Vineland

ISBN: 0141180633
ISBN 13: 9780141180632
By: Thomas Pynchon

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About this book

A group of Americans in Northern California in 1984 are struggling with the consequences of their lives in the sixties, still run by the passions of those times -- sexual and political -- which have refused to die. Among them is Zoyd Wheeler who is preparing for his annual act of televised insanity (for which he receives a government stipend) when an unwelcome face appears from out of his past.An old nemesis, federal prosecutor Brock Vond, storms into Vineland at the head of a heavily armed strike force. Soon Zoyd and his daughter, Prairie, go into hiding while Vond begins a relationship with Zoyd's ex-wife and uses Prairie as a pawn against the mother she never knew she had.Part daytime drama, part political thriller, Vineland is a strange evocation of a twentieth-century America headed for a less than harmonic future.

Reader's Thoughts

Kristen Shaw

Gravity's Rainbow is the flashy intellectual you date for a few months before discovering his/her pretensions to be vaguely problematic long-term; Vineland (like Zoyd) is the partner you keep around for while, who cuddles you at night and makes fancy herbal tea. I'll stay friends with Gravity's Rainbow always, but Vineland hit me really hard and my allegiance is to the latter - as a more accessible, beautifully-written but nonetheless still-Deleuzian brain fuck of healthy proportions.

oriana

So when you think of Pynchon you think of serious work, right? And trudgery and difficulty and obfuscation and pedanticism, and like this dizzying thing that just makes you feel unintellectual and slow for never being able to catch up, right? Well if that is the case, you have never read Vineland . Because oh. my. god. This book is so fucking good.I'm not going to try to summarize or anything, because this book is too sprawling and reeling, and anyway that would be an afront to its amazingness. But look, it's got all the same basic building blocks as any Pynchon book—a million characters exhaustively historied, unfollowable plot twists, crazy ranting paranoia, incredibly phraseology, bizarre songs, sixties culture, sex and violence (in fact, large swaths are oddly comparable to Kill Bill, if you ask me)—but it's done at a much...easier level somehow. It's much more accessible, it's hilarious and warm, and you don't feel like you're in quicksand the whole time, just desperately trying to understand and keep breathing. See, people never talk about the really unimaginable joy that soars through Pynchon's work. And beauty! I mean look, this book is tough, for sure, and I won't try to claim that I understood everything, but honestly it just doesn't matter. It's just so much fun to read. It's not work at all. And the ending! Once I had like thirty pages left I started getting that dark foreboding feeling, you know, like there's no way he can end this satisfactorily, there just isn't enough space. I was so sure he was going to do something horrible, leaving everything messy and unfulfilling, end things like right in the middle of a sentence or something, but no! The ending was beautiful, just like the rest of the book, totally satisfying and wonderful. Jeez I loved this book. Wow.

Sasha Zbarskaya

Писать рецензии на не понравившиеся книги мне легко и (не)приятно, на умеренно понравившиеся - труднее, а на очень понравившиеся - почти невозможно, поскольку очень похоже на вивисекцию чего-то, что дорого живым и чирикающим. "Вайнленд" - это каминг-хоум, это Додж и Толкин одновременно, это "Властелин колец", в котором назгулы - госмрази, хиппари и их дети - хоббиты, а сама Винляндия - Шир, что размещается на территории былой славы Арнора/рок-н-ролльщиков. Саурон, тем не менее, непобедим, а лишь на время шуганут - да и то не отовсюду, и Средиземью еще предстоит с ним иметься, ибо палантиры теперь - в каждом доме, а последний корабль из Серой Гавани отплыл лет за 15 до начала действия романа. Авалон мы себе, похоже, и вовсе придумали (хотя остаются шансы, что он, не существуя в пространстве, все же есть во времени) - что никак не мешает нам бывать там, когда заблагорассудится, поскольку есть, как я слышу от Пинчона, свободы, которые не отнимут, пока сам не отдашь.

