It has only been two and a half years since the publication of Pynchon’s last output, the monolithic Against the Day, but as of today the writer has a new novel on the shelves. Inherent Vice, the story of a stoner private eye investigating the disappearance of a rich Nazi sympathizer, clocks in at just over 400 pages and appears to be a little more accessible than some of his more celebrated works. Which is great news for us, who like to laugh but sometimes aren’t smart or focused enough to keep a mental tally of hundreds of characters popping up across thousands of pages.
Here is the synposis, probably written by Pynchon himself:
It’s been awhile since Doc Sportello has seen his ex-girlfriend. Suddenly out of nowhere she shows up with a story about a plot to kidnap a billionaire land developer whom she just happens to be in love with. Easy for her to say. It’s the tail end of the psychedelic sixties in L.A., and Doc knows that “love” is another of those words going around at the moment, like “trip” or “groovy,” except that this one usually leads to trouble. Despite which he soon finds himself drawn into a bizarre tangle of motives and passions whose cast of characters includes surfers, hustlers, dopers and rockers, a murderous loan shark, a tenor sax player working undercover, an ex-con with a swastika tattoo and a fondness for Ethel Merman, and a mysterious entity known as the Golden Fang, which may only be a tax dodge set up by some dentists.
Apparently there are already discussions underway about turning the novel into a movie, which would be a first , and judging by the synopsis, probably end up pretty similar to The Big Lebowski. And, in a super bizarre move for a writer who has shunned publicity for his entire career, a promo video was released today with Pynchon himself narrating.