote 49' es como prepararse la mochila con un bocadillo y una botellita de agua para pasar el día en el campo, la lectura de 'V.' supone sacar la caravana con lo que ello conlleva, es decir, preparar la tienda de campaña, comprar víveres y coger ropa suficiente porque vas a estar fuera una par de semanas, vivienda en plena naturaleza. Por esta regla de tres, el día que me decida a afrontar la lectura de uno de los libros de más de mil páginas de Pynchon, será como prepararte para un safari en Kenia o una aventura por el Amazonas. ¡Miedo me da!Querer hacer una reseña, no ya de 'V.' sino de cualquier libro de Pynchon, es una ardua tarea, que además supone contar algunas de las tramas, sorpresas y trampas que el bueno de Pynchon nos ha preparado. Porque la novela se compone de múltiples historias, unas más largas que otras, incluyendo cambios temporales y localizaciones, además de docenas de diferentes personajes. Hay varios de éstos más recurrentes que otros, como son Profane, un ex soldado de marina; Stencil, que tiene fijación por encontrar a V., alguien o algo que apareció entre los papeles de su padre, antiguo miembro de Asuntos Exteriores; o Rachel, que mantiene una extraña relación con Profane.Leer 'V.' es como adentrarse en Territorio Pynchon, donde todo está relacionado y no existen las casualidades. Al principio cuesta adaptarse al terreno, pero dándole un poco de tiempo, llegas a disfrutar del paisaje. Sin embargo, de vez en cuando es posible que te pierdas mientras exploras, pero no pasa nada, siempre terminas encontrando la salida, aunque a veces no sepas cómo y por lo tanto no te hayas enterado muy bien de dónde has estado (salido). Pero en cuanto terminas tu estancia en 'V.', te queda la sensación de haber pasado unos momentos bastante agradables e interesantes, y no te importaría repetir.Hay que leer a Pynchon, aunque algunas veces no lo pilles del todo, porque lo importante es dejarse llevar por sus ardides conspiratorios. ¿Recomendaría leerlo a todo el mundo? Ni mucho menos. Sobre todo porque no quiero estar pendiente de mis espaldas por si alguien me sacude con el libro en cuestión.

  • Christopher
    2018-11-30 23:27

    Pynchon takes his readers on a wild ride. We attend a party on an abandoned cruise ship. We witness an assassination in Cairo. We hunt alligators in the sewers beneath New York City. We time-and-space travel to 1904 Namibia to witness the Herero Revolt and ensuing genocide. Florence, Italy to watch an ill-conceived attempt at stealing Botticelli's Birth of Venus. We study atmospheric radio disturbances with a crossdressing German lieutenant. The list goes on...The characters are as diverse as the book's settings. I counted more than 160 of them, all with truly bizarre names. There are our protagonists (as far as this book has any protagonists; it's really an ensemble performance), Benny Profane and Herbert Stencil. Then there's Pig Bodine, Pappy Hod, Fergus Mixolydian, Fausto Maijstral, Father Avalanche, etc.And thematically, V. is puzzle. It's hard to pin down what this book is really about. There's a lot about yo-yoing, which is a drifter's kind of lifestyle. (Dude, I just spent the year after I graduated college just yo-yoing up and down the coast, bra.) There's a lot about fathers and sons. If there's one major plotline in the book, it's Stencil's search for the mysterious woman V., who is somehow connected to his father, and it's kind of unclear if she's even a woman; perhaps she's a place or just an idea. There's the idea that all the major world events are connected in a heinous plot born out of some deviant mind. And there's that creeping dread of the inanimate that shows up from time to time.So it seems like my point with this review would be to say that this is a big, complex, difficult book. But what I'd actually like to say is that this is a fun, lovable book that will grab you and won't let you go until you've read every word. Sure, you have to be the type of person who doesn't mind a challenge to fully enjoy it, but if you are that type, if you like David Foster Wallace or William Gaddis (there is a straight line drawn from Gaddis to Pynchon and from Pynchon to Wallace), then this could very easily be your next obsession.Note: When you read this, it's imperative to keep a written character list. Minor characters often reappear later to assert themselves as major characters and it would behoove you not to forget them. Enclosed in this spoiler is my dramatis personae if you'd like to take a look.