Friday’s Clarín ran an article on Thomas Pynchon as preparation for Pynchon’s new book coming out this December. The Clarín article continues to perpetuate the myth of Pynchon, which certainly makes for a good article. Pynchon is definitely shy about having his photograph taken.
A quick search of the Internet indicates that he appears to be leading a comfortable life on the upper west side of New York City with his wife and son. There’s a rather infamous, blurry photo of him walking his son to school. I suspect that with the release of his new book, the availability of camera phones, flickr, and photos going around all over the Internet that Pynchon will soon have a much more difficult time staying hidden from the public eye. Perhaps we may be seeing the end of mysterious Mr. Pynchon if he dares to venture out of his apartment.
The Clarín article mentioned several of Pynchon’s books and that made me think that his writings likely appeal to a lot of Argentine readers, who are familiar with bizarre tales. So, I checked a couple of leading bookstores. Tematika.com is the online database of both El Ateneo and Yenyy bookstores. No Pynchon listed. (I love the El Ateneo bookstore on Santa Fé but the quality of their literature selection often isn’t that good).
Over at Libreria Hernandez, which always seems to have the best selection of English language literature translated into Spanish. Pynchon’s books are listed as translated into Spanish but only Vineland seems to be available. A couple of titles are listed as “consultar” and others are listed as not available.
For those of you interested in Pynchon’s upcoming novel, Against the Day, which Amazon still has listed as “Untitled Thomas Pynchon” there is a blurb written by Pynchon himself available on the Amazon site:
Spanning the period between the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 and the years just after World War I, this novel moves from the labor troubles in Colorado to turn-of-the-century New York, to London and Gottingen, Venice and Vienna, the Balkans, Central Asia, Siberia at the time of the mysterious Tunguska Event, Mexico during the Revolution, postwar Paris, silent-era Hollywood, and one or two places not strictly speaking on the map at all.
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 inferred.
The sizable cast of characters includes anarchists, balloonists, gamblers, corporate tycoons, drug enthusiasts, innocents and decadents, mathematicians, mad scientists, shamans, psychics, and stage magicians, spies, detectives, adventuresses, and hired guns. There are cameo appearances by Nikola Tesla, Bela Lugosi, and Groucho Marx.
As an era of certainty comes crashing down around their ears and an unpredictable future commences, these folks are mostly just trying to pursue their lives. Sometimes they manage to catch up; sometimes it’s their lives that pursue them.
Meanwhile, the author is up to his usual business. Characters stop what they’re doing to sing what are for the most part stupid songs. Strange sexual practices take place. Obscure languages are spoken, not always idiomatically. Contrary-to-the-fact occurrences occur. If it is not the world, it is what the world might be with a minor adjustment or two. According to some, this is one of the main purposes of fiction.
Let the reader decide, let the reader beware. Good luck.
The book is 992 pages, yikes! An interesting story about that blurb written by Pynchon. It appeared on Amazon then was pulled by Amazon over doubts by its authenticity. Afterall, Pynchon is supposed to be publicity shy. Then the publisher confirmed that the blurb was indeed by the author, so Amazon put it back online.
I wonder which will be more interesting, Pynchon’s new book or all the chatter on the Internet about Pynchon’s new book. With the number of New Yorkers moving to Buenos Aires, I’m going to be keeping a lookout for Pynchon in Palermo….hey, he used to live in Mexico City, so why not?