This round up of 26 Very Long Books Worth the Time They’ll Take to Read includes my all-time fave, Against the Day by Thomas Pynchon. Calling it a “glorious mess in a career of glorious messes” is a very, very perfect description.
(And yes, I’ve read enough of the books on that list to make me feel just a little smug.)
The recent uproar around the identity of Elena Ferrante reminded me of this 1996 Nancy Jo Sales* piece on finding Thomas Pynchon. Such a difference in treatment: even when Sales (rightly) points out how terrible Vineland is, there is still so much respect for Pynchon, his work, and his privacy. Although I do think there is space for journalist inquiry alongside philosophical and literary questions of authorship, authority, and anonymity, Claudio Gatti’s approach was invasive and misogynist. Katherine Angel lays out a good argument for that here: “The crime that Ferrante has committed, in Gatti’s eyes, is that of witholding the signs by which he might read her as a “woman writer”.”
But do go read that Pynchon piece (and wish you could be friends with him–he just sounds so nice).
*of Bling Ring fame