Part noir, part psychedelic romp, all Thomas Pynchon— private eye Doc Sportello comes, occasionally, out of a marijuana haze to watch the end of an era as free love slips away and paranoia creeps in with the L.A. fog
It's been awhile since Doc Sportello has seen his ex-girlfriend. Suddenly out of nowhere she shows up with a story about a plot to kidnap a billionaire land developer whom she just happens to be in love with. Easy for her to say. It's the tail end of the psychedelic sixties in L.A., and Doc knows that "love" is another of those words going around at the moment, like "trip" or "groovy," except that this one usually leads to trouble. Despite which he soon finds himself drawn into a bizarre tangle of motives and passions whose cast of characters includes surfers, hustlers, dopers and rockers, a murderous loan shark, a tenor sax player working undercover, an ex-con with a swastika tattoo and a fondness for Ethel Merman, and a mysterious entity known as the Golden Fang, which may only be a tax dodge set up by some dentists.
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 . . .
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"Pynchon flashes the Sixties rock references faster than a Ten Years After guitar solo: His characters walk around wearing T-shirts from Pearls Before Swine, name-drop the Electric Prunes, turn up the Stones' 'Something Happened to Me Yesterday' on the radio. (I had never heard of Bonzo Dog Band's "Bang Bang" before, but it's on my iPod now.) The rock & roll fanboy love on every page is a feast for Pynchon obsessives, since we've always wondered what the man listens to….The songs are fragments in the elegiac tapestry for the Sixties, an era full of hippie slobs who just wanted to be left alone and so accidentally backed into heroic flights of revolutionary imagination. Can you dig it?" --Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone
Amazon Exclusive: Thomas Pynchon's Soundtrack to Inherent Vice
Larry "Doc" Sportello is a private eye who sees the world through a sticky dope haze, animated by the music of an era whose hallmarks were peace, love, and revolution. As Doc's strange case grows stranger, his 60s soundtrack--ranging from surf pop and psychedelic rock to eerie instrumentals--picks up pace. Have a listen to some of the songs you'll hear in Inherent Vice—the playlist that follows is designed exclusively for Amazon.com, courtesy of Thomas Pynchon. (Links will take you to individual MP3 downloads, full albums, or artist pages.)
|"Bamboo" by Johnny and the Hurricanes "Bang Bang" by The Bonzo Dog Band Bootleg Tape by Elephant's Memory "Can't Buy Me Love" by The Beatles "Desafinado" by Stan Getz & Astrud Gilberto, with Charlie Byrd Elusive Butterfly by Bob Lind "Fly Me to the Moon" by Frank Sinatra "Full Moon in Pisces" performed by Lark "God Only Knows" by The Beach Boys The Greatest Hits of Tommy James and The Shondells "Happy Trails to You" by Roy Rogers "Help Me, Rhonda" by The Beach Boys "Here Come the Hodads" by The Marketts "The Ice Caps" by Tiny Tim "Interstellar Overdrive" by Pink Floyd "It Never Entered My Mind" by Andrea Marcovicci "Just the Lasagna (Semi-Bossa Nova)" by Carmine & the Cal-Zones "Long Trip Out" by Spotted Dick "Motion by the Ocean" by The Boards "People Are Strange (When You're a Stranger)" by The Doors "Pipeline" by The Chantays "Quentin's Theme" (Theme Song from "Dark Shadows") performed by Charles Randolph Grean Sounde Rembetissa by Roza Eskenazi "Repossess Man" by Droolin’ Floyd Womack "Skyful of Hearts" performed by Larry "Doc" Sportello "Something Happened to Me Yesterday" by The Rolling Stones "Something in the Air" by Thunderclap Newman "Soul Gidget" by Meatball Flag "Stranger in Love" performed by The Spaniels "Sugar Sugar" by The Archies "Super Market" by Fapardokly "Surfin' Bird" by The Trashmen "Telstar" by The Tornados "Tequila" by The Champs Theme Song from "The Big Valley" performed by Beer "There's No Business Like Show Business" by Ethel Merman Vincebus Eruptum by Blue Cheer "Volare" by Domenico Modugno "Wabash Cannonball" by Roy Acuff & His Crazy Tennesseans "Wipeout" by The Surfaris "Wouldn't It Be Nice" by The Beach Boys "Yummy Yummy Yummy" performed by Ohio Express|
Thomas Pynchon is the author of V., The Crying of Lot 49, Gravity’s Rainbow, Slow Learner, Vineland, Mason and Dixon, and, most recently, Against the Day. He received the National Book Award for Gravity’s Rainbow in 1974.
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