Against the Dayって、出たんですね。本屋でThomas Pynchonという名前の入った分厚い本を見て、そのことを知る。全然知らなかった。しかし、Guardianを検索してみたら、昨年の７月のその突然の刊行予告がけっこう衝撃的な事件であったことを知る；
December launch for Thomas Pynchon's latest novel
Staff and agencies
Friday July 21, 2006
The long wait could be over for Thomas Pynchon fans. His first novel in nearly a decade is coming out in the US on December 5.
But the release, as with so much else about the elusive author of contemporary classics such as The Crying of Lot 49 and Gravity's Rainbow, is shrouded in mystery. Since the 1997 release of Mason & Dixon, a characteristically broad novel which followed the travails of two 18th-century astronomers charting the disputed borderline between Pennsylvania and Maryland, new writings by Pynchon have been limited to the occasional review or essay, such as his introduction for a reissue of George Orwell's 1984. He has, of course, continued to shun the media and avoid photographers, though he has turned up twice on The Simpsons, appearing in one episode with a bag over his head.
This much is known about the new book: it's called Against the Day and will be published by Penguin Press. It will run to at least 900 pages.
The author will not be going on a promotional tour.
"That will not be happening, no," Penguin publicist Tracy Locke told the Associated Press on Thursday.
Like JD Salinger (who at one point Pynchon was rumoured to be), the 69-year-old Pynchon is that rare sort of author who inspires fascination by not talking to the press. Alleged Pynchon sightings, like so many UFOs, have been common over the years - his new book has inspired another round of Pynchon-ology on Slate and other Internet sites.
A description of the book - apparently written by Pynchon himself - has been posted on Amazon.com. It offers a tantalising glimpse of the coming work.
"Spanning the period between the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 and the years just after world war I, this novel moves from the labour troubles in Colorado to turn-of-the-century New York, to London and Göttingen, Venice and Vienna, the Balkans, Central Asia, Siberia at the time of the mysterious Tunguska Event, Mexico during the revolution, postwar Paris, silent-era Hollywood, and one or two places not strictly speaking on the map at all.
"With a worldwide disaster looming just a few years ahead, it is a time of unrestrained corporate greed, false religiosity, moronic fecklessness, and evil intent in high places. No reference to the present day is intended or should be inferred."
It goes on to confirm that "the author is up to his usual business", with the new book set to include many of the elements which have delighted Pynchon's fans since the publication of V in 1963. Once more he has assembled a "sizeable cast" of unlikely characters, with "cameo appearances by Nikola Tesla, Bela Lugosi, and Groucho Marx". Once more there are "strange sexual practices", and "obscure languages" which are spoken "not always idiomatically". Once more characters will "stop what they're doing to sing what are for the most part stupid songs".
The description was at first removed from the site, with Penguin denying any knowledge of its appearance, and subsequently re-posted. According to Amazon spokesman Sean Sundwall, Penguin requested the posting's removal "due to a late change in scheduling on their part".
Locke declined to comment on why the description was taken down, but did reluctantly confirm two details provided by Sundwall, that the book is called Against the Day (no title is listed on Amazon) and that Pynchon indeed wrote the blurb, which warns of more confusion to come.
"Contrary-to-the-fact occurrences occur," Pynchon writes. "If it is not the world, it is what the world might be with a minor adjustment or two. According to some, this is one of the main purposes of fiction. Let the reader decide, let the reader beware. Good luck."
このレヴューを読んでもネタバレということにはならないだろうけど、いつもながら、何人かの翻訳家の過労死と大量の卒業論文／修士論文の生産を帰結しそうな感じ。ところで、1997年のMason & Dixonって、もう日本語訳は出ているの？
There's no doubting Thomas
Be prepared to set aside a lot of time to read Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day ... but be assured that it will be time well spent, says David Gale
Sunday November 26, 2006
Against the Day
by Thomas Pynchon
Jonathan Cape, £20, pp 1,085
In July the wires were humming. Browsing Pynchonomanes had been alerted to a listing on Amazon.com, a 270-word blurb for a brand new book by the cult writer who is so determinedly elusive that he makes JD Salinger look vulgarly available. Not only did the blurb disclose themes and events in Against the Day, it appeared actually to have been written by Thomas Pynchon himself. A day later, Amazon had pulled the text, but the move came too late - a Pynchonist had saved the text and reposted it on to Amazon's customer discussion board. It is still there. This is the first paragraph:
'Spanning the period between the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 and the years just after World War I, this novel moves from the labour troubles in Colorado to turn-of-the-century New York, to London, Venice and Vienna, the Balkans, Central Asia, Siberia at the time of the mysterious Tunguska Event, Mexico during the revolution, postwar Paris, silent-era Hollywood and one or two places not strictly speaking on the map at all.'
Over at the Pynchon-L internet mailing list, the lid comes off. The subscribers, hardcore textual stalkers to a man (there seems to be only one female subscriber), some of whom have been discussing the finer points of the oeuvre for years, go into overdrive.
