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Cover for The Counterforce

The Counterforce

Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice (...Afterwords)

J. M. Tyree


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Literary Nonfiction. Thomas Pynchon's cult detective novel, Inherent Vice, depicts drug-addled private investigator Doc Sportello, a leftover of 1960s idealism, on an errant quest to decipher the disappearance of a real estate tycoon. As in his other books, Pynchon imagines a counterforce of marginalized dreamers and weirdos seeking a more humane world.

Tracing Inherent Vice's hilariously tangled plotlines and its hallucinatory prose, J. M. Tyree explores the clues that link a paranoiac thriller set in Nixon-era Los Angeles to toxic national myths that define America today. Tyree arranges each chapter after something Pynchon stands against--werewolves, sobriety, linear time, Hollywood--and defends the liberties taken in Paul Thomas Anderson's film of Inherent Vice. If, as Pynchon suggests, another past is possible, then perhaps a different future is possible. A lucid guide to Pynchon's idiosyncratic historical fiction, THE COUNTERFORCE argues that facts alone cannot save us. We need better stories.

Fiction Advocate, 9780999431689, 190pp.

Publication Date: March 16, 2021