Inherent Vice

By Thomas Pynchon,

Book cover of Inherent Vice

Book description

Part noir, part psychedelic romp, all Thomas Pynchon-Private eye Doc Sportello surfaces, occasionally, out of a marijuana haze to watch the end of an era

In this lively yarn, Thomas Pynchon, working in an unaccustomed genre that is at once exciting and accessible, provides a classic illustration of the principle…


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Why read it?

2 authors picked Inherent Vice as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Pynchon’s books are often dense and long and hard to get through (but rewarding if you power through). Inherent Vice is one of his lighter reads–accessible enough that Paul Thomas Anderson made it into a movie. It’s a funny, bizarre detective novel set in 1970s Los Angeles. Inherent Vice’s private eye protagonist Doc Sportello is looking for a vanished man in the sundrenched, sun-blasted landscape of southern California. There is no doubt that Pynchon consciously copied much of Chandler’s plot in an homage to the classic work. Like Murakami though, Pynchon works a kind of magic with it that…

From Bradley's list on mystery where the quest goes sideways.

Here’s a novel deeply perfumed with pot smoke and paranoia. Filled with Pynchon’s trademark puns, odd character names, and odder characters, it’s his most accessible novel, a detective story set in the early 1970s. Its main character, P.I. Larry ‘Doc’ Sportello, has the sleepy air of a confirmed stoner, but he’s dogged in following leads in the disappearance of an old girlfriend and her former lover. If you find yourself in a state of confusion about what’s going on, relax, Sportello’s confused, too. I love the book’s hodgepodge of 70s memorabilia: Hawaiian shirts, check; random psychedelia, check; free love, check;…

From Richard's list on set in the 1960s and 70s.

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