Synopses & Reviews
A group of Americans in Northern California in 1984 are struggling with the consequences of their lives in the sixties, still run by the passions of those times sexual and political which have refused to die. Among them is Zoyd Wheeler who is preparing for his annual act of televised insanity (for which he receives a government stipend) when an unwelcome face appears from out of his past.
An old nemesis, federal prosecutor Brock Vond, storms into Vineland at the head of a heavily armed strike force. Soon Zoyd and his daughter, Prairie, go into hiding while Vond begins a relationship with Zoyd's ex-wife and uses Prairie as a pawn against the mother she never knew she had.
Part daytime drama, part political thriller, Vineland is a strange evocation of a twentieth-century America headed for a less than harmonic future.
Vineland, a zone of blessed anarchy in northern California, is the last refuge of hippiedom, a culture devastated by the sobriety epidemic, Reaganomics, and the Tube. Here, in an Orwellian 1984, Zoyd Wheeler and his daughter Prairie search for Prairie's long-lost mother, a Sixties radical who ran off with a narc. Vineland is vintage Pynchon, full of quasi-allegorical characters, elaborate unresolved subplots, corny songs ("Floozy with an Uzi"), movie spoofs (Pee-wee Herman in The Robert Musil Story), and illicit sex (including a macho variation on the infamous sportscar scene in V.).
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Pynchon freely combines disparate elements from American pop culture and spy thrillers, Ninja potboilers, TV soap operas, sci-fi fantasies in this story of sixties survivors.
About the Author
Thomas Pynchon is the author of V., The Crying of Lot 49, Gravity's Rainbow, Slow Learner, a collection of short stories, Vineland and, most recently, Mason and Dixon. He received the National Book Award for Gravity's Rainbow in 1974.