Fans of long, difficult novels rejoice! Thomas Pynchon, who defines long
and difficult, has given us his longest yet. The work is titled Against
the Day, is 1, 089 pages and is his sixth novel in 43 years. It is
also everything you would hope and expect from the man who wrote
The novel is set between the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and the time immediately
following World War I — in Pynchon’s own words, “With
a worldwide disaster looming just a few years ahead, it is a time of unrestrained
corporate greed, false religiosity, moronic fecklessness, and evil intent
in high places. No reference to the present day is intended or should be
To attempt a synopsis in a short review like this would be folly of, well,
Pynchon-esque proportions. In Pynchonland anything can happen and probably
We meet: the Chums of Chance who float in and out of the story in the airship
Inconvenience; the True Worshippers of the Ineffable Tertactys (TWIT),
a London-based gang of anarchists fighting power; and diverse capitalist
greedheads, misfits, motleys and fools.
Against the Day is fairly comprehensive parody, not just in its vision
but in the writing style, which flips between genres, including the Boy’s
Own adventure, cowboy fiction, the spy novel, porn, and on and on.
Long and difficult, yes, but also unrelentingly humorous, ironic, anarchic,
and fun — the work of a huge imagination and an enormous intellect.
Kansai Scene, January 2007
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