One of the topics discussed was the significance of the cover design. On the bottom left-hand corner of an otherwise rather plain dustjacket is the image of what appears to be a seal or official stamp, depicting what might be mountains, encircled at the seal's circumference by lettering in an unfamiliar script. The subscribers get to work: there's a snow lion in front of the mountains; the mountains resemble giant adenoids; it's not a seal, it's a coin; the coin is a forgery; the script is Tibetan; it's a Tibetan wireless telegraph stamp; the dustjacket is referencing either reincarnation, time travel or tripolar disorder. Remarkably, a subscriber unearths a photo of a 19th-century Tibetan coin that closely resembles the enigmatic original.
Why doesn't this sort of thing happen to Ian McEwan? Because he gives interviews and allows photographers to take his picture and does readings, signings and the rest of it. Pynchon does none of these. He has never been interviewed; there are only three photographs in existence, all dating from his teens and early 20s; the most basic biographical facts are still a matter of dispute and those that pass muster have been excavated with difficulty. In consequence, speculation runs unfettered.
There is rather more to it, otherwise we would have uncovered the simple secret to success: disappear. Pynchon received the National Book Award for Gravity's Rainbow in 1974, and in 1988 collected the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship award, or 'genius grant', which guaranteed the Fellow £160,000, paid over five years. He is regularly rumoured to be in line for a Nobel Prize for literature. His first novel, V (496 pages), published in 1963, displayed an array of stylistic, linguistic and structural idiosyncrasies that set the stage for a long career in which complex, insistently thematised works were routinely conflated with fantasies about the author, who, one supposes, initially absented himself in order to forestall such fantastication.
V was an episodic account of the attempts of Herbert Stencil to locate V, who is probably a woman. The quest crisscrosses with the escapades of discharged sailor Benny Profane and a troupe of amiable rascals, the Whole Sick Crew. V may or may not be found and the comical character names may suggest that nothing is to be taken too seriously.
This interpretation, however, is to discount Pynchon's prime compositional strategy, reflected in his magnum opus Gravity's Rainbow (768 pages), in which allusion and digression proliferate, a Tarot-like section structure is introduced, structure in general complexifies, 400 characters are deployed and the priapic Lt Tyrone Slothrop reluctantly learns that his sexual dalliances coincide geographically with the impacts a few days later of V-2 rockets on wartime London.
Pynchon's novels feature light, busy surfaces, characters who are often more personality than person, narratives impelled by event rather than the inner dynamics of principals, characteristics that seem to point away from substance, yet invariably encase an elaborate architecture of political, historical and scientific concerns.
Pynchon's experimental, anti-narrative tendencies appear in his latest novel, Against the Day (1,085 pages) in full-blown, runaway metastasis. All that is glorious and exhilarating about Pynchon is found here, but the problems of scale are taxing. There is a spinal story of sorts: 1890s cowboy and anarchist bomber Webb Traverse is killed by hired guns in the pay of plutocrat Scarsdale Vibe. His four children - Frank, into revolutionary politics and bombing; Reef, a reckless tunnel blaster wandering the Balkans as Europe shudders into war; Lake, who marries her father's assassin, and Kit, a Yale- and Gottingen-educated mathematical prodigy preoccupied with arcane and unsolvable formulae - take up the question of vengeance with varying degrees of dedication.
Blessed with droll, laconic cowboy dialogue, the Traverse children and their partners in restless travail are tracked through the thickets of the novel, regularly abandoned then picked up again. Their appearances provide, if not structural succour, then a regular buffer against the seething, overly diverting profusion of other characters and their escapades.
The text is overwhelming, unstable, encyclopaedic and extravagantly allusive. Characters bejewelled with such names as Ruperta Chirpingdon-Groin, Oomie Vamplet, the Kieselguhr Kid, Darby Suckling, Oleander Prudge and Sloat Fresno are implicated in at least a dozen parallel, interwoven accounts that feature a train that travels through sand under the surface of deserts, a dog that reads the work of Henry James, a previously unmapped district of Chicago, a near drowning in a quantity of mayonnaise, the performance of an operetta titled The Burgher King, a sentient ball of lightning called Skip and a balloon crewed by boyish adventurers known as the Chums of Chance.
At times, the author seems burdened with a surfeit of research material and discharges it, at regular intervals, into long, scene-setting paragraphs that simply list the contents of rooms or environments. That these contents are generally exotic does not preclude their coming to resemble, after, say, the eighth time, a hardware catalogue or a set-dresser's checklist.
When gadgets and inventions simply strut across the scene, Pynchon joins company with neurotic French proto-Surrealist and novelist Raymond Roussel, whose highly schematic books feature a dry ingenuity applied to the repetitive description of absurd machines.
None of this detracts from the unique pleasures of a mighty novel that will delight Pynchonians and seduce newcomers. The latter should be prepared to put about a month aside at two hours a day, five days a week. The scale of the novel induces memory loss but as with balloon flight, or fever, the return to terra firma is accompanied by feelings of wise, wide contentment.
Beneath the disconnected pointillism, lies an energetic universe through which waves of history, light, time and number flow, at times in concert, at other times colliding. Their collisions coalesce into the interference patterns that are the novel's episodes and events. Arcane, embedded codes pervade a Pynchon novel at every level, so consider the episode in which Reef Traverse is about to attempt penetrative sexual intercourse with the lapdog Mouffette. This occurs on page 666, the Number of the Beast.