In this lively yarn, Thomas Pynchon, working in an unaccustomed genre, provides a classic illustration of the principle that if you can remember the sixties, you weren't there . . . or . . . if you were there, then you . . . or, wait, is it . . . [p. 28]
New Pynchon Details--Inherent Vice
Penguin has posted its Summer '09 catalog online (PDF format), and it includes some details as to Pynchon's new novel.
Publisher Penguin's catalog reveals details about the upcoming book by Thomas Pynchon. As previously reported, it will be a detective novel hitting shelves next summer; the news is the title, "Inherent Vice." And details about the plot:
She came along the alley and up the back steps the way she always used to. Doc hadn’t seen her for over a year. Nobody had. Back then it was always sandals, bottom half of a flower-print bikini, faded Country Joe and the Fish T-shirt. Tonight she was all in flatland gear, hair a lot shorter than he remembered, looking just like she swore she’d never look.
“That you, Shasta? The packaging fooled me there for a minute.”
“Need your help, Doc.”
They stood in the streetlight through the kitchen window there’d never been much point putting curtains over and listened to the thumping of the surf from down the hill. Some nights,when the wind was right, you could hear the surf all over town.
Nobody was saying much. What was this? “So! You know I have an office now? Just like a day job and everything?”
“I looked in the phone book, almost went over there. But then I thought, better for everybody if this looks like a secret rendezvous.”
OK, nothing romantic tonight. Bummer. But it might be a paying gig. “Somebody’s keeping a close eye?”
“Just spent an hour on surface streets trying to make it look good.”
“How about a beer?” He went to the fridge, pulled two cans out of the case he kept inside, handed one to Shasta.
“There’s this guy,” she was saying.
There would be. No point getting emotional. And if he had a nickel for every time he’d heard a client start off this way, he would be over in Hawaii now, loaded day and night, digging the waves at Waimea, or better yet hiring somebody to dig them for him. . . .
“Gentleman of the straight-world persuasion,” he beamed.
“OK, Doc. He’s married.”
“Some . . . money situation.”
She shook back hair that wasn’t there and raised her eyebrows so what.
Groovy with Doc. “And the wife—she knows about you?”
Shasta nodded. “But she’s seeing somebody too. Only it isn’t just the usual number—they’re working together on some creepy little scheme.”
“To make off with hubby’s fortune, yea, I think I heard of that happenin’ once or twice around L.A. And . . . you want me to do what exactly?” He found the paper bag he’d brought his supper home in and got busy pretending to scribble notes on it, because straightchick uniform, makeup supposed to look like no makeup or whatever, here came that old well-known hard-on Shasta was always good for sooner or latter. Does it ever end, he wondered. Of course it does. It did.