(view spoiler)[Benny Profane: discharged from the Navy, been working as road laborer for a year and a half and traveling, Catholic father, Jewish mother, born in 1932Beatrice: barmaid, sweetheart of Benny's Navy ship, USS ScaffoldBeatrice Buffo: owner of the Sailor's Grave, calls all her barmaids BeatricePloy: engine man on the minesweeper Impulsive, always picking fights, tried to kill himself after the Navy took all his teeth out, sharpened his new dentures and and bit Beatrice's buttDewey Gland: Ploy's friend, sings Benny a song for being a PFC (Poor Forlorn Civilian)Pig Bodine: a "miasma of evil", AWOL from the Scaffold, saves Winsome from jumping out the window to kill himself, was saved from radar radiation by ProfaneMorris Teflon: switchman at the coal piers, takes pornographic photos and sells them to sailors, let's Benny and Pig and Paola and Dewey stay at his apartment Rachel Owlglass: her Daddy gave her an MG and she drove it recklessly, Profane met her when she hit him with it; works as an interviewer/personnel girl at a downtown employment agency, somehow also interviewed Profane for a job without recognizing each otherDa Conho: Benny's chief at Schlozhauer's Trocadero, a crazy Zionist, had a machine gun he kept at the restaurant Duke Wedge: Benny's bunk mate, tried to sleep with Rachel but she wouldn't do itPatsy Pagano: got hit in his stomach by an SP's nightstick at the New Year's Eve partyTolito, Jose, and Kook: Puerto Rican kids who woke Benny up on the subway to dance for moneyAngel: Kook's brother, hunts alligatorsJosefina/Fina Mendoza: Kook's sister, invites Benny to come home with her, works for Winsome, loved by the Playboys gang, tried to give her virginity to BennyMr. & Mrs. Mendoza: Angel's and Fina's parentsGeronimo: Angel's friendMr. Zeitsuss: Geronimo's Angels' boss at the alligator huShale Schoenmaker: plastic surgeon, knows something about V but denies it, was an airplane mechanic during WW1, inspired to become a plastic surgeon when his hero fighter pilot Evan Godolphin becomes disfigured, impregnates EstherIrving: Schoenmaker's assistant and mistress, he gave her a new nose and frecklesTrench: his other assistant, a juvenile delinquentEsther Harvitz: is in debt to Schoenmaker for plastic surgery, Rachel's roommate, gets pregnant with Schoenmaker's baby, Winsome says she "pays to get the body she was born with altered and then falls deeply in love with the man who mutilated her" and she sees nothing wrong with itSlab: of the Raoul-Slab-Melvin triumvirate, Rachel's lover, obsessively paints cheese danishes, tries to convince Esther to get an abortion, Winsome calls him a "painter, whose eyes are open, has technical skill and if you will 'soul', but is committed to cheese danishes"Paola Maijstral: Rachel's roommate, was a barmaid, Benny got her and Rachel connected, separated from her husband, grew up in a sewer in MaltaPappy Hod: her husband, in Valletta with Fat Clyde Herbert Stencil: born in 1901, raised motherless, seeking a woman named V he found mentioned in his father's journals, possibly his mother, worked as a spy during WW2Sidney Stencil: his father, never talked about his wife, died in 1919 during the June Disturbances in Malta, questioned the Gaucho in Florence, was searching for Hugh Godolphin when he met Victoria, who came to the consulate to tell them about Hugh and VheissuMargravine di Chiave Lowenstein: left by Stencil in 1946 so that he could seek VHugh Bongo-Shaftsbury: former resident of Stencil's apartment, son of an Egyptologist Sidney Stencil knew (initials are BS: intentional?), shows up in a Horus costume to Victoria after the Austrian consul partyChiclitz the munitions king and Eigenvalue the physician: Stencil wants to talk to them about VFergus Mixolydian: an Irish Armenian Jew, the "laziest living being in Nueva York", Winsome