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V. (1963)

by Thomas Pynchon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,210362,069 (4.04)135
Follows the orbits of old acquaintances headed for a less than harmonic convergence in Northern California in 1984.
  1. 00
    Mountolive by Lawrence Durrell (WSB7)
    WSB7: For a treatment of, among other things, political intrigue in a Mediterranean area state circa WWII, but handled from a modernist vs. a postmodernist perspective.
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» See also 135 mentions

English (30)  French (4)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (36)
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
A strange and gruesome tale of two men in pursuit of an unidentified object. The story of this difficult book is equally evasive. I delved into the story with reckless abandon, fearing that I might never come out. ( )
  jwhenderson | Feb 28, 2024 |
I will write a longer review later, but as a very general overview: some of Pynchon's novels may be 'better' or 'richer' in some measure of the word, but V is the most beautiful. It has the most heart. ( )
  JasonMehmel | Feb 9, 2024 |
Leggere un libro e non capirci un bel niente di tutte le oltre seicento pagine, ma, dentro di voi, sapete che qualcosa vi è rimasto… ma cosa? Perché?...

Un pò Flann O’Brien, ma meno chiaro...

Demain le noir matin,
Je fermerai la porte
Au nez des années mortes;
J’irai par les chemins.
Je mendierai ma vie
Sur la terre et sur l’onde,
Du vieux au nouveau monde…

Domani, il nero mattino,
Chiuderò la porta
In faccia agli anni morti.
Andrò per le strade,
Vivrò per mare e per terra,
Come un vagabondo,
Dal vecchio al nuovo mondo…
(pagina 16)

La mia traduzione (peccando di saccenza):
Domani, un oscuro mattino,
Chiuderò la porta
In faccia agli anni morti.
Mendicherò dal mio futuro
Sulle strade e sulle onde del mio destino
Dal vecchio al nuovo mondo.
Sarebbe stato davvero il colmo se alla fine di questa sua caccia Stencil si fosse ritrovato faccia a faccia con se stesso, davanti al proprio io afflitto da una specie di travestitismo dell’anima. (pagina 290)

Scorrendo il suo menù di preoccupazioni, vide una portata rimasta fino ad allora inosservata, la quale assunse la forma di una domanda dalla logica tipicamente tedesca: “Se non mi ha visto nessuno, io sono davvero qui?” (pagina 332)

