About Me

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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Currently reading: well, it's still Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon

At least our protagonists are now safely in America and working on their famous line. This is a huge bugcrusher of a book, so it will occupy me for a few days yet. The period flavour and some of the rococo narrative aspects remind me of one of my very favourite books of all time, John Barth's The Sot-Weed Factor (which I must take the time to read again soon). I'm sure Pynchon would also have been aware of the resemblance, FWIW.

As always with Pynchon, it's the set pieces that make it so delightful. I loved the talking dog early in the book. More recently, I was just reading the stuff with the nefarious mechanical duck. Hilarious.

I've never been a fan of Pynchon's musical interludes, though. I like some of them individually (especially some of the ones in The Crying of Lot 49 and Gravity's Rainbow), but as a recurring device it leads me cold. I'm probably just not getting something.

1 comment:

Roger said...

If you're reading big American novels, take a look at William Gaddis, especially his first two, The Recognitions and the virtuosic JR