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Kurt Vonnegut versus Thomas Pynchon


HisSelf

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I've seen some disparaging comments here about Thomas Pynchon, so I would like to put some sort of perspective on his writings.

Americans in general tend to revere Vonnegut. His career was launched by his novel on the fire-bombing of Dresden (Slaughterhouse-five). His survival of this extraordinary event was a special gift of fate to the American electorate. Pynchon, an engineer, understood the technological underpinnings of disasters like Dresden, which is why he focussed so much on Pennemunde in Gravity's Rainbow.

Edited by HisSelf
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I really enjoyed Cat's Cradle when I first read it a long time ago (I think I was about 12 at the time), slaughterhouse was another I enjoyed, actually I liked most of his work that I read.

Pynchon is far from being a poor writer, the opposite in fact his style just doesn't suit my taste. I found he tends to be obsessive. Using paragraphs and even pages to describe what could be considered an insignificant detail.

Perhaps if I revisited his works I might discover a new found appreciation for his writings.

It just seems like I don't have very much time anymore for reading.

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Pynchon is far from being a poor writer, the opposite in fact his style just doesn't suit my taste. I found he tends to be obsessive. Using paragraphs and even pages to describe what could be considered an insignificant detail.

Have you read Moby Dick?

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Have you read Moby Dick?

Yeah Bob!

The story was good but the period writing style was a bit tedious and overbearing. Also read all of Dickens, Dafoe, Shakespear etc. etc. My parents believed their children should be versed in all the classics.

Not to say I've read all the classics, just quite a few.

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Yeah Bob!

The story was good but the period writing style was a bit tedious and overbearing. Also read all of Dickens, Dafoe, Shakespear etc. etc. My parents believed their children should be versed in all the classics.

Not to say I've read all the classics, just quite a few.

His verbosity I think, is in a period of its own. I mean, pages and pages about about the use of spermecetti...

I am a big fan of popular 18th and 19th century fiction. I'm re-reading Ivanhoe now, finsihed Tom Jones earlier this summer, do the musketeers cycle at least once evey couple of years...then when there's nothing new to read, no Terry Pratchet and alike, I go intonthe grab bag of stuff....Vanity Fair, Tale of Two Cities, Conneticut Yankee....Last of the Mohicans, Justine, Story of O.....

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Pynchon is far from being a poor writer, the opposite in fact his style just doesn't suit my taste. I found he tends to be obsessive. Using paragraphs and even pages to describe what could be considered an insignificant detail.
Same conclusion here. I tried Gravity's Rainbow on several occasions and got nowhere.

Pynchon strikes me as a phoney, but maybe I'm wrong.

As to Vonnegut, my favourite was The Sirens of Titan. "Turn the spaceship upside down!" In Slaughterhouse-Five, Vonnegut managed an original presentation of something horrific. His experience of the army, the war and Dresden made the novel. I still think of Vonnegut as another American writer who caters to adolescent angst - like J. D. Salinger or Wes Anderson. Such writers attract a following of young people who remember their work as they remember their youth.

On the topic of the war (which I know isn't the topic), I prefer Isaac Bashevis Singer to Vonnegut, Pynchon, Spielberg or Polanski.

In writing about and describing the Jews of Poland before the war, Singer says far more about war and peace and life and simple humanity in a sophisticated, mature way than Vonnegut ever accomplished.

Comparing Singer and Vonnegut is like comparing Lean and Spielberg.

His verbosity I think, is in a period of its own. I mean, pages and pages about about the use of spermecetti...
Tolstoi goes on for pages and pages about a hunt.

I think it was a 19th century thing. Maybe they were paid by the word.

Edited by August1991
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  • 1 month later...

Not that I am going to partake in this high brow conversation - but - I can say one thing...I skimmed though an old copy of Great Expectations....Dickens! The world has forgotten that this man was of utter brilliant mind - man what a writer! If you wonder why I like to use a lot of dashes in my typing it came after a quick study of the editors work on Dicken's manuscripts...He loved the dash and so - do I!

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