Pynchon’s New Noir

From The Literary Saloon:

Tibor Fischer guest-blogs at The Independent‘s Notes in the Margin-weblog, and writes that:

I’ve been enjoying the new Thomas Pynchon novel, Inherent Vice. The most striking thing about is that if you had handed me the first 30 pages, I would have staked my life I was reading the opening of the new Elmore Leonard.

The lean, witty lines recounting the exploits of hippy private dick Doc Sportello in Sixties LA (albeit with a nod to Raymond Chandler) absolutely smacks of Leonard and his humorous imagination (how about a crooked Jewish property developer with Nazi biker bodyguards?).

PD: I just finished one of James Ellroy’s called Hollywood Nocturnes.  Great fun.  It’s in his transitional phase, as he was just starting to eliminate verbs from his writing, and it’s Ellroy-lite.  There’s a story about a dog with a twenty-five million dollar inheritance, and his Ellroyish keeper.  Ellroy’s template (and ours) is Raymond Chandler, who once wrote, “The next hour took about three hours….”

Venus of Hohle Fels

This “Venus” figurine found in Germany is impressive, being 35,000 years old and highly stylized, but it seems too much to say that it’s the “first depiction of a woman.” It’s even less clearly, “…the oldest known example of figurative art.

Venus of Tan-Tan out of Morocco is between 300,000 and 500,000 years old.

Yeah, yeah… it just barely has a human form and the Wikipedia article states that it is of indeterminate gender. Keep looking in Morocco. More will turn up, and they will be of better quality, and it will be no surprise when they are more clearly representations of the female gender.

Paris Review Interviews

  • IRWIN SHAW
    1953

    On the New York theater audience: “I have a fine play in mind I’ll write for them someday. The curtain slides up on a stage bare except for a machine gun facing the audience. . . . [then] the actor walks upstage, adjusts the machine gun, and blasts them.”

  • UMBERTO ECO
    2008

    “I suspect that there is no serious scholar who doesn’t like to watch television. I’m just the only one who confesses. ”

  • WILLIAM WEAVER
    2002

    On translating Italo Calvino: “I had problems with Calvino because he thought he knew English . . . At one point he fell madly in love with the word feedback . . .

  • JORGE LUIS BORGES
    1967

    On color: “When I began to lose my sight, the last color I saw was yellow, because it is the most vivid of colors. I live in a grey world, rather like the silver screen world. But yellow stands out.”

  • ROBERT GRAVES
    1969

    On the origins of Wife to Mr. Milton: “I’d always hated Milton, from earliest childhood, and I wanted to find out the reason. I found it. His jealousy. It’s present in all his poems . . . ”

  • JAMES DICKEY
    1976

    On Allen Ginsberg: “I think Ginsberg has done more harm to the craft that I honor and live by than anybody else . . . ”

  • P. G. WODEHOUSE
    1975

    “The thing to do is to say to yourself, ‘Which are my big scenes?’ and then get every drop of juice out of them.”

  • HEINRICH BOLL
    1983

    “Behind every word a whole world is hidden that must be imagined.”

  • GUILLERMO CABRERA INFANTE
    1983

    “Man, to put it in Swiftian terms Swift could never utter, is the cancer of the planet!”

  • PHILIP LARKIN
    1982

    “A writer once said to me, If you ever go to America, go either to the East Coast or the West Coast: The rest is a desert full of bigots. That’s what I think I’d like . . . a version of pastoral.”

  • ISMAIL KADARE
    1998

    “I had three choices: to conform to my own beliefs, which meant death; complete silence, which meant another kind of death; to pay a tribute, a bribe. I chose the third solution by writing The Long Winter.”

  • V. S. PRITCHETT
    1990

    “I was having tea with [Yeats] one day, and I remember he picked up a pot of tea and, finding that it was already full of old tea, he opened the window of his Georgian house and flung the contents into the square! Rhetoric poured out of him all the while.”