Thursday, November 08, 2007

Banana omelets & giant adenoids


WWII. Britain.

Meet Capt. Geoffrey "Pirate" Prentice. He has a most peculiar skill set: He can make any dish out of bananas, and he can telepathically absorb the fantasies and nightmares of total strangers. His fellow officer, Slothrop, has an involuntary erection every time a missile is launched. These gifts have made them invaluable military assets.

This is Gravity's Rainbow, and less than 50 pages into it I am already confused. The words most often used to describe Pynchon are "complex", "funny", and "non-linear", but I started out with The Crying of Lot 49, arguably his most accessible work. GR is his least accessible work: 700+ pages of run-on sentences, fantasy scenes that blend seamlessly into real ones and vice-versa, and incredibly weird stuff that just doesn't make sense.

Among the HUH? moments:

On being stationed in Africa in 1935: "no Cary Grant larking in and out slipping elephant medicine in the punchbowls here."

A giant adenoid terrorizes the gaslit streets of Edwardian London, sucking up every useful person in its path like the Blob.

What have I gotten myself into, here?!


5 comments:

Karen said...

W...T...F?

SME said...

My words exactly. I found a Pynchon wiki that clears up some stuff, tho; the elephant-medicine-in-the-punchbowls is from the movie Gunga Din. And I think Adenoid could be a reference to Adenoid Hynkel in Chaplin's The Great Dictator. Pynchon likes his movies, apparently.

tweetey30 said...

Banana omelts. GROSS!!!!!! LOL.. No thank you. I like banana's but not mixed with eggs.

La Cremiere said...

Oh Karen has already enounciated my exact thoughts: WTF?!
What exactly are you reading about? Or rather Why are you reading that? 'Later. XOX

SME said...

Well, it's supposed to be a modern classic, and I liked his (much shorter, much easier) novel, "The Crying of Lot 49". This one is just...*different*...
The novel starts out in a London hotel where some military officers are stationed, and their main source of food is a banana tree grown in the rooftop greenhouse: Banana frappe, fried bananas, banana pancakes, etc., etc.