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Only if You're Up for a Whopper of a Challenge
on 2 February 2015
If you can flash your Mensa card at the door, you can gain access to this book. No one else need apply. While I’m no intellectual slouch myself, and I’m used to permitting my brain to bleed in the pursuit of self-transcendence, it’s safe to say that no amount of blood letting was going to make this book an ounce less opaque to me. Reading with the cliff notes in hand (I kid you not), entitled A Gravity Rainbow’s companion, I fared little better. I’m giving this book 3 stars because the 50% or so of the book that didn’t go over my head, I confess did strike me as true genius. I imagine if I could have gotten a few more of those obtuse aspersions, and literary in-jokes, and could have thrown another 25 or so IQ points at this tome, I’m guessing it would have ended up being 4 or even 5 stars.
There’s no question the author and I are kindred spirits. Our mutual penchant for writing about out-of-control government forces, and our shared general disdain for the abuses of power in its many splendored forms cannot be denied. One of Pynchon’s dictums, moreover, is one I often paraphrase in my own works. Namely the more you try and control the world, the crazier things get. It’s as if humans have a self-correcting gene, a kind of natural immunity to abuses of power that manifests as widening chaos the moment the all-powerful attempt to get us in their steely clutches. Pynchon’s insight, I feel, describes the essential drama I see playing out across the globe.