Saturday, December 12, 2009

Portrait of Thomas Pynchon as a young man

Short but good piece in London Review of Books:
One of the things Pynchon liked was to be driven around LA by one of the young women from the neighbourhood while rehearsing his theories about the defence industry. His favourite hangout was a joint called Tommy’s which had good chilli cheeseburgers and Tom would always eat two in a hurry. He stuttered, and when he was excited, the words didn’t always flow. He told me at one point, almost vengefully, that one of his quests was to ‘keep scholars busy for several generations’. He said he had written The Crying of Lot 49 under the influence of Borges and for money, but it didn’t make money, and he dismissed it. He thought V a good effort. He was at work that summer on Gravity’s Rainbow, which he felt had real prospects. There was a pile of papers on a desk – scraps, handwritten notes, different coloured paper – and he would add to it if you said something he thought worth keeping. He said he didn’t go to the beach anymore.

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