Difference between revisions of "ATD Reviews"

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11/13/06 - '''[http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1558326-1,00.html Time]''' - Richard Lacayo: “More than in any of Pynchon’s previous books, just what it all means is a problem in Against the Day, where plots and ideas and fantastic developments pile up in exhausting profusion.”
11/13/06 - '''[http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1558326-1,00.html Time]''' - Richard Lacayo: “More than in any of Pynchon’s previous books, just what it all means is a problem in Against the Day, where plots and ideas and fantastic developments pile up in exhausting profusion.”
11/3/06 - '''[http://www.themodernword.com/pynchon/paper_earlyatd.html The Modern Word]''' (first impressions): "It seems like the logical evolution/conclusion to Pynchon’s career as a prose experimentalist."
10/24/06 - '''[http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-59420-120-2 Publisher's Weekly]''': "[R]eads like half a dozen books duking it out for his, and the reader’s, attention. Most of them shine with a surreal incandescence, but even Pynchon fans may find their fealty tested now and again."
10/24/06 - '''[http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-59420-120-2 Publisher's Weekly]''': "[R]eads like half a dozen books duking it out for his, and the reader’s, attention. Most of them shine with a surreal incandescence, but even Pynchon fans may find their fealty tested now and again."
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Latest revision as of 20:36, 20 March 2016

Review aggregators

The Complete Review


Please add any relevant reviews as they come in. Blog reviews are fine as long as they're substantial and more than a few paragraphs.

01/28/08 - PopMatters - John Carvill: "But if we set aside, for a moment, any misgivings we may have about the absurdities inherent in applying comparative terms such as ‘better’ or ‘best’ to books, then Against the Day, Pynchon’s freewheeling, coruscating, triumphantly life-affirming epic, was far and away the best book to be published in 2006, and its paperback publication last year also made it the best book of 2007."

11/25/07 - Guardian Unlimited - Michael Chabon: "Against the Day (Vintage) by Thomas Pynchon: sentence for sentence, scene for scene, idea for idea, it gave me more pure reading pleasure than any book I've read in the past few years. I only wished it were a thousand pages longer.

Summer/07 Issue - The Virginia Quarterly Review "Back to the Future: On Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day" - William Logan: "Thomas Pynchon’s sprawling, untidy new novel, Against the Day, is only as frustrating as most of his fiction. It starts in the air, high-minded as a kite, and gradually flutters groundward, dragged down by subplots galore and characters thrown in willy-nilly, as if a novel’s only virtue were how many characters it could stuff into a phone booth (no doubt Pynchon, who has loaded the book with more Victorian mathematics than Carter had pills, has an algorithm up his sleeve)."

9/17/07 - The Moderate Voice - Shaun Mullen: "Summing up this monster of a book is like trying to herd cats. But at the end of the day Against the Day is about mankind’s efforts – which range from the scientific to the hallucinatory to the comical — to transcend mortality. At least I think it is."

7/4/07 - Boise Weekly - Michael Corrigan: "At 70, Pynchon hasn't lost his powers. Against the Day demands a determined reader. This brilliant but uneven attempt to analyze our world by creating an alternate history and alternate worlds may attract only avid Pynchonites. There is the familiar argument that all great but "difficult" novels eventually fascinate only professors and students."

2/6/07 - Desicritics.org - Richard Marcus: "While Against The Day has much more the feel of his earlier work, there are still moments where its intellectualism overwhelms,..."

1/28/07 - Santa Cruz Sentinel - Matt King: "You'll have to read it twice."

1/25/07 - SignAndSight.com - Denis Sheck: "Against the Day is a unique book, in the sense of being utterly original. At its best moments emotionally electrifying and intellectually brilliant, moving but never sentimental, sometimes terribly sad, sometimes side-splittingly funny, and to the very last page as unforeseeable as a roller coaster ride in the dark."

1/19/07 - The Utah Statesman - Ben Clarke: "Against the Day doesn't meet the expectations of its own rhetoric and expansive plot,..."