La festa era vicino al confine con il Maryland; tra i partecipanti, Profane trovò un evaso da Devil’s Island, il quale era in viaggio, sotto il falso nome di Maynard Basilisk, diretto a Vassar, dove contava di insegnare apicoltura; un inventore che festeggiava la settantaduesima invenzione respintagli dall’ufficio brevetti: questa volta si trattava di un bordello che funzionava a gettone, da installare nelle stazioni degli autobus e dei treni, e lui ne stava spiegando il progetto avvalendosi di cianografie e di gesti a un piccolo gruppo di Tirosemiofili (collezionisti di etichette di formaggio francese), …; una dolce patologa originaria dell’isola di Man, la quale si distingueva per essere l’unica persona al mondo a parlare la lingua di quell’isola, e di conseguenza non parlava con nessuno; un musicologo disoccupato che si chiamava Petard, il quale aveva dedicato la vita alla ricerca del Concerto per kazoo di Vivaldi; il concerto, andato perduto, era stato segnalato alla sua attenzione da un certo Squasimodeo, il quale un tempo faceva l’impiegato statale sotto Mussolini e ora giaceva ubriaco sotto il piano; … (pagina 540)
( )
  NewLibrary78 | Jul 22, 2023 |
It took me five whole months to read this book and I am so ashamed by that fact. But sometimes a book grabs you and you breeze through it. Other times, a book is gripping, but it’s too heavy to finish in a single sitting.
When I heard of this book the first time, it was in a class when a professor told us that this book had the best description of Valletta he had ever read. Surprised that a book written by an American featured Malta so heavily, I bought it and promised myself I would read it and fully enjoy it one day.
This book, first off, is heavy. I’m not talking only material and plot wise, I mean physically. This book is huge and weighs a ton, but damn if it isn’t a good read. But plot-wise, there is so much going on all the time that I was very confused at first until I learned who all the characters were. It was like watching Game of Thrones for the first time and struggling to remember who everyone was and their relation to each other.
Trying to explain this book simply is a bit of a struggle, but we can try, anyway.
The story takes place in America and Malta, but it actually also bounces between a lot of different locations in flashbacks. It follows a group of disillusioned individuals – some of them navy deserters, some of them artists trying too hard to be the next best things, and some of them deadbeats and prostitutes – who all meet and live together (in some capacity) in New York City. A common tie between some of them is the island of Malta, and one particular individual named Stencil is obsessed with ‘V’. Stencil’s only problem is that he doesn’t know if V is a person, a place, or an object, and he has dedicated his entire life to finding out. In Stencil’s eyes, finding out what V is will bring him one step closer to his father, who died in Malta in the 1919 riots.
The entire novel keeps you guessing up until the last second what, who, or where V actually is, and introduces you to a host of different characters with different connections that could all be V. And Pynchon really knows how to make characters memorable. Every single one of his characters, big and small, is given a brilliantly explained backstory and exposition, making them seem so lifelike even if they are just background characters who don’t contribute much. A small thing I really enjoyed was his ties to his other novel The Crying of Lot 49, with the brief mention of an industrious company that is a big part of The Crying.
I think one of my biggest qualms with Pynchon’s writing, and it comes out very clearly in this novel, is his long-winding sentences. Sometimes I get lost reading, and forget who’s talking and what they’re talking about, which is probably why it took me so long to finish the book.
Another thing that bothered but also pleased me slightly was his use of Maltese. Pynchon tries his very best to make Valletta as accurate as possible, and he really does try to include Maltese words and names into the whole thing, which really made me happy. I wish that the spelling of Maltese words had been more accurate, but then again it is a language that most of us Maltese aren’t sure how to spell either so I can’t fault him too much for that.
However, another positive point for this novel is that he does the whole idea of magical realism quite well. While it isn’t really outright said that there is an element of magical realism to the book, there is the sense that some things are being done in that vein. There is also the way that characters speak that lends to this idea, because the way that most characters speak makes it seem like they’re actually caricatures rather than real people. And I think that Pynchon is trying to make a pretty successful point here about how our idea of the American Dream, or really of life itself, is all a caricature and isn’t real. And these characters who are striving for just that have in turn become caricatures as they try to pursue something that doesn’t exist.
Did I enjoy this book, though? Yes. Immensely. I’m really glad I read it. Do I recommend that you’re in the right head space to read it? 100%. It’s heavy, and you might need to take breaks or even take notes while you’re reading it, but it’s so worth it in the end. I give it a 4/5, simply because the long-winding sentences really put me off while I was reading, but the story ties together beautifully in the end and I can’t fault him for that, or for depicting my homeland so accurately.
( )
  viiemzee | Feb 20, 2023 |
Second read: I've come to realisation that this may be one of the greatest books I've read, especially first novels by an author. If you haven't attempted this yet, you're a shlemiel. ( )
  jaydenmccomiskie | Sep 27, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thomas Pynchonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Almansi, GuidoForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Øverås, LinnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Danzas, MinnieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
David, IsmarCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fujita, S. NeilCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grigorʹeva, GlebaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jelinek, ElfriedeAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Khanina, Aleksei︠a︡Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kim, Sang-guTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martín Ramírez, CarlosTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Natale, GiuseppeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Penberthy, MarkCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stössel, DietrichTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Teichmann, WulfTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Christmas Eve, 1955, Benny Profane, wearing black Levi's, suede jacket, sneakers and big cowboy hat, happened to pass through Norfolk, Virginia.
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Follows the orbits of old acquaintances headed for a less than harmonic convergence in Northern California in 1984.

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