How’s it Going?

Just thought I’d add a post inviting any who’re still with us to sound off on how it’s going, what you’re stuck on, whether you think you’ll finish, etc. Is anybody still out there?

Also, if you’ve been trying to keep up but are having a little trouble keeping it all in your head, Paul’s posts over at his own blog are not to be missed for pretty comprehensive summaries.

17 thoughts on “How’s it Going?

  1. DCN April 10, 2012 / 1:59 pm

    I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s thoughts. I’m not reading along with you all, but I like hearing what others have to say.

  2. Chase Edmond April 10, 2012 / 2:08 pm

    I had to put it aside for a bit to reread some DFW before going to symposium this last Friday.

    I’m stuck in the early 300s, right at the lengthy bit about Enzian. Reading Paul’s blog, I see that a heavy dose of Slothrop is around the corner, and that should speed things up. My interest has not at all waned, but I’m getting pretty pessimistic about catching up at this point. Either way, I follow all the comments after I finish a given week.


    • Daryl L. L. Houston April 10, 2012 / 4:43 pm

      I’ve wondered a time or two if I hadn’t made the schedule too ambitious, though I have trouble imagining I’d feel good about putting my other reading on hold for more than the 12 or 13 weeks I will have dedicated to this once all’s said and done. Glad you’ve not given up.

  3. Marco Carbone (@crazymonk) April 10, 2012 / 2:50 pm

    I’m caught up, but just barely each week. I dig reading the posts and am consistently impressed with y’all’s ability to produce them. I’m enjoying the book — especially Part 3 — far more on this second read (mostly because I’m not completely lost this time around). The Moby-Dick-esque rocketry asides are somewhat engaging this time around (with Weisenburger’s help) rather than just mind-numbing detail. I’ve never been to Germany (excepting an evening in Frankfurt), but with the help of Google Maps and Street View I’ve been able to get a better feel for the Zone this time around.

    It’s also interesting coming back to GR having read Slow Learner, Vineland, Against the Day, and (to a lesser extent) Inherent Vice in the intervening years. (I still haven’t read V. or M&D, and Lot 49 I read before my first GR read.) Pynchon’s style is more familiar to me now, but I also realize that GR is easily the most opaque of the works I’ve read, though there are sections in each that rival it.

    Against the Day is the most similar, and I actually have a bit of a warm spot for that novel. I found myself connecting with its characters more, it’s more comfortable in its sometimes sci-fi mileu, thematically it connects with the present as it is very much sympatico with the OWS movement, and I was more familiar with the obscure allusions, probably because it was written contemporaneously. (Tetris, anyone?) Plus I’ve been to several of the locations in AtD, and Pynchon sometimes writes as if he’s assuming that you have.

    In any case, I’m glad that I’ve returned to GR via the IZ read, but it’s fairly clear to me at this point that it’ll never be a favorite of mine, even among Pynchon’s oeuvre. (Although certain individual scenes rank among my favorites.)

    • Daryl L. L. Houston April 10, 2012 / 4:40 pm

      I’ve read all the books but M&D, and even that one I started. I thought AtD was very approachable too and actually quite liked the first bit of it, though I found myself kind of snoozing through a lot of the Cyprian parts.

      I’ve warmed up to GR a whole lot during this read. When I finished it last time, I thought it was one I was glad to have managed but was probably done with forever — now I suspect it’s one I’ll reread a few more times in my life.

  4. Sarah April 10, 2012 / 3:12 pm

    Hi Daryl.

    I’m reading along, keeping up with the weekly installments quite comfortably, and following the discussion here with appreciation.

    I’m grateful for the Companion but can’t say that my reading is, as a consequence, in any way deep. Maybe approaching competent…. Anyway I’m very happy to still be in the game. Last time GR chewed me up and spat me out circa pg 330.

    • Daryl L. L. Houston April 10, 2012 / 4:40 pm

      I believe I recall reading that it was the coprophilia that got you last time. Glad you’ve stuck it out this time.