Λουκιανὸς

Classic Pynchon: complexly convoluted, erratically jumping around different characters and time periods; narratives within narratives within narratives, often so labyrinthine that when he returns to the actual narrative you’ve forgotten what is actually going on. As far as I can tell, the book is an interesting study in innocent, anarchic, childish naivete—guised in the hippy drug-euphoria of the sixties-early seventies and personified in musician-turned-ersatz-mentally-disabled-pothead Zoyd Wheeler—and brutal, fascistic, “adult” realism—guised in the increasingly violent and sadistic anti-drug activities of various governmental agencies and personified in the fittingly Aryan neo-Fascist Brock Vond. What are the implications of power and statehood? What is the nature of submission? What is revolutionary and what is conservative?All of this comes with a rather unflattering portrayal of the American law enforcement apparatus, which, scarily enough, has in the present era metastasized into an even greater bloated, quasi-military behemoth bent on eradicating ineradicable substances than in Pynchon’s [probably] hyperbolic representation. War on Drugs, indeed.On an unrelated note, I sensed eerie echoes of Infinite Jest—or rather, echoes of Vineland within Infinite Jest—with the characters’ preoccupation with, possibly even addiction to, television as not only entertainment, but an expression of humanity and, in the case of Hector, perhaps even an actual extension of human or at least semi-human life; not to mention the potential for total control over people through entertainment.A thought-provoking, challenging read, but worth the trouble.