says he "takes money from a Foundation named after a man who spent millions trying to prove thirteen rabbis rule the world" and he sees nothing wrong with itRaoul: writes for television, Winsome says he "can produce drama devious enough to slip by any sponsor's roadblock and still tell the staring fans what's wrong with them and what they're watching, but he's happy with westerns and detective stories"Melvin: plays liberal folk songs on guitar, Winsome says "Melvin the folk-singer has no talent. Ironically he does more social commenting than the rest of the Crew put together. He accomplishes nothing."Debby Sensay: groupie of the Whole Sick CrewBrad: a fraternity boy, meets Esther at the WSC partyMcClintic Sphere: saxophonist at the V-NoteP. Aïeul: cafe waiter and amateur libertine in AlexandriaEric Bongo-Shaftsbury: father of the apartment owner, killed PorpentinePorpentine: one of Sidney Stencil's colleagues, killed by Eric Bongo-Shaftsbury, had a bad sunburn that looked like leprosyMr. Goodfellow: Porpentine's partner, in love with Victoria, gets in a fight with the Arab on the trainVictoria Wren: on a trip with her father in Alexandria, Goodfellow is trying to seduce her away from Bongo-Shaftsbury, became estranged from her father when he discovered her affair with GoodfellowSir Alastair Wren: Victoria's widowed fatherMildred Wren: Victoria's younger sisterEvelyn: Victoria's Australian uncleYusef: an anarchist, working at the Austrian consulateTewfik: a young assassin Yusef knew, the only person he could think of who had faster reflexes than Meknes: leader of the kitchen force at the Austrian consulateCount Khevenhüller-Metsch: the Austrian consul, Porpentine's alter egoM. de Villiers: the Russian consul, Goodfellow's alter egoMaxwell Rowley-Bugge: aka Ralph MacBurgess, likes young girls, moved to Alexandria after he was busted with a ten year oldAlice: the ten year old girl who got Max/Ralph bustedLepsius: German with blue glasses, meets Porpentine, Goodfellow, and Victoria in the Fink restaurant in Alexandria, has recently come from Brindisi, says he will see them again in CairoWaldetar: a Portugese train conductor on the Alexandria-Cairo expressNita: his pregnant wifeManoel, Antonia, Maria: his childrenGebrail: a poor man in Cairo, his farm was overtaken by desert, now a carriage driver, drove Porpentine and Goodfellow around (or maybe Portpentine and Bongo-Shaftsbury?)Girgis: carnival clown in Cairo by day, burglar by night, witnesses Porpentine fall out of a window while trying to spy on Goodfellow and VictoriaHanne Echerze: waitress at the German bierhalle in Cairo, Lepsius's lover, although she doesn't love him anymoreBoeblich: owner of the German bierhalleVarkumian: pimp, had a conversation with Porpentine at the bierhalleEvan Godolphin: a pilot during WW2, Schoenmaker's hero, was disfigured when he was shot in the face while in the air (the inspiration for Schoenmaker's profession)Captain Hugh Godolphin: his father, a professional adventurer, meets Victoria in Florence and tells her about his travels to Vheissu, was also in Africa and got stuck at the Siege Party when he was trying to gather a crew for a South Pole expeditionPike-Leeming: went with Hugh to Vheissu, now "incurable and insensate in a home in Wales"Halidom: a surgeon, gave Evan Godolphin an ivory nose, silver cheekbone, and a parafin and celluloid chin (allografts)Zeitsuss: the alligator sewer bossVA "Brushhook" Spugo: 85 years old, keeps track of alligator sightings on a mapDolores, Pilar: friends of Angel and GeronimoDelgado: vibes player in the band Angel, Benny and Fina see, is getting married tomorrowBung: the alligator hunter foremanFather Fairing: believed humans would die and rats would take over, so he converted all the rats in the sewer to Catholocism, his favorite rat was named Victoria (second incarnation of V)Manfred Katz: Zeitsuss's predecessor Roony Winsome: executive for Outlandish Records, smokes "string" (a kind of tobacco), tries to commit suicide but Pig delays him until the cops are able to catch him in a net when he jumps out the window and then is taken to BellevueMafia: his wife, a novelist with a cult following, Winsome