Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Pynchon and Peyton

The story so far: Thomas Pynchon's "Against the Day" was a much-anticipated Christmas present, and after a bit of warm-ups (stretching, breathing exercises), this was the weekend that I was going to start reading it. I got into it a bit Friday night, but Saturday after work I got beers with a friend, and Sunday was the NFL conference championship games, which meant beer and later, god help me, Jagermeister.

So last night, after finding out that my reading buddy had read about four times as much as me, I plunged back in. I'm now a bit past the first chapter, probably about 150 pages in. The big complaint I've seen about "Against the Day" is that it doesn't really hold together -- but at least thus far, I'd say it's more cohesive and linear than anything I've read of his save "The Crying of Lot 49." Of course, that's all relative and it's still far crazier than anything anyone else writes.

The time period Pynchon chooses -- late 19th/early 20th century -- is pretty fitting for someone of his gifts, a time when rapid advances were making any scientific theory, no matter how wild, seem possible. It's pretty entertaining stuff. Half of it probably flies right by me, and there's dozens of loose ends, only a few of which will probably be tied up. But no matter -- the joy in Pynchon is just letting him take you where he will, getting dazzled by the wordplay and blown away/amused by some of the ideas.

* * *

As for the football portion of life, I predicted a Colts-Saints Super Bowl a few weeks back ... and I was half right. The Saints game (they'd emerged as my sentimental favorite) was pretty dispiriting, but that Colts-Patriots game -- wow. Even through the haze of Jagermeister, that second half was one for the ages. I'll be rooting for the Colts on February 4 -- this Bears team just seems kind of drab, and Peyton Manning is one of the few football players that I take real pleasure in watching.

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