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review book thomas pynchon

I finished reading Thomas Pynchon’s novel V. about a month ago. I was thinking about writing a review, but what’s the point? Given its classic status, it has been analyzed to death. So just a couple of thoughts. This was Pynchon’s first novel, so we have to ask if it compares well to his later masterpieces. I think a novel worthy of Pynchon’s name must do two things: 1. It must induce a mindfuck. At some point, you must feel that this novel is 10x denser than what your brain can process. 2. There must be a couple of magic moments of sublime beauty. You must pause and say “Oh wow. That’s just beautiful. I have no words for it.” V. does both. Pynchon did it the first time. However, the novel does feel different. V. reads like it’s made up of several short stories. They are connected stories but you can detect the boundaries. No other Pynchon novel gave me that impression. The other thing is that V. is very cinematic. Many chapters end with dramatic scenes that I can visualize as climactic moments in epic movies. Later Pynchon novels are more organic, subtle, and abstract. This makes V. more accessible, but not lighter. I found reading V. a thoroughly satisfying experience. Many parts of it will stay with me for a very long time.