In anticipation of my review of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice that will appear in Slate on August 3, here is the first review I ever wrote of a Pynchon novel, published in my college newspaper and signed “Jon Rosenbaum”. In fact, although I never reviewed Slow Learner, Pynchon’s collection of early stories, I suppose it could be said that I’ve reviewed all his novels to date, because this brief review in the Bard Observer begins with a two-paragraph review of V.
I’ll also be posting, separately and in the near future, my review of Mason & Dixon, which originally appeared in In These Times. And my reviews of Gravity’s Rainbow (for the Village Voice) and of Vineland and Against the Day (both in the Chicago Reader) can be found elsewhere on this site.
One possible point of interest about this piece of juvenilia is my early comparison of Pynchon with Rivette in relation to what might be called the poetics of paranoia, a subject I would return to. For whatever it’s worth, the disappointment I’ve generally felt regarding Pynchon’s post-70s work is matched by the overall disappointment I’ve felt regarding Rivette’s post-70s work, and in both cases I’ve felt guilty about this, because the work I prefer tends to be less sane (and therefore less conventional and more avant-garde) than the work that follows it.… Read more »