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

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.

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.

Algernon

Far less intimidating than his great, overwrought Gravity's Rainbow, this 1990 novel presents a zany spoof satirical thriller on the surface, with an order of Harley-riding nuns, ninjettes, Reaganaught law enforcement agencies, 1960's radicals who have been driven underground or turned informants, and their mall-seeking children.With his trademark humor and his prose (such maddening prose, veering from beautiful and lyrical to stunted and awful) he undertakes an ambitious critique of America's political character as it developed in the 1980's, critiquing the legacy of the 1960s' social unrest ("Who was saved?") and the use of expanded law enforcement privileges such as RICO to surveil and repress the citizenry. He shows an American people estranged from its progressive history by television and low-quality work. At one point, a program undertaken to 'turn' left-wingers and re-educate them for the state's purposes is closed down for being unnecessary.In Vineland, a fictitious California forest area near Eureka, we fade on an ambiguously happy scene, a sort of haven from the police state where values appropriated by the right, such as family life and neighborhood, are lived affectionately.

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.

j. ergo

likely no review to come here as reading seems to've taken a surmounting lead, prioritistically speaking, over trying to put into words feelings about something made out of words already, & words that make my words feel like grunts. i will say this. i started vineland a few times--as pretty much most pynchon--w/o success, & over the yrs my assumptions about the follow-up, w/ 17 yrs b/w, of what i consider to be the greatest novel of the 20th century, skewed toward the heavy majority--that vineland was first considered the end of pynchon (something like scorsese's new york, new york), & then, after the appearance of mason & dixon & against the day, simply a low anomaly in his freshly invigorated pantheon. mason & dixon & against the day are now the last two remaining pynchon's for me to read, so i feel just slightly qualified to offer this opinion on vineland: it is a completely fucking extraordinary book, containing a heretofore previously & occasionally attempted, but unperfected, love for the characters that i don't even know if pynchon intended to be there. sure, there is a pervasive gloom of paranoia holding the book together like woodglue, but the characters, heroes, foils & villains alike, are the most sympathetic gathering of folks in anything i've ever read by him, except for maybe the short story the secret integration, which is about kids & was written when he was in his early 20's. also: reading bleeding edge just previously to vineland, i could not help but notice two very specific things & many, many stylistic echoes that make the two seem to be sister books. the first specific thing, which i believe is a device he uses in other books as well, but never so prevalent as in these two, are the constant, & hilarious, mention of biopics, w/ an actor & a subject selected, seemingly for their incongruities. they are short, some might say easy jokes, particularly for a writer like pynchon, but where & the way he interjects them always add context to the writing before & after it. my two favorite in vineland are john ritter in the bryant gumbel story & pee-wee herman in the robert musil story. the other obvious, though not as simply pointed out, similarity in the two books is pynchon's treatment of women. it is not a departure on the whole, as one of the things i've always admired about pynchon is his ability to mine the ever-so-fertile differences b/w women & men, but never treating them both as more-or-less human, i.e. the women are as evil or, though rarely, as good as any of the men, a complex & ambiguous equality that i don't hear mentioned enough. the women in all his books are their own guardians of their sexual freedom & w/o judgement, from the writer at least. sometimes what emerges is as dark as it gets, but never not counterbalanced--or counterobliterated--by the men. what is different in bleeding edge & vineland is that, maybe not completely, but way more than is usual in his other books, they outnumber the men in importance, depth (not the writing, but the choices he makes in focusing on), &, well, sheer numbers. vineland, more than bleeding edge, at times even comes across to me it not one all by itself, at least thomas pychon's closest approximation of a feminist novel (if a feminist novel can be written by a man). i began to get the same feeling when i was reading 2666, that the massive sprawling plot(s) & long introspective stories were exquisite window dressing for what essentially was a novel (or 5) about the indignities man has for yrs subjected women to. vineland is less that, but more focused on the individual complexities of the women throughout the book. that said, i'm a dood, so maybe that's why it seems to stand out so much to me.guess this sorta turned into a review after all, kinda, so i guess i feel the need to conclude it in some way. two of, at the most, my five favorite writers are thomas pynchon & donald barthelme. in the last six months i've read books by the two of them that are considered to be of lesser quality than the rest of their oeuvre. w/ don b., it was his final book, the slim novel the king. in both cases i was ever so pleasantly surprised that i was surprised in the first place that both books are works of genius, detours, if only slightly, from each writer's normal tread. in the case of vineland, it has both deepened suspicions i held for pynchon's writing for awhile, while also causing me to recalibrate completely the lens i view his work through.in other words, pynchon sorta resembles what the late, great dj john peel said about my favorite band the fall: "always different, always the same."

molosovsky

Eigentlich ein 5-Sterne-Roman, dem ich aber ›nur‹ vier Sterne gebe, weil ich dummer Mensch den Roman hauptsächlich unterwegs auf dem Weg zur & von der Arbeit gelesen habe, wofür er sich eben nicht unbedingt eigent. Die vielen Rückblenden — teils sogar mehrere ineinander verschachtelte — machten es mir nicht leicht, flüssig und verwirrungsfrei dem ganzen munteren Abgesang-Panorama auf die Alternativ- & Protestkultur der 60er/70er-Jahre zu folgen.Dennoch eine dolle Reise und wie alle Pynchons, die ich bisher durch hab, die stellenweisen Mühen locker wert.

