V by Thomas Pynchon

Thomas Pynchon’s first book V. is probably one of the great books of the last 50 years surely could be classified as a modern classic. It is a book full of symbolism.

It is a story about Benny Profane, a poor “schlemil” whose pathetic life is filled with almost surreal adventures that lead him to gangs and love and alligators in the sewers! But Benny’s adventures become intertwined with those of Stencil and the mysterious V. Here lies the great challenge and great genius of Pynchon. There is a search to discover meaning and perhaps to discover one’s own history.

Pynchon’s tale follows the misadventures of Benny and all the while, like some great mystery thriller in reverse, the deeper one gets into V., the more information that is revealed, the more complex the mystery becomes. Indeed, the thrill of Pynchon is to become ensnared in that mystery and try to find meaning in that complex and interconnected web.

Ultimately, perhaps, like all the great questions in life, the question of the meaning of who V. is. But the power of this novel is that it draws you in to consider that mystery. The book, somehow, finds connections between the great historical events of the beginning of this century and several generations of characters who themselves are all interconnected and the ever-changing technology of this century. Is V. a mysterious woman, a cause of the wars of this century or the essential meaninglessness of modern society? Read V. and discover that answer for yourself!

Fans of Danielle Steel or Stephen King might get a little bit of indigestion reading this though you do not have to have a triple digit IQ to follow this, read it and then re read it and then perhaps have another go you will find more meaning to this masterpiece from the young Pynchon. Enjoy!

V by Thomas Pynchon

Excripts from an interview conducted with Chuck Palahniuk regarding his next novel.

Plans for his next novel, to be released in 2011.

“My next novel, the one for 2011 — argh, my life is so mapped out — is a novel called Damned about an eleven-year-old girl who finds herself in Hell and learns how to manipulate the corrupt system of demons and bodily fluids. Imagine if The Shawshank Redemption had a baby by The Lovely Bones and it was raised by Judy Blume, and you have my next new project. It’s so frustrating when this girl, Madison, realizes that she’ll never grow up and become an adult… and believe me, I know just how she feels. Each new day, I look at my chest in the bathroom mirror, sideways, and hope it’s grown.

Maybe if they could invent a 3-D mirror…”

It’s okay to begin getting excited now.

Courtesy Q&A Doubleday Interview with Chuck

Chuck Palahniuk