breaking news & do the math
en: summaries are impossible
michael richards, mel gibson, and ted haggard are aliens from haterland. they have been sent to destroy civilization. if you see their spaceship, throw rotten tomatoes, beer bottles, and crucifixes.
Accidentalmente me topé con este blog maravilloso. Grande, también, la nueva reseña de Menand en The New Yorker: una lección de crítica certera, buen humor y personalidad para las divas que tenemos en nuestra narco-farándula intelectual.
DO THE MATH
en: The New Yorker
Thomas Pynchon is the apostle o imperfection, so it is arguably some sort o commendation to say that his new novel, “Against the Day” (Penguin; $35), is a ver imperfect book. Imperfect not in the sense of “Ambitious but flawed.” Imperfect in the sens of “What was he thinking?
The book is set in the period between 1893 and around 1920, and this is the plot: An anarchist named Webb Traverse, who employs dynamite as a weapon against the mining and railroad interests out West, is killed by two gunmen, Deuce Kindred and Sloat Fresno, who were hired by the wicked arch-plutocrat Scarsdale Vibe. Traverse’s sons—Kit, a mathematician; Frank, an engineer; and Reef, a cardsharp and ladies’ man—set out to avenge their father’s murder. (Webb also has a daughter, Lake, but she takes up with one of the killers.) This story requires a thousand and eighty-five pages to get told, or roughly the number of pages it took for Napoleon to invade Russia and be driven back by General Kutuzov. Of course, there are a zillion other things going on in “Against the Day,” but the Traverse-family revenge drama is the only one that resembles a plot—that is, in Aristotle’s helpful definition, an action that has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
The rest of the novel is shapeless, just yards and yards of Pynchonian wallpaper: fantastic invention, arcane reference, virtuosic prose.