By Thomas Pynchon
Thomas Pynchon decided to take a break from his typical abstract experimentalist style of literature and gave us his latest called Inherent Vice. It’s a noir detective novel set in 1970′s Los Angeles where Doc Sportello, PI, an aging hippie, has an ex-girlfriend that requires his investigative services in finding her missing lover who happens to be a wealthy real estate mogul. Doc agrees and what ensues is an adventure filled with conspiracies, LAPD corruption, drug addicts and all manner of misfits, set in a time when the ideals of the hippie generation are slowly waning like a Santa Monica sunset. Though this is one of Pynchon’s accessible works (Gravity’s Rainbow, Mason and Dixon), the story is still rife with Pynchonian tells like obscure pop culture references, shameless puns, toilet humor and rants calling to mind the myriad conversations by transients holding court at the Downtown Plaza. This book, along with other works like the film The Big Lebowski, have led critics to suggest a new direction in the style of the detective novel called â€œstonerâ€ or â€œpsychedelicâ€ noir. All in all this is a very entertaining read, and I suggest that Pynchon rookies and coffee shop hipsters alike would do themselves a kindness in reading the latest by arguably one of the most important American writers in the last 50 years.