mon, 15-jan-2007, 11:14


Still working my way through Against the Day. I'm averaging a little over nine pages per day (instead of twenty), so I won't finish the book in time for the Pynchon-L group read. In fact, I probably won't finish it until April. That's OK, though. I'm very much enjoying the book, and I think if I was reading it faster, I'd miss more of what makes the book great. I've been collecting quotes and character names in my notebook sections, and more of those quotes may appear in future posts. Here's a good one from page 415:

Once we came to understand the simple thermodynamic truth that the Earth's resources were limited, in fact soon to run out, the whole capitalist illusion fell to pieces. . . like religious Dissenters of an earier day, we were forced to migrate, with little choice but to set forth upon that dark fourth-dimensional Atlantic known as Time.

Serious stuff. Don't think the fourth-dimension is currently open for travel, though, so for the time being we're stuck with the world we've made.

There's also a lot of humor in the book, not the least of which is the names Pynchon gives to his characters. Anyone who read Mason & Dixon remembers the Reverend Cherrycoke. Funny character names from Against the Day include Heino Vanderjuice, the law firm of Somble, Strool & Fleshway, Dodge Flannelette, Tansy Wagwheel, Alonzo Meatman, Ruperta Chirpingdon-Groin, Thrapston Cheesely III, Yup Toy, and many others. Often Pynchon combines two words to make a funny sounding, and perhaps even meaningful name.

I wrote a little Python script to generate these sorts of names. You can download it here: ( Just change the value of the WORD_DICTIONARY variable to where the wordlist is on your computer. Some good ones it came up with: Tweedyblore, Untarnubbin, Quiapoundcore, Cuskgluteus.

Gotta go get my nine pages in before it's time to plow the driveway.

tags: books  writing 
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