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Against the Day por Thomas Pynchon
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Against the Day (edição 2007)

por Thomas Pynchon

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
2,846523,665 (4.07)176
Spanning the period between the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 and the years just after World War I, this novel moves from the labor troubles in Colorado to turn-of-the-century New York, to London and Gottingen, Venice and Vienna, the Balkans, Central Asia, Siberia at the time of the mysterious Tunguska Event, Mexico during the Revolution, postwar Paris, silent-era Hollywood, and one or two places not strictly speaking on the map at all. With a worldwide disaster looming just a few years ahead, it is a time of unrestrained corporate greed, false religiosity, moronic fecklessness, and evil intent in high places. No reference to the present day is intended or should be inferred. The sizable cast of characters includes anarchists, balloonists, gamblers, corporate tycoons, drug enthusiasts, innocents and decadents, mathematicians, mad scientists, shamans, psychics, and stage magicians, spies, detectives, adventuresses, and hired guns. There are cameo appearances by Nikola Tesla, Bela Lugosi, and Groucho Marx. As an era of certainty comes crashing down around their ears and an unpredictable future commences, these folks are mostly just trying to pursue their lives. Sometimes they manage to catch up; sometimes it's their lives that pursue them. Meanwhile, the author is up to his usual business. Characters stop what they're doing to sing what are for the most part stupid songs. Strange sexual practices take place. Obscure languages are spoken, not always idiomatically. Contrary-to-the-fact occurrences occur. If it is not the world, it is what the world might be with a minor adjustment or two. According to some, this is one of the main purposes of fiction. Let the reader decide, let the reader beware. Good luck. -Thomas Pynchon… (mais)
Membro:bryanalexander
Título:Against the Day
Autores:Thomas Pynchon
Informação:Penguin (Non-Classics) (2007), Paperback, 1104 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
Avaliação:*****
Etiquetas:Nenhum(a)

Pormenores da obra

Against the Day por Thomas Pynchon

  1. 03
    BioShock Infinite por Irrational Games (alaskayo)
    alaskayo: A video game that takes its nods where it wants to from Pynchon's latest monsterwork. An involving story with revolutionary AI and character development in another steampunk'd, quantum mechanix'd reimagining of the original Chicago World's Fair and all the tropes that came with the times.… (mais)
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Inglês (50)  Francês (1)  Espanhol (1)  Todas as línguas (52)
Mostrando 1-5 de 52 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
I'm not going to lie, there were several times when I was reading Against the Day that I was in danger of losing the faith. There were several sections that made me wonder if Pynchon had somehow lost his touch: they were too long, too allusive, too reminiscent of past works, too boring, even. Many of the trademark songs seemed uninspired, some entire subplots pointless at first, and it was hard to avoid the sense that some themes and details were "borrowed" from earlier works. Many stretches of dialogue were cryptic to the point of seeming self-parody. And yet, after I finally finished it, all I could do was shake my head at how he'd done it again. I should have learned to trust him after the epic sweep of Mason & Dixon, but V. was a bit faster-paced, and I was expecting the same speed here. Against the Day was slow and subtle, unfolding at its own pace; that wasn't repetition I was seeing, exactly, Pynchon had just mixed some new themes in with his old standbys: anarchism, revolution, capitalism, power, math, music, technology, magic, time, fate, family, bilocation, resonances, love.... The traditional massive cast of characters was there, but the way that the action orbited around the central Traverse family was masterful, unlike anything I'd read from him, and his constant globe-hopping wasn't a search for a plot, it was an allegory for the birth of the 20th century that couldn't be contained in small California towns like some of his other books. After the first 200 pages I was ready to drop the book, after 500 pages I was going to continue and give it an average rating, but after finishing it all I can do is sit back and let the beautiful phrases, the cheerful humanity, and the deep affection for the foibles of the world Pynchon explores roll around in my head. Those earlier slow parts suddenly turned into clever foreshadowing, the masses of walk-ons became useful conductors of action, and the omnipresent homages to past works and Pynchon favorites revealed themselves to be the same familiar in-jokes that I'd always loved. For a while I was going to let this novel languish in the lower bracket of his works where V. and Vineland dwell, yet while it doesn't quite rise to the Olympian heights of Gravity's Rainbow, Mason & Dixon, or The Crying of Lot 49, it's a beautiful, genre-defying book packed with indelible images and brilliant vitality. Amazing. ( )
1 vote aaronarnold | May 11, 2021 |
Some exceptional passages. Bit of a slog for me towards the end. I enjoyed the historical fiction more than the magical realism elements. ( )
  EricSwinehart | Dec 13, 2020 |
Enjoying it so far. It's almost 1100 pages with dense prose, lots of interacting characters and multiple rich subplots so budget time accordingly.

