Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Thomas Pynchon's new novel set in New York just before 9/11
due in September, takes place in the city's failing 'Silicon Alley'
'Silicon Valley' in the Tribeca district
of downtown Manhattan, where Thomas Pynchon's Bleeding Edge is set. Photograph:
The appetites of Thomas Pynchon's legion
of fans will be whetted by the news that the cult favourite's forthcoming novel
takes place in New York City's hi-tech zone of Silicon Alley.
Bleeding Edge, which will
be published in America on 17 September this year, will be set in 2001 "in the
lull between the collapse of the dotcom boom and the terrible events of
September 11", said
Pynchon's American publisher Penguin in its 2012 results announcement
yesterday. The new novel follows 2009's LA-set private eye tale Inherent Vice,
which takes place in the late 60s and is set to be adapted
for film by Paul Thomas Anderson, starring Joaquin Phoenix.
"This is extremely exciting
news. Pynchon is continually ranked among the greatest living American novelists
and to see the exponential increase in his output in recent years is definitely
of interest," said Martin Paul Eve, lecturer in English at the University of
Lincoln, who helped instigate "Pynchon in Public" day, an
annual celebration on 8 May where fans meet, read from Pynchon's novels and take
pictures of muted post horns, the symbol familiar from Pynchon's novel The
Crying of Lot 49. "While Inherent Vice didn't receive unanimous praise, love him
or loathe him, a new Pynchon novel simply can't be ignored."
In the absence of further
information from Penguin, Eve speculated that the novel would continue the
history of Arpanet, the precursor to the internet that features in Inherent
Vice. "I think the topic appeals because there's a lot of scope there for
Pynchon's mischievous counter-histories to resurface," he said. "It's also of
note that the press release explicitly mentions 9/11; this was something treated
metaphorically in Pynchon's 2006 behemoth Against the Day. It looks like what
we're seeing here is an amalgamation of Pynchon's Luddite stance, his
fascination with detective fiction and the lifelong
politics of his novels with the internet, contemporary capitalism and terrorism
– all getting the treatment in one whirling set-up."
Pynchon's UK publisher Jonathan Cape said that the author was "still writing"
Bleeding Edge, and that it had not yet been submitted to his