says she "is smart enough to create a world but too stupid not to live in it. Finding the real world never jibing with her fancy she spends all kinds of energy - sexual, emotional - trying to make it conform, never succeeding."Charisma: his friendFu: other friendLucille: 14 year old girl Benny met out partying with Angel and wants to screwDudley Eigenvalue: dentist, does work for the Whole Sick Crew for free, anticipating that they will be powerful in the futureClayton "Bloody" Chiclitz: of Yoyodyne, a defense contractorSignor Mantissa: depressed Italian, trying to steal Botticelli's Birth of Venus from a museum by hiding it in a tree, friend of Hugh GodolphinCesare: his friend, pretends to be a steamboatThe Gaucho: helping Mantissa, wears a wideawake hat, Venezuelan revolutionary who formed the Figli di MachiavelliCuernacabrón: the Gaucho's lieutenantGadrulfi: a florist, Mantissa's Judas tree provider, the English Foreign Office thinks it's an alias for Evan GodolphinSalazar: Venezuelan Vise-Consul in FlorenceRatón: Salazar's chiefAngelo: one of the Gaucho's captors Major Percy Chapman: from the English Foreign Office, captured the Gaucho in Florence to interrogate him about VheissuDemivolt: Sidney Stencil's coworker at the foreign office, offered him the chance to talk to Victoria but he said noCovess: Sidney's chum in diplomatic school who went rogue and tried to recruit locals to invade FranceMoffit: takes orders from Sidney at the Foreign Office in FlorenceFerrante: Italian neo-Machievellian secret policeman, assigned to the "Venezuelan problem"Vogt: Austrian who runs the secret police headquarters Gascoigne: black man who works for VogtBorracho: night watchman at the Figli di Machiavelli's garrisonTito: makes a living selling dirty photos to soldiersOley Bergomask: works at Anthroresearch Associates, Rachel tells Benny he might hire him as night watchman, studying radiation absorption in humans Knoop: comm officer on the Scaffold, Pig's partner in crime in transmitting dirty stories over the teletype machine, also busted Pig for stealing radio partsPotamós: Scaffold cookKurt Mondaugen: engineer at Peenemunde, told Stencil the story of chapter 9, in 1922 was in Africa studying atmospheric radio disturbances, got stuck at a "Siege Party" for 2.5 months during a rebellion, where he meets Vera Meroving (V), thinks that the sferics are a code that he tries to break H. Barkhausen: first heard the radio disturbances in WWIFoppl: farmer who throws parties that Mondaugen attends, volunteers to let all the Germans stay at his house while the rebellion goes on, calls it the "Siege Party", everyone stays for 2.5 monthsWillemstad van Wijk: leader in the African communityAbraham Morris: leading a rebellion, destroyed Mondaugen's antennaeJacobus Christian, Tim Beukes: Morris's followersSergeant van Niekerk: insulted Abraham Morris, incidentally starting the rebellionVera Meroving: another instance of V, from Munich, met Mondaugen at the Siege Party, has an artificial eye with a watch in it, talked about Vheissu with Godolphin, poses as the Bad Priest in Malta, see belowLieutenant Weissmann: Vera's "companion", accuses Mondaugen of being a traitor because he thinks the sferics are a code from the enemy, crossdressesHedwig Vogelsang: a sixteen year old singer/dancer at the Siege Party, Mondaugen's crushAndreas: a rebel that Foppl was keeping in his basement and torturingSchwach, Fleische: Mondaugen's comrades in his dreams of 1904Sarah: African woman that Mondaugen rapes and keeps prisoner in his house in his 1904 dream, she drowned after trying to escapeMatilda Winthrop: runs a whorehouse in Harlem where Sphere goes to meet RubyRuby: Sphere's whore, wants to visit her ailing father far away Sylvia: another whore thereMurray Sable: race car driverFausto Maijstral: Paola's father, wrote the chapter with his confessions, studied to be a priest but had to give it up when Elena had Paola, revealed to be Stencil Sr.'s sonElena Xemxi: Fausto's wife, Paola's mother, died in a bombingMaratt: Fausto's school chum, studied politicsDnubietna: Fausto's school chum, studied engineeringFather Avalanche: persuaded Elena to return