Feeling My Age

Getting older has its drawbacks – but it's a lot better than the alternative.

Against The Day

September 1, 2017 Feeling My Age

Had never read Thomas Pynchon before hearing a chance reference to the brilliance of his prose – and boy, does this novel live up to that promise.

Against The Day is a vast sprawling wildly surreal epic that washed over me like a tidal wave. The immersive enjoyment of swimming through its language was reminiscent of Joyce’s Ulysses – insofar as it’s as much about the travelling as the destination – though in every other sense the two novels couldn’t be more different.

The tone is fiercely anti-capitalist, and ranges from gripping suspense through erudite humour to the lyrically evocative and the deviantly erotic. And yet the going isn’t as heavy as that all sounds. Though Pynchon is spitting feathers wherever he depicts the brutal exploitation of the have-nots by the haves, much of the time he is giving free rein to a life-affirming & exuberant sense of fun.

I bought and enjoyed this on audiobook first and listened to it over six weeks or so – the prose is so dense and resonant that it bears repeated listening – and would warmly recommend it as a way into this novel. Dick Hill‘s narration is masterful. However on the second time through, so much of the masterful detail was still slipping past me that I ended up buying the printed book as well.

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