Literary Nonfiction. Thomas Pynchon's cult detective novel, Inherent Vice, depicts drug-addled private investigator "Doc" Sportello, a leftover of 1960s idealism, on an errant quest to decipher the disappearance of a real estate tycoon. As in his other books, Pynchon imagines a "counterforce" of marginalized dreamers and weirdos seeking a more humane world.
Tracing Inherent Vice's hilariously tangled plotlines and its hallucinatory prose, J. M. Tyree explores the clues that link a paranoiac thriller set in Nixon-era Los Angeles to toxic national myths that define America today. Tyree arranges each chapter after something Pynchon stands against—werewolves, sobriety, linear time, Hollywood—and defends the liberties taken in Paul Thomas Anderson's film of Inherent Vice. If, as Pynchon suggests, another past is possible, then perhaps a different future is possible. A lucid guide to Pynchon's idiosyncratic historical fiction, THE COUNTERFORCE argues that facts alone cannot save us. We need better stories.
J. M. Tyree is the coauthor of Our Secret Life in the Movies (with Michael McGriff), an NPR Best Books selection, and of BFI Film Classics: The Big Lebowski (with Ben Walters), from the British Film Institute. He works as an editor for New England Review.Author City: RICHMOND, VA USA