to Fausto after she went to Dnubietna The Bad Priest: Avalanche's opposite, preaches to the children, Vera in disguise, is trapped by a beam during a bombing and all the children steal her false eye, false feet, a gemstone belly button ring, Fausto let her die thereCarla Maijstral: Fausto's motherSaturno Aghtina: lived in the sewers in Malta with his wife, Elena and PaolaTifkira: Maltese merchant who hoards wine, Fausto and Dnubietna drank some of it together while bombs fellPatrolman Joneš, Officer Ten Eyck: arrest Mafia, Charisma, and Fu while they're playing Musical Blankets for disturbing the peace (but also maybe because of something Winsome said while talking to a doctor in Bellevue)Hiroshima: a radioman on board the Scaffold, helped Pig steal radio parts to sellC. Osric Lych: commander on the Scaffold, gave Pig a break when he got caught stealing the radio partsGroomsman: "crab-ridden", another of Lych's sailors saved from dishonorable dischargeHanky, Panky: the girls that Groomsman and Pig visited on days offGino Profane: Benny's fatherNeil: Profane and Stencil witness him beating up a plainclothes cop who was trying to catch him soliciting homosexual sexMelanie l'Heuremaudit: in 1913 France, fifteen years old, ran away from boarding school in Belgium, was molested as a child by her father, her mother is off touring Austria-Hungary, works in M. Itague's theatre company, Mlle. Jarretiere is her stage name, is the submissive in an affair with "V. in love", died during a performance when she was impaled by a pole; she was supposed to wear a chastity belt that would have protected herM. Itague: owns a theatre companySatin: Russian choreographerPorcepic: Russian composer, a fictionalized StravinskyGerfaut: playwrightKholsky: "a huge and homicidal tailor", leader of a group of Russian expatriate socialists"V. in love": 33 years old, a "sculptress acolyte from Vaugirard", another instance V., her name is unknown, has an affair with Melanie, she is the dominant oneSgherraccio: a "mad Irredentist", ran off with V. after Melanie diedFlip, Flop: girls Profane and Pig party with in DCIago Saperstein: found Flip and Profane sleeping on the steps of a Masonic temple, invite them to a partyHowie Surd: drunken yeoman, American sailorpFat Clyde/Harvey: super skinny, American sailor, goes out on liberty with Pappy Hod in VallettaTiger Youngblood: "spud coxswain"Lazar: "the deck ape"Teledu: tries to pee out the bus windowLeman: "red-headed water king", bad drunkTourneur: ship's barber, kept Leman from throwing a rock through a window Elisa: barmaid, Paola's friendJohnny Cantango: Scaffold's damage control assistant, feels responsible for messing up the propellerPinguez: steward's mate striker, got sick at a barFalange: snipe, Pinguez's buddyBaby Face: another sailorAntoine Zippo, Nasty Chobb: took over the bandstand at the Union Jack barSam Mannaro: corpsman strikerDahoud: SP along with LeroyLeroy Tongue: midget storekeeper, gets on Dahoud's shoulders and hits people with a nightstick Cassar: pawnbroker in Malta, pointed Stencil to a girl with the glass eye with the clock inside, who claimed she threw it into the seaAquilina: tells Stencil about Mme. ViolaMme. Viola: hypnotist who bought the glass eye in 1944, Stencil leaves Valletta to find herBrenda Wigglesworth: American traveler Profane meets after Paola and Stencil leave himVeronica Manganese: Hiding V. in Malta (hide spoiler)]

  • Jeremy
    2018-11-24 22:11

    V. is like some weird, half dreamed dispatch from a mind that is hermetically sealed off from the world. It's a book that seems to revolve more around a specific set of images and motifs, clocks, yo-yo's inanimate objects, Malta, espionage, etc. than around a set of characters, though the characters are often compelling and weirdly poetic in their own ways. It's hard to believe that this book is almost 50 years old. The way it tries to tie together so many odd, all but forgotten historical threads and to make you puzzle over them feels incredibly ahead of its time. Which probably goes to show just how widely influential Pynchon actually is. I feel like you could actually move into this book and drown in it.