1/18/07 - ArtVoice - Todd Natti: "Against the Day just feels like it should have been more, only not lengthwise."

1/16/07 - The Christian Science Monitor - Yvonne Zipp: "...if Against the Day is the most infuriating novel I've read in a year, it's also among the most imaginative."

1/13/07- "Day Tripper" Short Article on Thomas Pynchon by Greg Feeley appeared in the New Haven Advocate. Posted at his website.

1/11/07 - New York Review of Books - Luc Sante: "Pynchon thinks on a different scale from most novelists, to the point where you'd almost want to find another word for the sort of thing he does, since his books differ from most other novels the way a novel differs from a short story, in exponential rather than simply linear fashion."

1/10/07 - Deutschlandradio: Denis Scheck: "Ein Roman als Wunderkammer". The same author at Der Tagesspiegel "Kugelblitz, Dynamit und Quaternionen"

1/5/07 - The American Prospect - Eric Rauchway: "But if Pynchon is a hippie he also drank his Protestantism deeply, and his sense of ineffable divinity sits uneasily alongside the certainty Christianity Americans often profess."

1/5/07 - Der Standard (Austria) - Sebastian Fasthuber: "Von A(narchie) bis Z(eta-Funktion): Against The Day."

1/4/07 - London Review of Books - Michael Wood: "...Against the Day goes to great lengths to show that dreams of other worlds haunt mathematics, indeed perhaps are mathematics."

1/1/07 - Vail Daily News - Matt Zalaznick: "[Against the Day] may serve as its own crystal through which to look back on Pynchon's previous works and find the emotional gold ready to transmuted from the obscuring silver."

12/31/06 - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Kristofer Collins: "...the prose is drained of all vigor and the convolutions of Pynchon's sentences..., are merely evidence of a writer no longer at the top of his game."

12/23/06 - The Australian - Don Anderson: "But an 1100-page novel? What can justify this economy?...I won't attempt to justify Pynchon's decision, in this never-repetitious novel, merely suggest that, in the words at the head of the last page of the greatest American novel: "And I only am escaped alone to tell thee.""

12/18/06 - Der Spiegel Matthias Matussek, Philipp Oehmke, Doja Hacker und Malte Herwig: "Das grosse, wilde Spiel"

12/18/06 - New York Magazine - Best Books of 2006, Honorable Mention: "The Wild West anarchist-revenge tale at the heart of Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day — cut out the other 600 pages and you’ve got the best novel of the year."

12/17/06 - Grub Street Grackle - "...an Odyssey (or rather four Odyssean threads braided into one long rope) with no Ithaca, a long journey that, at the end of the day, must fantasize, improvise, and consolidate its own destination."

12/15/06 - The Sydney Morning Herald (AU) - Anthony Macris: "Yet for all its outlandish characterisations and cartoonish carryings-on, Pynchon's sensibility is ultimately both omniscient and omnivorous, driven by a ferocious intelligence that, with every new novel, is ever more determined to devour as much of the world as it can."

12/15/06 - The Independent (UK), II - David Goldblatt: "Pynchon's scope is so mad, so grand, that he glides lightly across this terrain. I hoped early on in the book that he might stay the course, but the wild hinterlands of intoxication and irrationality called him away."

12/15/06 - Austin Chronicle - James Renovitch: "Against the Day leaves you holding your head laden with the possible futures of both society and the individual: the former, frightening; the latter, uplifting."

12/14/06 - LA City Weekly - Anthony Miller: "Against the Day is a luminous novel that sets off an anarchic explosion of the imagination to demolish our simple myths of progress, which would only strand us in the dark, and carry careful and faithful readers further into the light."

12/13/06 - The London Paper - Stuart McGurk: "...if Gravity’s Rainbow was Pynchon’s Ulysses, this is his Finnegan's Wake. Baffling? Certainly. Brilliant? Without a doubt."

