James Rogers

People’s Republic of Rock ’n’ Roll

Vineland

By

Secker & Warburg 385pp £14.95 order from our bookshop

It is 17 years since Pynchon’s last novel, Gravity’s Rainbow, a work of dizzying opulence and grandeur, so there is cause for a little contained excitement. The setting is Northern California in 1984, a landscape of shopping malls and Burger Kings, designer cocktails and crank astrologists, a lawn-care service called The Marquis de Sod (‘’E’ll wheep your lawn into shepp!’) and the Bodhi Dharma Pizza Temple where they serve an organic ‘stone-ground twelve-grain crust with the lightness and digestibility of a manhole cover.’ Old hippy and dopehead Zoyd Wheeler lives happily among the Vineland redwoods with teenage daughter Prairie, his chief worry the suitability of her boyfriend Isaiah Two Four, the violence-obsessed drummer in Billy Barf and the Vomitones. Zoyd is just going about his annual business of donning women’s clothes and leaping through a plate-glass window for the benefit of assembled TV crews, thus ensuring the continuation of his welfare cheques from the mental health authorities, when ominous figures from his past heave into view.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • RT : Founded in 1979, is a trusted independent source for reviews of new books across a variety of genres. A… ,
    • RT : Here we are - "Shelf Indulgence" by Ed Potten, a wonderful read, well worth your time: @Lit_Review,
    • 'Like going to a party hoping to get away as quickly as politeness allowed and at 4am finding myself still engrosse… ,
    • 'Neville never shed his sense of being the junior, and perhaps least-deserving Chamberlain.' From the archive, Mic… ,
    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,
    • RT : A magnificent demolition job on this "acid laced tirade...unpleasantly self-obsessed...self pitying polemic...book… ,
    • 'Seventy years on, the time we have left to gather such first-hand testimony is running out.' John Keay on the sig… ,