Raffaella Foresti

Benvenuti a Vineland. Questa sarà la vostra specialissima guida virtuale della città. Partite appena potete. Non c’è stagione migliore per leggere un libro di Pynchon dell’istante stesso in cui vi viene in mente di farlo.Come arrivare. C’è un volo low cost che parte giovedì mattina da Milano Malpensa alle 06.40. Amsterdam – Minneapolis – Los Angeles. L’arrivo è previsto per le 16.30, in perfetto orario per un coloratissimo smoothie biologico da supermarket. Solo che una volta raggiunta la California non sarete più vicini alla meta di quanto non lo sareste dalla stazione della metropolitana di Gessate. Perché Vineland è una città immaginaria e perché i fatti si svolgono nel 1984. L’unico modo per raggiungere Vineland è andare in libreria, scovare l’opera, e portarvela a casa. Queste le coordinate dall’Italia: titolo: Vineland; autore: Thomas Pynchon; traduttore: Paolini P. F.; editore: BUR Biblioteca Univ. Rizzoli; collana: Scrittori contemporanei; anno di prima edizione: 2000; ISBN: 881720272X; ISBN-13: 9788817202725; pagine: 445; formato: brossura; reparto: Narrativa > Narrativa contemporanea.Dove dormire. Evitate il “Long Jam”. Si dice che da quando George Lucas vi si trasferì con tutta la sua troupe per girare il “Ritorno dello Jedi” da quelle parti si sia verificata una strana “presa di coscienza” al punto che, ora, viene frequentato unicamente da taglialegna che indossano scarpe di camoscio sbiadito incontestabilmente blu, ascoltano musica New Age e sorseggiando mimosas al kiwi appollaiati su trespoli in stile. Per non perdere nessuno degli eventi più importanti del racconto, vi converrà invece alloggiare al “Cucumber Lounge”, malfamata locanda alle spalle di una foresta di sequoie ove potrete scegliere tra due dozzine di casette da motel, ciascuna dotata di stufa a lega e barbecue, con la sua veranda, il suo letto ad acqua e la tv via cavo. Dobbiamo però avvertirvi che quello di dormire è un problema che vi porrete di rado. Al vostro arrivo a Vineland sarete accolti da Zoyd Wheelert, (un ex hippy degli anni sessanta, divorziato, con figlia a carico, e come minimo un po’ a disagio nell’era reaganiana “war on drugs”) del quale potrete subito ammirare la tradizionale performance di lancio nella vetrina del motel. Braccato da Hector Zuniga, un agente dell’antidroga a sua volta braccato dai camici bianchi dell’Ente Morale Nazionale per Video Educazione e Riabilitazione (una sorta di disintossicatoio per teledipendenti), Zoyd Wheelert (parti uguali di Homer Simpson e Jeff “the Dude”) vi introdurrà in un singolare universo fatto di intramontabili fricchettoni, guerrieri ninja, motociclisti che per motivi fiscali si sono trasformati in un gruppo di suore, confraternite “per donne che prendono il mondo a calci nel culo” e comunità di Thantatoidi. Tutti più o meno connessi con Prairie, la figlia di Zoyd, in cerca della madre mai conosciuta (ex-regista radicale moralmente responsabile della caduta della Repubblica Popolare del Rock and Roll). E tutti a scappare dal super-cattivo Brock Vond, il procuratore federale psicopatico di cui posso anche fornirvi una breve descrizione: “di statura media, snello e biondo di capelli, portava con sé una guardinga, mai del tutto fidabile, personalità di riserva, femminile, sottosviluppata, dalla quale la parte maschile di lui, che in teoria comandava l’unità, doveva costantemente, anch’essa, ben guardarsi”.Cosa e dove mangiare. Nessun dubbio: recatevi alla trattoria annessa al bowling Vineland Lanes e ordinate Enchilada Speciale (macrobiotica) e zuppa del giorno (a base di zucchine) con tostada vegetariana. Qui troverete anche una delle scene più divertenti e meglio descritte di tutto il romanzo. L’hippy inacidito Zoyd Wheelert e l’agente antinarcotici teledipendente Hector Zuniga (“era da anni un rapporto romantico persistente almeno quanto quello fra il gatto Silvestro e l’uccellino Titti”) seduti allo stesso tavolo, come nel più classico dei classici polizieschi americani. Imperdibile.Come muoversi. Visto che dovrete frequentemente spostarvi nel tempo e nello spazio, tra molteplici punti di vista, lungo una trama piuttosto caotica ma molto ben architettata, è indispensabile che abbiate alle spalle un po’ di allenamento. Ma se siete già sopravvissuti a “L’Incanto del lotto 49”, secondo me, avete tutti i mezzi per riuscire anche in quest’impresa.Cosa vedere. Per questo non vi serve alcuna guida. Luoghi, immagini e personaggi vi cadranno addosso senza bisogno che siate voi a cercarli. Basta non farsi travolgere.Curiosità. Ad un certo punto del percorso ritroveremo, per lasciarlo praticamente subito, Mucho Mass, personaggio già ampiamente secondario de L’Incanto del Lotto 49.Come vi ho già detto varie volte, Pynchon è difficile. Questa, per opinione unanime, è l’opera più accessibile. Non è un passaggio obbligato, ma consigliabile. Se volete arrivare alla sua miglior poetica, quella di “V.”, “Gravity’s Rainbow”, “Mason&Dixon, ma un po’ la temete… passate prima da Vineland.Enjoy your stay!www.raccontopostmoderno.com

Rayroy

Prairie, a 14 year daughter of an old time hippie Zoyd, who up till 1984 raises her alone in a hippie retreat in Vineland County. Paririe is sent away by Zoyd, because the DEA is on his tail. Prairie runs into people of her fathers past and learns of her mother's betrayle towards her, her father and the Movement. Vineland is full of culture references from Star Wars, Godzilla, the buger king where's the beef lady ads form T.V. and countless others. There is so much that goes on in the novel, from a mob wedding to a theme park idea based on volience, a group of female ninja's that know the finger of death and more all which sort of and sort of don't come together in the end.Vineland is a tale as entertaining as is eye opening!