12/10/06 - Daily Telegraph - Michael Moorcock: "Gloriously, demandingly, daringly, Pynchon has rediscovered vulgarity and continues to prove that the novel has never been more vibrant, more various or better able to represent our complex world. Give this book your time – you'll agree it's worth it."

12/10/06 - Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Donna Seaman: "Verdict: A rich, imaginative epic of wonder and depravity."

12/10/06 - St. Petersburg Times - Colette Bancroft: "Pynchon's novels are all about quests, and, with main characters bearing surnames like Traverse and Rideout, Against the Day is no different. The book has a cast of dozens wandering in and out of almost as many plot lines (and Pynchon acolytes are already busy annotating it; see against-the-day.pynchonwiki.com)."

12/10/06 - San Francisco Chronicle - David Hellman: "Against the Day is probably the most brilliant book most people will never read....Either enter the light of this book, and seek those dark corners where the answers may await, or run for the hills and take cover."

12/10/06 - The Sunday Times (UK) - John Dugdale: "Against the Day resembles Moby Dick in its vast scale, its displays of learning, its engaging larkiness. But it’s a Moby Dick with no Ahab, and no whale."

12/10/06 - Washington Times - Bruce Allen: "And yet -- wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles -- a novel designed to demonstrate exhaustively that nothing ultimately coheres nevertheless manages to fuse its dozens of disparate, baffling, ragged elements into an imposing and satisfying whole. There's mystery for you."

12/9/06 - Denver Post - Dorman T. Shindler: "Against the Day - funny, wise, poetic and always over-the-top - offers the reader both a way to lose him or herself in a tale of escape and a way to take a hard look anew at the world around us."

12/8/06 - New York Times podcast discussion of ATD, provided by Toby G. Levy - a conversation with Times book critic Liesl Schillinger.

12/7/06 - Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung -Dietmar Dath: "Freiheit ist Vergangenheit."

12/7/06 - The Village Voice - John Haskell: "The cloud of foreboding that hangs over this book is a fear, a Pynchonian paranoia, that the martial instincts of capitalism, having already corrupted Tesla's idea of free electricity, will come to control and limit the very act of thinking."

12/4/06 - New York Magazine - Keith Gessen: "Against the Day is exhausting, twisted, and paranoid. But that doesn’t mean Pynchon can’t also be fun."

12/4/06 - New Statesman (UK)) - Rachel Aspden: "The deluge of science can blind us to the fact that he is, temperamentally, a mystic rather than a technician. He writes Against the Day, but seeks what lies beyond or under or above the quotidian."

12/3/06 - Buffalo News - Joseph Conte: " For the reader of this magnificent fiction, "travel to other worlds is therefore travel to alternate versions of the same Earth." The enjoyment, then, is determining which of all the possible versions one has blithely wandered into."

12/3/06 - New York Post - Quentin Rowan: "Yet amid all the charms and expert entertainments and quizzical truths of Against the Day, there is little that sticks in the mind as involuntarily real, as having been other than intellectually achieved."

12/3/06 - Miami Herald - Ariel Gonzalez: "This is the sort of novel that is displayed on coffee tables by pseudo-intellectuals. But the water is warm enough to merit a toe-dipping, and who knows, you may then want to dive right in."

12/3/06 - Kansas City Star - Chris Packham: "...[W]ith Against the Day, Pynchon seems to be addressing the reader directly, without the evasive ironies of past work....With each successively more approachable novel, Pynchon suggests more hopeful possibilities. Or seems to."

12/2/06 - The Globe and Mail (CA) - Greg Hollingshead: "The development from Gravity's Rainbow to Against the Day has not been so much organic as a translation to another version, at another time. The result remains extraordinary, but it's at once darker and paler, and less substantial."

12/2/06 - The Times (UK) - Douglas Kennedy: "Certainly, Pynchon’s new novel displays, for all to see, his “lost in the funhouse” narrative proclivities, his intellectual super-nova fireworks and his delight in the arcane, the base, the idiotic."

12/06 - About.com - Gregory Schneider: "It's...about innocence and experience, light and darkness, ignorance and clarity, love and indifference, serenity and despair, and the interchangeability, the maddening interdependence, of these concepts."

