Is the reclusive Thomas Pynchon our greatest living writer? No, that would be Philip Roth. He may be the most virtuosic and challenging though, with both his masterpiece "Gravity's Rainbow" and his historical novel "Mason & Dixon" among the most difficult books I've ever read. His 2006 opus, "Against the Day", is his longest (the hardcover runs 1,085 pages), yet it's surprisingly accessible; well, as accessible as a thousand page book that moves freely though time, geography, and history can be. This book has it all: airships, science, wars, politics, sex, Tesla, religion, songs, history, technology, the Chicago World's Fair, Bela Lugosi, Madame Blavatsky, sentences, big words, the labor movement, spies. . .It doesn't necessarily have the most coherent narrative and though I just read it, I can't really tell you what is was about. Along with "Inherent Vice" and "Bleeding Edge," it does seem to find late Pynchon in a more user friendly mode, although that should be taken with a grain of salt. It is impressive and highly ambitious, but I'm not sure how good it is.
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