  • Stela
    2018-11-23 21:11

    After 70 pages or so that bored me silly I decided to give it up. I know the author was young (a mere 26 if I remember correctly) but this does not completely justify the sponge-like absorption of so many and so different influences (from Heller to Joyce and Virginia Woolf and magic realism and so on), that cannot really talk to each other so that the narrative seemed to me like a fabric whose threads were all cut and left hanging. Maybe, another time (another life) I will try to read a maturity work. But for now, I've had enough.

  • Loring Wirbel
    2018-12-10 20:24

    The quandary: Would a full five-star ranking tend to reduce the luster of five for Gravity's Rainbow or Against the Day, or does a ranking automatically take into account a certain grade inflation allowed for youthful indiscretions? After all, for a Pynchon not yet 30 to accomplish such a degree of research into pre- and post-WW1 Europe, in a time well before Google searches, seems astonishing.My solution is to address V. the way Thomas Jefferson addressed his copy of the Holy Bible: carry along a pen-knife, and slice pages from the Bible when he found passages he disagreed with. My own abridged V. might excise most of the book that took place in 1955-56 in Norfolk and New York. I'm not dispensing with any worth for Benny Profane or Pig Bodine, particularly for the time Benny spent under the streets and in the sewers of New York chasing albino alligators. When I first read this novel in high school, the adventures of the Whole Sick Crew represented the core of the book. Since then, I've grown too grumpy and old to care about the mind-altering adventures of dissolute youth. Except for the rare lucid moments of Hunter S. Thompson, where a spate of gettin' fucked up actually seems to lead somewhere, the manic parties of Pynchon's Crew, Kerouac's Beats, Brad Easton Ellis's brat pack, etc. ad infinitum, bore the hell out of me. By contrast, the older Stencil, Godolphin, Maijstral seem on to something in a more direct sense in their quest for V., who I take to be a witch (with familiar) guarding the underworld. Fashoda, Florence, Valetta are the strings that matter, both for the novel in its own right, and as a precursor for Gravity's Rainbow. In fact, Kurt Mondaugen's tales of Namibia in 1924 seem to be a necessary prelude to Pynchon's later masterpiece, making V. a prerequisite that can't be skipped. The Pynchon neophyte may well want to retain all the intervening 1955-56 chapters of wild living, simply to rest from the dense poetry of the chapters from earlier points in time. And since all those earlier points come to a partial head with the Suez Crisis of November 1956, one could argue that every word in this novel was necessary.For most readers, the occasional senseless party will serve as a break from trying to figure out what the hell Pynchon is talking about, anyway. If the book is concluded without its critical 1919 epilogue, my younger self would count the most important passage to be Benny Profane's final admission that "Offhand, I'd say I haven't learned a goddamned thing." These days, I'd be more inclined to give weight to Brenda Wigglesworth's embarrassing free-verse poem on the page previous, which seems to summarize the 20th century and the search for V. fairly well.One visible factor was notable in this reprise reading of V. Many analyses of Gravity's Rainbow compare plot structures to a rocket's parabolic path. There's another possible parabola present in Pynchon's first novel. In this novel, the young Pynchon displays a compassion and caring that is sweet and often a bit maudlin. By The Crying of Lot 49, much is conspiratorial and full of hurt. Of course, Gravity's Rainbow is the peak of the rocket's trajectory in fear, paranoia, and a feeling that human presence on this planet will never resolve itself well. But by the time we move on to Mason & Dixon, Against the Day, and Bleeding Edge, Pynchon has returned to the idea that compassion is acceptable and happy endings are occasionally possible. While we can't say V. has a happy ending, the young Pynchon does give us signs of hope that are not revisited until Pynchon is 60, 70, and 80. That makes his first novel a fine place to start.