12/06 - BookPage - Robert Weibezahl: "It is, at various points, everything one expects from a Thomas Pynchon novel—tangled, funny, prone to digressions, mind-numbingly convoluted, perceptive, over-the-top, louche, erudite, perplexing, heartfelt, encyclopedic, indulgent and, for the intrepid reader who makes it to the end, ultimately worth the often arduous journey."

12/1/06 - Houston Chronicle - Terrence Doody: "It is a messy omnium gatherum rather than the summa theologica that at least I was hoping for....Even Homer nods, they say, and Pynchon's gotten slack and sleepy here."

12/1/06 - Financial Times (UK) - Ludovic Hunter-Tilney: "There remains much to admire in the workings of his singularly brilliant literary consciousness, but the suspicion remains that Pynchon’s self-removal from public life now extends to the page."

12/1/06 - Newsweek Pt. III - Malcom Jones: "Thomas Pynchon’s latest novel is long, densely plotted, long, silly, profound, long—everything most modern novels aren’t—and yet it still works."

12/1/06 - Chicago Reader - Jonathan Rosenbaum: "The momentary pleasures of reading Against the Day often come close to seeming random, and reconciling the book's larger aims with all the jazzy improvs is no easy matter -- though that's what Pynchon's game is all about."

12/06-1/07 - Bookforum - Tom LeClair: "I hope some future scholar will read the novel twenty times and either illustrate how it recapitulates the whole history of narrative or demonstrate how every piece fits together into a fourfold design that will replace four-base genetics as a model of all life."

12/02/06 - NZZ - Angela Schader: "Höhere Mathematik und Kartoffelsalat. Thomas Pynchon schreibt einen Allerweltsroman - im wahrsten Sinn des Wortes"

11/30/06 - Die Zeit - Georg Diez: "Das Phantom."

11/30/06 - The Economist : "Baffling, yes. Clever and inventive in a cackling, manic, mad-professor kind of way, yes. Intermittently warmed by paragraph-long sunbeams of iridescent prose-poetry, yes. Rambling, pompous and often completely incomprehensible—yes to all that too."

11/29/06 - The Times Literary Supplement (UK) - Sophie Ratcliffe: "This is not to say Pynchon suggests any solution. What he does is highlight how invisible our claims for salvation are, thus disturbing all the familiar comforts they might offer, including the comforts of the novel’s structure. This gets its clearest exposition in his handling of the relentlessly optimistic airborne crew at the novel’s end."

11/28/06 - Entertainment Weekly - Ken Tucker: "Beyond his literary accomplishments, this wily 69-year-old's work has influenced, consciously or unconsciously, much of our pop culture, from Lost to The Matrix to Arrested Development to Lemony Snicket (for what are the Baudelaire children but grimmer Chums of Chance?)."

11/27/06 - Sci-Fi Weekly - John Clute: "The hundreds of figures who jam into Against the Day are not in fact characters at all, because Pynchon has evacuated his book of that degree of hope. They are utterands: people-shaped utterances who illuminate the stories of the old world that their Author has placed before us in funeral array; they are codes to spell his book with."

11/26/06 - San Diego Union-Tribune - James Leigh: "Pynchon's books are hugely entertaining; they are also without question heroic attempts to deal with our whole world, and Against the Day may well be his best yet."

11/26/06 - The Scotsman (UK), Scotland on Sunday - Stuart Kelly: "It is, in places, a raggedy, meandering novel....You might as well complain that a Jackson Pollock painting is a bit splattery, or that Miles Davis sounds a little improvised."

11/26/06 - Providence Journal - Sam Coale: "This is Pynchon’s nightmarish vision of hell, peopled by predatory capitalists, eager anarchists, and stray ghosts. Pynchon imagines a world run amuck. And it is awesome."

11/26/06 - The Oregonian - Richard Melo: "With a writer as publicity-shy as Pynchon, there is no way if with this novel he is calling it a day. If he is, then he's going out with a bang louder than an obliterating asteroid screaming across the Siberian sky."