  5. clerner1 April 10, 2012 / 7:06 pm

    I am reading a bit ahead because I am rather engrossed by it, and it is getting easier to follow. The companion helps and a second reading will really hit me, I think. I love the paranoia and the fairy tales and the apocalyptic feel of it. Thanks for the posts, they are very helpful!

  6. Lauren Gallant April 10, 2012 / 11:33 pm

    I, too, continue to plug along. Sadly, I do not have the companion book, but I have a couple of websites with explanatory notes open as I proceed and I check in with IZ regularly. The pace is great, allowing me to read other, less challenging, books simultaneously and giving me time to process what I’ve read in GR. Some chapters are easier than others, but I always value the commentary and subtext you all offer here. Thanks for letting me read along with you!

    • Daryl L. L. Houston April 11, 2012 / 8:05 am

      Although I’m in favor of supporting scholarship by buying books, you can find the companion on Google Books (at least excerpts), if you find yourself wanting a little more of an assist here and there.

  7. Christine April 11, 2012 / 2:29 am

    Sounds like I’m one of the few first timers, and I’m way bogged down.
    I’m plugging along, but not at all able to follow my plan of just letting the writing lead me. Way too controlling as a reader, though I’m not shocked to learn that. So I’m rereading a lot and killing myself trying to fight my impression that this is a comic book disguised as a well written novel. And my desire to punch the narrator for his sass.

    Will post soon.

    • Dennis April 11, 2012 / 4:31 pm

      I can sympathize. Even having read the book before, I find myself going though some passages a few times. Part of the problem I see is that Pynchon tends to do a lot of telescoping stories within stories. And it gets further complicated when seemingly minor characters become a focal point and seeming major characters disappear.
      And I will hold the narrator down for you so that you can get some good shots.

      • Christine April 13, 2012 / 2:42 am

        Oh, Dennis, I would **love* it if you’d hold him down so I can bat him about a little.
        I actually don’t mind the telescoping and the spur trails. I really, really, really, really (no, really) ca’t get my head around what is fantasy and what is real. It’s like reading a comic book, and I keep expecting to find every other page was a dream sequence. Which it is. But nobody wakes up and I have to decide whose fantasy and why and which parts and…
        Can you pin his arms, too?

  8. Dennis April 11, 2012 / 2:30 am

    I’m consistently about 50 pages behind.

  9. Lishi April 11, 2012 / 8:40 pm

    I’m still here, but a week behind. Really enjoying reading the posts. I’m a first-time reader as well and have to admit that I’m enjoying it much more than I thought I would.

  10. Dennis April 11, 2012 / 9:07 pm

    I had mentioned Pynchon (or more properly, the narrator) and his use of mis-direction in the story in a couple of places (specifically, the candy episode, which might not have occurred, and the movement from Kekule’s dragon as metaphor to a vision of complete corporate control). I wanted to point out just one more episode.

    In Part 3 section 8, where we spend so much time with the Argentines, there is a short scene where convention seems to be a bit turned inside out. In this scene (p388/34-386/36) we first get a description that seems to play out in real time: The USS John E. Badass has com within torpedo range of the Argentine held U-Boat and the Argentines sent off a torpedo in a pre-emptive strike. We soon learn that the two incidents occurred at different times. It’s a bit like the Wandering Rocks episode of _Ulysses_, but it would be turned inside out: instead of seeing different places view roughly the same time we see the exact same place with different times viewed as though they were co-temporaneous.

    The narrator’s explaination is that Bodine had spiked the coffee with Oneirine which caused a time modulate, but there really was no coincidence. Each set of actors were responding to things occurring at their respective times. The USS John E. Badass was responding to a plague deseased corpse and the Argentines fired at a drifting. And suggesting that Oneirine was the culprit would have made it physically distort time, for it affected both Bodine, who took the drug, and the Argentines, who didn’t.

    The only time modulation that occurs is for the reader as a result of the assertions of the narrator. Oneirine affected us and we see connections that occur as seen in a larger time frame.

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