  • Daniel Chaikin
    2018-12-06 21:20

    I spent last night thinking about this book when I should have been sleeping. That's a far cry from where I was a few weeks ago, lost in Cairo and ready to toss the e-book...and where I was again in Florence. Namibia was terribly disturbing, but I had to respect the effort. Malta was a bit slow too. But Pynchon never lost me for a second in Paris and when he got back to Malta again, I was fully engagedWhat the hell am I talking about, you might ask, if you haven't read this. (And probably you haven't??) The real appeal for most of this book for me was Benny Profane, who lived a life on equal with his wonderful name. Just out of the Navy, he spent 1956 in the Virginia naval world and in the New York City underworld, until he graduated to the Whole Sick Crew, a crowd of very hippie-like eccentric, entertaining and generally useless souls (and also Rachel). The other leg of the V-ish plot includes the travelogue above and tried every which way to shake me off the book. Herbert Stencil searches for V., a woman of his father's generation, but also many other undefined and generally unobtainable mysteries. He takes us through the travelogue above, generally, by recreating other peoples stories of V. Pynchon just tries too hard in the early parts of these sections. It feels like he's showing off and it's very hard to take him seriously or care. But it pays out in the end. Eventually I not only adored the tragic lady V. but then sat wondering about all the different variations that V might be. I'm still wondering, even as I know there is no answer...I hope there is no answer.So a gem of sorts comes out of this sometimes charming, sometimes just all too smart tangled mess. V, by the way, could be Valletta, Malta, or Vesuvius, or many other things, but notably also a V2 rocket, which connects this book firmly with Gravity's Rainbow (which I haven't read. This is my first book by Pynchon). The rocket gets one very subtle mention. But I took it and ran. My head thinks Pynchon is, in 1963 and before, fretting about the modern world and all its destructive technology, with V2 rocket standing in for a nuclear missile. Profane yo-yo's, but he frets everything inanimate and V gets progressively more and more inanimate herself as she loses an eye and a few limbs. Humans are building and building and killing everything and Pynchon is trying to make sense of it. But it's not that simple. So he was V and we wonder. Mind you, my head could be a bit high on some Benny (a slang term for Benzedrine, an amphetamine).This is a quick a review. Maybe I should have taken more time and been more careful. I can see I missed more than I covered. But, these moods are temporary things. So, posting as is.

  • Karmologyclinic
    2018-11-19 01:15

    I didn't want this book to finish. First, because I enjoyed reading it too much. Second, because once I finished it, there would only be one Pynchon's book left for me to read :( (Mason&Dixon)Review will follow (at some point).---REVIEW TITLE: The little review that could (because it wanted to be the last review of 2017).----This being the penultimate Pynchon book I read, I can see all the later Pynchon in it, but filtered by his 26 years of living on this planet. I repeat, 26th. All the themes and techniques that will mature in the later novels are showing their younger faces here. (Interestingly, paranoia is less prevalent in this book. Entropy is key. Also, less funny.)V. feels like a balloon violently exploding from wayward intelligence and talent that were much better harnessed in Pynchon’s later works. In a way, reading this book, I could somehow see the masterpiece, but I could also see the seams behind it, the stuffing of the creation. But having said that, I can’t say that it affected my enjoyment of it. Maybe because I find exploding genius minds, Videodrome-style, fascinating. And I can’t help but feel amazed at the foresight this 26 year old had in ‘63, about where this century is going. You have this young writer who decides he’s gonna tell stories but he’s not gonna be confined by the usual way of telling them. Because, you see, he can effectively write like any of his predecessors and literary influences, so he sets out to find new ways to tell stories.So, he puts stories inside stories, then puts these inside other stories and the point of view changes continuously, like when you are in front of a rotating carousel and it’s crowded,both on it and around it, and the story plays inside the carousel but each viewer sees a different angle of the story at each given moment and the book is the final collection of the stories these people see, plus each viewer’s and merry-go-rounder’s personal story.The yarn of a story tossed all over by kittens.As expected, Pynchon won’t serve you his book, you’ll have to claim it. There is so much information in it (and he’s only 26 at this point, I repeat) that each reader can focus where he wants and each exit with a different book at the end of the maze. For example, I can’t forget the story of the man that fought the desert and the desert won. Or the disassemblement of the woman priest. Or the end. Or cheese danishes.