11/26/06 - The Observer (UK) - David Gale: "None of this detracts from the unique pleasures of a mighty novel that will delight Pynchonians and seduce newcomers....The scale of the novel induces memory loss but as with balloon flight, or fever, the return to terra firma is accompanied by feelings of wise, wide contentment."

11/26/06 - The Independent (UK - Tim Martin: "Against the Day is a startlingly discontinuous novel, a work of full-spectrum intelligence and erudition that is at times bafflingly tiresome and ungenerous to the reader....Something in it will mean something important to almost anybody. But the parts make a chaotic whole."

11/26/06 - New York Times (Sunday book review) - Liesl Schillinger: "In Against the Day, Pynchon’s voice seems uncharacteristically earnest. He interrupts his narrative from time to time to lay down pronouncements that, taken together, probably constitute the fullest elaboration of his philosophy yet seen in print."

11/26/06 - FAZ - Peter Körte: "Der Mäandertaler".

11/25/06 - The Guardian (UK) - James Lasdun: "...the book itself has no particular reason to end where it does, other than perhaps the adhesive limits of book-binding glue."

11/25/06 - The Scotsman - Tom Adair: "...a gaze that holds you in its grip for a thousand pages. Quite a feat."

11/24/06 - The Spectator (UK) - Sam Leith: "It is virtuoso nonsense; it is a giant shaggy dog story, serious as history; it is by turns mind-crushingly tedious and utterly exhilarating; it is remorselessly facetious and yet deeply moving."

11/24/06 - Milwaukee Sentinel Journal - Mike Fischer: "Ever since V. rocked the literary world in 1963, Pynchon has sought this crest with a single-minded intensity unmatched by any American writer since Melville. Against the Day, his brilliant new novel, gets him there."

23/11/06 - NZZ - Andrea Köhler: "Der Potter der Postmoderne. Thomas Pynchons neuer Roman stürzt die Kritiker in Verlegenheit"

11/23/06 - Metro (UK) - Robert Murphy: "...the novel is longer than even Pynchon's energies can justify but nonetheless, it is an unmistakable masterpiece."

11/22/06 - The Nation - John Leonard: "It's a Perils of Pauline plot as pulpy and fibrous, as gnarly and pantophagic, as a thicket of bamboo."

11/21/06 - Newsweek Pt. II - Malcom Jones: "Now halfway through, the reviewer knows the new Thomas Pynchon novel is full of doubles, an ocean liner that morphs into a destroyer and the kind of detail that's only fun if you slow down and enjoy it."

11/21/06 - Library Journal - Barbara Hoffert: "Brilliant if sometimes exasperating, Pynchon's latest is highly recommended for any library that takes its fiction seriously, with the warning that it does not yield easy pleasures and should not be read on deadline."

11/21/06 - The Guardian/Comment Is Free (UK) - John Crace: "You can read it or you can weigh it. My guess is that most people will opt for the latter."

11/21/06 - Salon - Laura Miller: "[I]t's obvious [Pynchon's] disciples now write better Big Idea novels than he does."

11/20/06 - The Telegraph (UK) - Alex Massie: "Although Pynchon's devoted fans, whose enthusiasm can border on the cultish, will queue up to embrace his latest work, some critics have wondered if Pynchon's exuberant style masks a lack of substance."

11/20/06 - Dissident Voice - Ron Jacobs: "Despite the bleakness of the times that these tales are told, an indomitable beauty resides within them, thanks in large part to the characters Mr. Pynchon creates, the stories that they live, and the approach to the telling by the author."

11/20/06 - Bloomberg News - Craig Seligman: "...I felt like an exhausted swimmer crawling onto the far shore of a body of water that turned out to be even wider than it looked. And like the swimmer, I remember more about the effort than the scenery I passed along the way."

