Inherent vice

Thomas Pynchon

Book - 2009

It's been a while since Doc Sportello has seen his ex-girlfriend. Suddenly, out of nowhere, she shows up with a story about a plot to kidnap a billionaire land developer with whom she just happens to be in love. It's the tail end of the psychedelic sixties in L. A., and Doc knows that "love" is one of those words going around at the moment, like "trip" or "groovy" - except that this one usually leads to trouble.

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FICTION/Pynchon, Thomas
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1st Floor FICTION/Pynchon, Thomas Due Jul 1, 2022
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Subjects
Published
New York : Penguin Press 2009.
Language
English
Physical Description
369 p. ; 25 cm
ISBN
0143117564
9781594202247
Main Author
Thomas Pynchon (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* "Did I say that out loud?" Doc Sportello asks. It's hard to keep things straight when you're high. Unlike his hard-core L.A. noir compatriots, this private eye's primary vice is pot, not booze. It's the roach-end of the 1960s, and the sole proprietor and employee of LSD Investigations (Location, Surveillance, Detection) uses the flare of his bellbottoms to conceal his gun and muses, "A private eye didn't drop acid for years in this town without picking up some kind of extrasensory chops." And doesn't he milk his spaced-out pothead persona for everything it's worth as he searches for missing construction mogul Mickey Wolfmann. Doc's haphazard (or is it?) investigation is complicated by his nemesis, a cop called Bigfoot Bjornsen; Doc's persistent feelings for his ex and affair with a district attorney; memory lapses; and hallucinations. Pynchon is frolicking in this psychedelic mystery, featuring dopers, surfers, bikers, predators, and parasites, drugs and counterfeit money, setups and switchbacks, and the Golden Fang, a stealth ship. As Doc wiggles and smokes his way out of gnarly predicaments, Pynchon skewers urban renewal, television, government surveillance, and the looming computer age. A bit of a mystery himself, master writer Pynchon has created a bawdy, hilarious, and compassionate electric-acid-noir satire spiked with passages of startling beauty. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

So Doc Sportello, inveterate doper and sometime private eye, is sitting around hazy L.A. at the end of the Sixties when he gets a visit from former flame Shasta. Seems she's been seeing developer-turned-visionary Mickey Wolfmann, whose wife and boyfriend are cooking up a scheme to kidnap Wolfmann and want to cut her in. Meanwhile, black ex-con Tariq wants Doc's help in hooking up with Glen Charlock, a White Aryan he did business with behind bars, and he's pretty bummed that Channel Vista Estates, Wolfmann's latest development, has wiped out his neighborhood. Doc heads for Channel Vista, where he might have encountered Charlock had he not blacked out (it's those drugs?). Instead, Charlock winds up dead; Doc has another run-in with friendly nemesis Lt. Det. Bigfoot Bjornsen; and Wolfmann disappears. So, for that matter, does Shasta. And it gets even more complicated as Doc is off on one very weird acid trip of an investigation. VERDICT With whip-smart, psychedelic-bright language, Pynchon manages to convey the Sixties—except the Sixties were never really like this. This is Pynchon's world, and it's brilliant. The resolution is as crisp as Doc is laid-back. Highly recommended.—Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal [Page 74]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Reluctantly investigating a kidnapping threat against his ex-girlfriend's billionaire beau, Doc Sportello tackles a bizarre tangle of nefarious characters and his own marijuana habit before stumbling on a mysterious entity that may actually be a tax shelter for a dental group. By a National Book Award-winning author. Reprint. A best-selling novel.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Reluctantly investigating a kidnapping threat against his ex-girlfriend's billionaire beau, Doc Sportello tackles a bizarre tangle of nefarious characters before stumbling on a mysterious entity that may actually be a tax shelter for a dental group.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Part noir, part psychedelic romp, all Thomas Pynchon—Private eye Doc Sportello surfaces, occasionally, out of a marijuana haze to watch the end of an era In this lively yarn, Thomas Pynchon, working in an unaccustomed genre that is at once exciting and accessible, provides a classic illustration of the principle that if you can remember the sixties, you weren't there. It's been a while since Doc Sportello has seen his ex- girlfriend. Suddenly she shows up with a story about a plot to kidnap a billionaire land developer whom she just happens to be in love with. It's the tail end of the psychedelic sixties in L.A., and Doc knows that "love" is another of those words going around at the moment, like "trip" or "groovy," except that this one usually leads to trouble. Undeniably one of the most influential writers at work today, Pynchon has penned another unforgettable book.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Part noir, part psychedelic romp, all Thomas Pynchon- private eye Doc Sportello surfaces, occasionally, out of a marijuana haze to watch the end of an eraIn this lively yarn, Thomas Pynchon, working in an unaccustomed genre that is at once exciting and accessible, provides a classic illustration of the principle that if you can remember the sixties, you weren't there.It's been a while since Doc Sportello has seen his ex- girlfriend. Suddenly she shows up with a story about a plot to kidnap a billionaire land developer whom she just happens to be in love with. It's the tail end of the psychedelic sixties in L.A., and Doc knows that "love" is another of those words going around at the moment, like "trip" or "groovy," except that this one usually leads to trouble. Undeniably one of the most influential writers at work today, Pynchon has penned another unforgettable book.