Against the Day


I am about 650 pages into Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day, just a mere 445 more to go. I have deemed this the summer of fat books and am starting with Against the Day.

I had purchased this book when it first came out toward the end of 2006. I began reading it and was enjoying it more or less but was not overly impressed. I got about halfway through when the reality of moving to Las Vegas hit, and I got very busy with making plans and packing. Because I was not overly thrilled with the novel, it got packed up and stayed in the box until recently.

When I heard Inherent Vice is coming out in August, I decided I wanted to give Against the Day another try and attempt to read the entire thing before the new book comes out.

I’m not sure what I missed the first time I tried reading it, but I am absolutely loving Against the Day on the second try. I think part of my issue might be that I really enjoyed the Chums of Chance section that opens the novel, but this story line is not a main plot line. I should know better with Pynchon, but I think I may have focused too much of my initial reading on hoping for more C of C and was not fully appreciating the other sections.

This time around, I went in knowing that the Traverse family is the main focus and have found that story to be rather interesting, exciting, and moving. I also am finding it interesting because this story line starts out much like a Western, but one that takes place at the very end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Centuries. Modernity is creeping into this way of life. It reminds me in some way of The Wild Bunch, which, if I recall correctly, takes place during a similar time and is likewise about how modernity changed the face of the western United States.

So my summer of reading fat novels is off to a good start. I was hoping to finish Against the Day before taking a trip later this week, but I don’t think I will be able to. As much as I am enjoying the book, I am not looking forward to lugging it on the plane.