11/20/06 - USA Today - Bob Minzesheimer: "Falling into a novel can be like enjoying a weekend trip to a place you've never been. Against the Day is more like going away for a month, getting lost on your way there and back, returning exhausted, but with bags full of stories."

11/20/06 - New Yorker - Louis Menand: "[W]ith this one there is the feeling that the magician has fallen in love with his own stunts, as though Pynchon were composing a pastiche of a Pynchon novel."

11/20/06 - New York Times - Michiko Kakutani: "It is a humongous, bloated jigsaw puzzle of a story, pretentious without being provocative, elliptical without being illuminating, complicated without being rewardingly complex." (Written by Michiko Kakutani, so let the reader definitely beware!)

11/19/06 Tampa Tribune - Kevin Walker: "It's a complex, raunchy, funny, I-better-read-that-paragraph-again-what-just-happened sort of novel."

11/19/06 - Philadelphia Inquirer - Carlin Romano: "Positive adjectives: Audacious, bodacious, entropic, synoptic, electric, eclectic, entertaining, hyperbraining, high-roller, tripolar. Negative adjectives: Rambling, shambling, self-indulgent, non-refulgent, overlong, full-of-bad-song, seriously scattered, plainly mad-hattered."

11/19/06 - Cleveland Plain-Dealer - Jean Dubail: " All I can say is that the novel ends the way a Shakespearean comedy does, in which a measure of happiness redeems much of the horror and heartache that precede it. So, is the book worth the trouble? It was for me, but I'm a Pynchon fan, and bafflement comes with the territory."

11/19/06 - Washington Post - Steven Moore: “Pynchon fans will accept this gift from the author with gratitude, but I’m not so sure about mainstream readers.”

11/19/06 - Los Angeles Times - Christopher Sorrentino: “A book this long that amazes even 50% of the time is amazing.”

11/19/06 - Austin American-Statesman - Roger Gathman: "Forget it, fellow Pynchonians. [Against the Day] isn’t “Gravity’s Rainbow II.” That time, that place and that writer won’t ever come together again.”

11/19/06 - Newsday - Scott McLemee: "[A] novel as exhilarating, tiresome, unnerving and exhausting as all the others put together.”

11/19/06 - Boston Globe - Mark Feeney: "There's a bop electricity to Pynchon: the furious tempos and difficult harmonies, the maverick stance and hipster attitude....[M]aybe another Pynchon novel? If one comes, let it be as rich and sweeping, wild and thrilling, as this one."

11/17/06 - Seattle Times - John Freeman: "It's like dropping a penny into an open manhole — the novel simply swallows the time and asks for more. And yet, Pynchon does reward the effort."

11/17/06 - Newsweek Pt. I - Malcom Jones: "But you’ve got to understand that this novelistic mountain we’re climbing, well, I’ve never been to the top either. Just a reminder. Stay tuned. Next time: are Thomas Pynchon and Bob Dylan the same person? "

11/16/06 - Time Out New York - Joshua Rothkopf: "Pynchon’s gift for language remains undiminished, a roiling, imaginative flood that makes his voice utterly unique, and his latest a must-read."

11/15/06 - New York Sun - Adam Kirsch: "The silliness of "Against the Day" about the very subjects where we are most urgently in quest of wisdom proves that, whatever he once was, Thomas Pynchon is no longer the novelist we need."

11/14/06 - The Complete Review: "[I]mpressive in its parts, but near confounding as a whole."

11/14/06 - The Phoenix - Peter Keough: “Undaunted in the past by the big questions that bug a guy, he here takes on, in addition to the elusive quality of light... time travel, multiple universes, the death struggle between anarchism and capitalism, the dance of order and chaos.”

11/13/06 - Time - Richard Lacayo: “More than in any of Pynchon’s previous books, just what it all means is a problem in Against the Day, where plots and ideas and fantastic developments pile up in exhausting profusion.”

10/24/06 - Publisher's Weekly: "[R]eads like half a dozen books duking it out for his, and the reader’s, attention. Most of them shine with a surreal incandescence, but even Pynchon fans may find their fealty tested now and again."

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