Maryann

This is my second read from Pynchon. I think we are not friends. The book seemed much more about characters than a story and that's frustrating to me. It's not hard to read, just difficult to "get". Characters flash back and forth through their lives with no transition and sometimes it takes a re-read or two to figure out what's going on. The story has something to do with drugs and ninjas and affairs with crazy DEA agents. Oh, and television addiction. And zombies. Food: this is a trail of M&M's, meandering through all kinds of crazy terrain, sometimes doubling back, and you have no idea who's laying them out before you. When you get to the end, you have a bellyful of candy, but was it really worth it?

Steven

What I admire about Pynchon is his apparent determination to write whatever the hell he wants, regardless of what he thinks the reading audience may expect, and his ability to do it with an originality of style and wordsmithery (probably not a real word, but, hey, we're discussing Pynchon here) that you're unlikely to find in many other authors. That said, I found this to be an adequate though not breathtaking contribution within the context of the three other Pynchon novels I've read (those he published before this one came out in 1990). It appears he's gone in for a bit more comedy here than usual (which is a negative for me, since I find him to be substantially less funny than he seems to think he is), but there's still plenty of his trademark dual obsessiveness regarding secret underground organizations and impossibly surreal scenarios. Sometimes the writing recalled to my mind the drug-fueled mania of Hunter Thompson, and at other times the wacky misadventures of his 1960s counterculture characters reminded me of Richard Farina's (much funnier and less fantastic) Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me. Still, at its heart it's pure Pynchon.The action jumps back and forth between the paranoid Nixonian years of the late 1960s and the paranoid Reaganesque drug war years of the 1980s. Recurring themes include America's growing tendency toward government surveillance and fascist militarism, television as the controlling drug for an increasingly sedated populace, and wistful nostalgia for the lost idealism of the sixties counterculture. Also tossed in are some bizarre ninja ridiculousness, outrageous pseudo-science fiction, kinky sex, apparent reincarnation, and even some moments of real emotional tenderness and beautiful prose. There are also numerous esoteric cultural and historical references that some readers may not catch on to, but that would hardly take away from the overall effect.This is one of Pynchon's more readable novels, but not by much. It still requires a fair amount of effort to fully appreciate what is going on. And there are plenty of instances of Pynchon's signature run-on sentences that touch on a multitude of topics before the period, and his penchant for creating tangents that are explored for page after page before the reader is brought back around to home base, by which time I, at least, had often forgotten where we were. I applaud the attempt, Tom, but you're no Bill Faulkner. The often rambling narrative tried my patience a number of times, but I recommend seeing it through to the end, at which time much of it is brought full circle to a (somewhat untidy but not completely unsatisfying) conclusion.

Zach Wener-fligner

What a trip this book is. I'll eschew a real review (other folks on this web site do a good job, and Salman Rushdie's (http://www.nytimes.com/books/97/05/18...) is on point and a pleasure to read) and instead reprint one of my favorite passages in any piece of literature:"So the bad Ninjamobile swept along the great Ventura, among Olympic visitors who teemed all over the freeway system in midday densities till far into the night, shined-up, screaming black motorcades that could have carried any of several office seekers, cruisers heading for treed and more gently roaring boulevards, huge double and triple trailer rigs that loved to find Volkswagens laboring up grades and go sashaying around them gracefully at gnat's-ass tolerances, plus flirters, deserters, wimps and pimps, speeding like bullets, grinning like chimps, above the heads of TV watchers, lovers under the overpasses, movies at malls letting out, bright gas-station oases in pure fluorescent spill, canopied beneath the palm trees, soon wrapped, down the corridors of the surface streets, in nocturnal smog, the adobe air, the smell of distant fireworks, the spilled, the broken world."

Garrett Dunnington

I read about 130 pages of this book waiting for the plot. I am trying to give a fair review, but because I couldn't get into this book, I am going to discriminate. The plot rambled, there was so much activity that I couldn't even figure out what was going on and I couldn't connect with the characters. These are pretty good reasons to stop reading this book.

Franco Vite

Il più accessibile, tra i romanzi di Pynchon.Geniale metafora della generazione americana dei '60.Bellissimo.