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

Paddythemic

"War in Vietnam, murder as an instrument of American politics, black neighborhoods torched to ashes and death, all must have been off on some other planet."wizened ole sage dropping zen koans or a novelist with quirky sensibilities? my lonely opinion is tending towards the second so far, though i enjoy his political outlook. all seems like a drunken bar crawl where you occasionally run into a few witty people worth talking to, though the ninjas are a nice touch. emotional resonance is hidden like an easter egg in the last third,...sort of.just skirting the perimeter here on Ruggle's work til I dive headfirst into the mighty GR. "[Brock] was a devotee of the thinking of pioneer criminologist Cesare Lombroso (1836-1909), who'd believed that the brains of criminals were short on lobes that controlled civilized values like morality and respect for the law, tending indeed to resemble animal more than human brains, and thus caused the crania that housed them to develop differently, which included the way their faces would turn out looking. Abnormally large eye sockets, prognathism, frontal submicrocephaly, Darwinian Tipped Ear, you name it, Lombroso had a list that went on, and skull data to back him up. By Brock's time the theory had lapsed into a quaint, undeniably racist spin off from 19th century for phrenology, crude in method and long superseded, although it seemed reasonable to Brock. What really got his attention was the Lombrosian concept of "misoneism". Radicals, militants, revolutionaries, however they styled themselves, all sinned against this deep organic human principle, which Lombroso had named after the Greek for "hatred of anything new". It operated as a feedback device to keep societies coming along safely, coherently. Any sudden attempt to change things would be answered by an immediate misoneistic backlash, not only from the State but from the people themselves - Nixon's election '68 seeming to Brock a perfect example of this."

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.

Franco Vite

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

Alex

As dense and meaty as Pynchon ever was. The odd references are easier to pick up, now that they refer to Godzilla and grunge punk instead of doo-wop or Baron von Ribbentrop. I'll never argue with the addition of ninjas to a work of high literature, and though the action does come packed- motorcycle rescues from campus riots, late-night blackout drug runs- the images are often watered down with that heavy, heavy prose. An example: "As time went by, that is, he did begin to wonder. But could not ask-- she would only evade, turn her head away and smile, not in any sinister way but with a child's secretive semipro glaze, longing-- though she only told him years later how she used it to get her through-- for the Retreat, the cloudy ridge, the high dark walls, where she could nest for a while with the others-- not crippled sparrows but birds of prey, ragged from the storm, tired from the hunt, in for a little R and R-- longing for the mountains, much as she'd once romantically imagined about her old teacher Inoshiro Sensei." So Pynchon's prose has always been soft down and switchback curves. What can be said except, if you loved him before, you'll love him now. You have to wonder just how much research he did on 80's drug culture for this book. The structure of his images (see above) gets often close to, and sometimes way beyond, schizophrenic in their complexity. Characters become birds, clowns, soldiers, plants, and mobsters all in the space of a few pages. Motivations are so meticulously explained that you feel, from time to time, that there is nothing left to reveal to yourself. Pynchon has seen it all, and written it. So sometimes the book looks more like a poetic dictionary of the human experience than an energeic novel. If anyone but Pynchon had their hands on those strings, the plot would fall apart. The book would be worthless. But since it is Pynchon, and he knows where his characters go no matter where they wander off to, and he knows how to call them back home, it works. This is a lovely book. And if you have the patience to sit and read it, please, by all means.

Frank Roberts

Can't remember the name of the guy who suggested I read this stack of won tons. He was a waiter I worked with in the North End, had cystic fibrosis and, halfway through Vineland, I recall thinking he was among the dopiest dingbats alive. But I felt bad about that, with the image of him coughing out a heartfelt recommendation for the newest novel from the great Thomas Pynchon. CF cases don't live too long so I finished the fucker.It's a tragic tale, since Pynchon tells you how it ends in the beginning. Thinking there may be some literary foot sling to flip you over at the end you comb the litter of the chapters for the clues. But there aren't any hidden hints and you get to read nearly 400 pages to get to what he already said was coming. My recommendation? Read Vineland backwards, or not at all, and you'll arrive at the same net result. No interest in reading Gravity's Rainbow after this noodle swamp.Another turning point with this book - I stopped taking most friend's suggestions for reading material. Didn't cut the amount of garbage I read because I'd still buy anything cooed from the mouths of cute girls if I thought it'd get me laid....Matter of fact, JACKASS ON A CAMEL, Ch. 2 spells out the literary stunts I'd pull for love...http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/97...

Andrea LeClair

I adore this book. I've read it several times and I'm still not sure I understand how it all unfolds, and how these strange characters' lives come together in this not-quite-our-world, but it's a story about loss and about unlikely partnerships and personal history forming a mythology and there are paragraphs - and whole pages - that still make my breath catch.

Wendy

too much, too many wacky characters, too many weird references.

Suzanne

Has anyone else ever employed such loopy, labyrinthine, lovely language to tell such weird and wackily written tales? I think not.

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