Inherent Vice, reclusive wierdo novelist Thomas Pynchon's latest effort, is out. A detective story, Pynchon's choice of genre has focused attention on crime fiction. Malcom Jones at Newsweek has weighed in with a thoughtful (for Newseek) piece about crime fiction and why "literary" novelists seem to be trying their hands at it with varying degrees of success. Over at Slate, on the other hand, Ron Rosenbaum sees that Pynchon has written a detective novel and gets all bitchy, noting,
"But Inherent Vice is certainly a classic illustration of something or other, such as (maybe) giving up the project of being a serious novelist, albeit without offending anyone except for a few longtime and die-hard fans like me."
Mr. Rosenbaum is deeply offended that this novel is devoid of giant adenoids and invisible clockwork ducks. He is aghast that Pynchon seems to have written a novel that people who are not as intellectual as himself might actually enjoy. Now, when Rosenbaum goes into his local coffeehouse with a dog eared copy of V tucked under his arm he is deathly afraid that he may be accosted by some goddamn savage who will say something like, "Pynchon huh? I usually read James Patterson, but I really dug that detective novel he did. I read it while my wife and I were at Myrtle Beach last summer." Oh no Mr. Rosenbaum! David Foster Wallace wised up and killed himself, and now Thomas Pynchon is slumming it! Who will save you from the hoi polloi? Who?
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