Nathan Roberson

Oh Thomas, I'm so very very sorry. I'm sorry that the revolution of the 1960s never really came true. I really am. I wasn't there, but I think we would be a lot better off right now if it had worked out. Regardless of this desire, it didn't work out. Thomas Pynchon looks back on why it didn't go as planned, and what became of revolution's champions in Vineland.There isn't much to say for the plot of Vineland. Plot is never important in Pynchon's world. Always about the journey, never about the destination . . . right? For those who hate Pynchon's lack of resolution, Vineland might be the Pynchon novel for you. All the loose ends are tied up rather neatly at the end, save for a few exceptions. C'mon now. Some conspiracies must remain ambiguous otherwise they are no longer conspiracies. The meat of the book focuses on a cast of characters and certain events in their life throughout the period of c.1960-1984. There are a few minor characters who get flashbacks prior to the Summer of Love, but if you're reading this review you probably expected that.What struck me the most in Vineland was the emotion present throughout the novel, mainly the emotion tied to family. Of what I can glean from the little biographical information out there on Pynchon, he was starting a family or planning to start a family while writing Vineland. The book is also dedicated to his mother and father, who I assume passed away a short time before he began working on Vineland. It adds up. You end up with a happier, mellower, and softer Pynchon. That ties directly into a point he makes concerning the hippie generation. They became more content and soft-spoken. Pynchon sees this even in himself.As for the prose, it's definitely his second most coherent novel, only trounced by the recent release of Inherent Vice. No archaic customs, no meandering drug-induced tangents (for the most part), and no obscure German words. Only a little Spanish here and there. If you live in Florida as I do, that's not a problem at all. Is Vineland a good choice for the uninitiated? Tough call. While easier to read than any of Pynchon's massive novels, it would serve as fool's gold to those outside the cult. I still say The Crying of Lot 49 serves as the proper introduction point. Pynchon will always be some sort of zany madcap anarchist, as he continues to be with Vineland, but there is some element to Vineland that assumes you know where this man is coming from. Of course, that could just be me thinking I know where he's coming from and tying that in. Your call.

Paul

I thought it was time to read some Pynchon as he seems to be a modern American icon. I can see the positives. The man can definitely write. He is clearly very bright and excessively erudite. I must say that was where it ended for me. The plot is ridiculous and rather difficult to follow. There are too many characters and these characters did not engage me at all. I found Pynchon's zaniness very annoying, pointless and at times infantile.If you cut through the garbage overall I thought the novel depicted a certain time and place in America rather well.Will I be moving onto Gravity's Rainbow? Life's too short.

Malapata

Me rindo. Cuando te da tanta pereza coger un libro que parece que lo estás leyendo obligado es mejor decir basta. Y eso que al principio me enganchó; tengo debilidad por el humor absurdo y los personajes estrambóticos de los que está bien servida Vineland. Pero conforme avanzaba la lectura tenía cada vez la sensación de no estar yendo a ningún sitio. Pynchon se mueve aquí en espirales que van abarcando cada vez más personajes a los que dedica unas páginas antes de pasar al siguiente, como un espectáculo de circo. Pero en el circo todo funciona mientras el espectador esté pendiente de un "más difícil todavía". Si juegas con la sorpresa no puedes permitirte repetirte.Y justo esa ha sido la sensación que me ha llevado a abandonar. Los nuevos personajes no me aportaban nada nuevo, y ya no encontraba interés en intentar averiguar por dónde iba a continuar la trama. La espiral se había convertido en un círculo del que no encontraba salida. Salvo, literalmente, abandonándolo.

Mike

When I was getting a PhD in English, I refused to read Pynchon because I thought the last thing the world needed was another book by a modernist author who trying to be more difficult than Joyce.Then I picked up Vineland out of a bargain bin, and realized it was probably the funniest thing I had ever read. Pynchon is an incredible comic writer.

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