Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Not Bad, Just Not Good Enough

Bleeding EdgeBleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Along with Pynchon’s reputation and best-seller status, I was attracted to this book because of its New York City setting. That, and returning to a day when technology was important but not yet omnipresent, would make it nostalgic for me. I forgot that this was the time when Jody and I returned to the New York area. I took the job of building the Rahway Public Library in early 2001 and already felt like a tourist when we went into “The City.”
I moved from NYC to Massachusetts in 1974. The next quarter century erased and replaced the sense of life I remembered. A friend who stayed behind told me, back then, to stop making eye contact with everybody before I got us killed. The East Village where I drank wine from a common bottle with street people, in Tompkins Square Park, had been replaced by, in Pynchon’s word, “Yups.” There was no joy in revisiting my old locale. Meanwhile, I found the heroine of the book and other characters interesting, and was curious about where the plot would take them, but was not compelled to get back to the book, not eager to continue. I enjoyed the act of reading the pages, but they didn’t own me. Remembering my age, I decided that I owe it to myself to be very selective because there are SO MANY BOOKS. I wish Pynchon well, but I am returning his book unfinished, today.

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