It's a mashup of steampunk, Upton Sinclair social criticism, alternative history fantasy with bits of supernatural fantasy and alchemy thrown in to liven up the mix.

I'm finding it easier to read than Mason and Dixon, the last Pynchon work I attempted. ( )
  agh19 | Sep 25, 2020 |
On finishing my read of Against the Day, I believe I have read all of Thomas Pynchon's published fiction--all his books, anyway: the novels and the Slow Learner collection. This one took two attempts: I halted the first circa 2007 at the midpoint of the novel, and I returned to read the whole thing this year. Straddling the 19th and 20th centuries, I think it is Pynchon's longest book. It descends from a rarified world of "boys' adventure" in airships, through anarchist struggle, family revenge, state espionage, sexual compulsion, academic intrigue, and mystical conspiracy, to meditations on light, number, and time.

It is strange that my first attempt at this book was while I was living in Chicago, and my second has been in Colorado. It begins in Chicago at the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893, and several characters travel from Chicago to Colorado--while Colorado is also the disseminating point for the Traverse family, whose various members trace many of the book's persistent plot threads. Ultimately, the geography of the book is all-encompassing, featuring London, Venice, Vienna, Mexico, Shambahla, and the Hollow Earth, among other locations. It includes a typically Pynchonian cast of thousands, with names like Ruperta Chirpingdon-Groin and Bevis Moistleigh.

The title phrase appears several times in the text, each with a different contextually-driven meaning. In addition to these, I understood it to be an Englishing of contre jour: the technique of giving focus to a backlit subject in photography and painting. This notion relates to inventor-character Merle Rideout's photographic career with its through-line intersecting both the early and late parts of the novel, and to the physics of light that is centered in many different passages, as well as the sense of opaque futurity in the lead up to the Great War and the subsequent totalitarianisms of the 20th century.

As always, Pynchon is very funny, littering the book with jokes to take the edge off of a palpable anger. Among the many digressive episodes, some exalt genre conventions from less "literary" species of fiction, such as the terrific weird horror passage recounted by the explorer Fleetwood Vibe (138-148). Sex is frequent enough in the early parts of the book, and somewhat surprisingly seems to increase in the later ones. Altered states of consciousness and metaphysical indeterminacy create ambiguities and introduce unreliability into the third-person omniscient narration.

Some quick notes regarding my "completed" and iterative consumption of Pynchon's works (in no particular order): Having read Inherent Vice I saw the movie during its initial release, and I think Gravity's Rainbow needs to inspire a grand piece of musical theater. V is at the top of my list of Pynchon to re-read. I have now read Mason & Dixon twice and Against the Day one-and-a-half times--they were each worth it.
3 vote paradoxosalpha | Sep 1, 2020 |
I'm not sure that I can review this. Honestly.

I'm overwhelmed with the sheer sprawling immensity and lack of cohesion except for just a few special points... the big ones happening to be light and light's refraction, and anarchism.

SAY WHAT?

Yeah. That's kinda my view, too. It's set up with seemingly hundreds of little scenes and build-ups starting all the way back to Chicago's World's Fair and ending after WWI and never staying in any place for very long. Want to globe-trot around the world? Hop from character to character in admittedly brilliant and detailed and deep world-building sampling whole realities of the past? Stick around. We've got anarchism and dynamite-wielding revolutionaries, Archduke Ferdinand, Nicola Tesla, druggies, time-traveling hucksters turning harmonicists into a paranoid commune, we've got the ultimate steampunk, we've got sexual escapades from all sorts and means and ends, we've got a cumulative history of detectives starting from mining towns and ending in LA pre-noir, we've got cowboys, the Mexican Revolution, and best of all, tons and tons of science AND science fiction.

But above all, we've got light. Lots and lots of light. Double refractions cause both hallucinations and mirrored universes and where are you, Alice? The rabbit just disappeared.

So did the plot.

This novel has no plot even when it has lots and lots of scenes that appear to have plot and cohesion... but it still has nothing tying it together but a vaguely uneasy feeling that we've just been given an Anarchist Plot from the other side of the Mirror.

