Selection for September/October

Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon

Thomas Pynchon wrote some of the most influential novels of the century. Hyper-smart (His IQ is allegedly 190, one of the highest ever recorded), intensely private (There are only 4 or 5 pictures that exist online and 2 of them don't show his face. One is just his hand and two others show him in his twenties..he's 76 now) and funny (he's been on the Simpsons with a paper bag over his head). All of his books are brilliant and hilarious.

I've read most of his books - V, The Crying of Lot 49, Slow Learner, Gravity's Rainbow, Vineland, Against the Day, Inherent Vice. But I skipped one, Mason & Dixon from 1997. It's very long.

Pynchon is known for his paranoid, big-brother, conspiracy theory stuff. But Mason & Dixon really is the story of Mason & Dixon, the guys that drew the Line. It's fictionalized and massively weird, but it doesn't seem typically Pynchonian.

It's been sitting on my shelf for 5 years so I'm just going to read it now. It's the longest book we've done on the blog. But summer is over and it's time to get real. Plus, Pynchon has a new book coming out next month and I don't want to be two books behind.

Lots of people have tried tracking down Thomas Pynchon and it has led to some great pieces of writing:





I can't go on, I'll go on.

Beckett's characters, including Molloy and Moran, seem to be filled with a longing to stop. They want to rest, sit, lie down. They want to die, or at least to live without movement or emotion.

"Beckett Sitting"

Moran has his grave prepared:

"As long as the earth endures that spot is mine, in theory. Sometimes I went and looked at my grave. The stone was up already. It was a simple Latin cross, white. I wanted to have my name put on it with the here lies and the date of my birth. Then all it would have wanted is the date of my death. They would not let me. Sometimes I smiled as if I were dead already."

To sum up: Life is grim and it makes you unbearably tired.