Originally Posted by Sartorian
Lawyerdad, which Pynchon novel would you recommend?
BTW, to all those Murakami readers out there, I read Norwegian Wood, South of the Border/East with the Sun and Kafka on the Shore consecutively, and I'd not recommend going to his well too many times. He's a great writer, but he's very similar to Paul Auster in that all his novels explore variations on very similar themes. I got very tired of reading about adolescent boys getting whacked off by older women and how that was the great moment of the dudes's dreams. His books are great, but I think it's best to space them out a bit (not uncommon for many writers, but still, you have my warning).
As you say, this is not uncommon - many writers keep on going back to the same well for inspiration. For me, "The Wind-up Bird Chronicles" and "Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World" are his two most enjoyable books, and they also differ a fair bit from his other books. John Irving is another author who, although enjoyable, keeps on recycling the same themes in his works - young man/older woman; New Hampshire; Canada and a few other themes. Out of Irving's books, I most enjoyed "A Son of the Circus" as again, it was different from his other works.
Originally Posted by lawyerdad
With Pynchon, I would say that Gravity's Rainbow is really the "ultimate" Pynchon book. I also liked Vineland, and it's probably a more "accessible" introduction. But I'd probably jump right in with GR and either love it or hate it.
As LawyerDad said, GR is difficult. I'd tend to read "The Crying of Lot 49" and "Vineland" first as they are enjoyable to read and much more approachable. Frankly, after the first few chapters, I really found much of Gravity's Rainbow to be quite a chore.