Who knows? Maybe I'm alone in this feeling. Maybe others will find something very deep and amazing in this after they've studied all the references, done an enormous survey of the pulp fiction of the day, analyzing all the clichés and overblown character-references, etc., but I don't have the energy or the desire for that.

Indeed, I'm caught on the fence between wanting to throw my hands up and go, WHY? and just sit back and relax and enjoy the nearly pointless ride of it all.

It was entertaining in all its myriad pieces, to be sure. I cannot say the same about trying to tie it all together in order to make sense of it all afterward. Or during, for that matter. It's random and anarchistic AS a novel. Not just with the characters and the constant re-referencing to anarchism.

*shrug*

I'm glad I read it, to be sure, and I'm also super thrilled to be done with it as well.

I feel like I just read a DFW novel that was wider rather than deeper than his normal fare. :)

Do I get bonus points? *sigh*
( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 52 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Thomas Pynchon's new behemoth of a book, "Against the Day," is likely to have readers responding in one of two ways; either they will think it is one of the greatest novels ever written, or they will see it as a vainglorious head trip from an author notorious for being difficult to read. The truth of the matter actually lies somewhere in between. "Against the Day" is probably the most brilliant book most people will never read. The reason it will probably fail to garner much of an audience is that at almost 1,100 pages it is, to put it bluntly, the novel as literary whirlwind, cryptically dense and unrelenting in its demands on the reader.
 
IN “Against the Day,” his sixth, his funniest and arguably his most accessible novel, Thomas Pynchon doles out plenty of vertigo, just as he has for more than 40 years. But this time his fevered reveries and brilliant streams of words, his fantastical plots and encrypted references, are bound together by a clear message that others can unscramble without mental meltdown.
 
On the American literary scene – that hodgepodge – a new book by Thomas Pynchon is unarguably a major event, and here he comes again. His sixth novel, “Against the Day,” runs to 1085 pages, but never creeps and assuredly never drags. Though he has a disciple here and there, most notably David Foster Wallace, no novelist has proven more sui generis than Pynchon since his debut with “V.” in 1963.
adicionada por stephmo | editarSan Diego Union-Tribune, James Leigh (Nov 26, 2006)
 
"Against the Day" -- the phrase seems to allude to the apocalyptic conditional: In the familiar scriptural locution, the day itself was the eventual one of "judgment and perdition of the ungodly men." But let's not make too much of it. There is simply too much going on in this wide-ranging, encyclopedic, nonpareil of a novel to reduce it all to something as small as the apocalypse.
 
There is a striking moment in Thomas Pynchon’s enormous new novel that threatens to get lost, like many of the striking moments in his novels, in all the other moments: of overly wrought prose, of names so memorable that you can’t remember them, and of quasi-historical accounts of science and politics that the diligent book reviewer and his fact checker would like to substantiate but that are mainly unsubstantiable.
adicionada por stephmo | editarNew York Magazine, Keith Gessen (Nov 22, 2006)
 

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Spanning the period between the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 and the years just after World War I, this novel moves from the labor troubles in Colorado to turn-of-the-century New York, to London and Gottingen, Venice and Vienna, the Balkans, Central Asia, Siberia at the time of the mysterious Tunguska Event, Mexico during the Revolution, postwar Paris, silent-era Hollywood, and one or two places not strictly speaking on the map at all. With a worldwide disaster looming just a few years ahead, it is a time of unrestrained corporate greed, false religiosity, moronic fecklessness, and evil intent in high places. No reference to the present day is intended or should be inferred. The sizable cast of characters includes anarchists, balloonists, gamblers, corporate tycoons, drug enthusiasts, innocents and decadents, mathematicians, mad scientists, shamans, psychics, and stage magicians, spies, detectives, adventuresses, and hired guns. There are cameo appearances by Nikola Tesla, Bela Lugosi, and Groucho Marx. As an era of certainty comes crashing down around their ears and an unpredictable future commences, these folks are mostly just trying to pursue their lives. Sometimes they manage to catch up; sometimes it's their lives that pursue them. Meanwhile, the author is up to his usual business. Characters stop what they're doing to sing what are for the most part stupid songs. Strange sexual practices take place. Obscure languages are spoken, not always idiomatically. Contrary-to-the-fact occurrences occur. If it is not the world, it is what the world might be with a minor adjustment or two. According to some, this is one of the main purposes of fiction. Let the reader decide, let the reader beware. Good luck. -Thomas Pynchon

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