Have we definitely decided that "Pynchon" is written by Pynchon these days? I am not terribly good at recognising styles. I was reminded of Colson Whitehead more than anyone. It has two Pynchon ticks, jarringly bizarre names of characters and
"Pairs of characters"
"Without any decoration"
"And in which the characters"
"Don't speak in a discernibly different"
"That you lose track"
It could have done with a plot. Clearly "Pynchon" knows about a particular social class in New York, and obviously has picked a bit up about how VCs / software start-ups / software works. But not enough really. I enjoyed the first 50 or so pages, but then it just carried on, and on. I did finish it though, unlike Against The Day which was just too over-pleased with itself.
2. The Cuckoo's Calling, "Robert Galbraith"
There is an oft quoted, possibly true, story of people who say 'I sent the text of Pride And Prejudice [or whatever] to a publisher under my own name and I just got a simple rejection slip'. To which my thought is that the publisher thought 'some disturbed person has sent me the manuscript of Pride And Prejudice, if I engage with them they will probably come round my house and roast my pets, best to just send a rejection slip in the hope they'll go away'.
But I cannot help wonder what publishers made of this (it is really J. K. Rowling as you probably know). It does seem quite assured for a first novel, albeit in a P. D. James moving the characters around like they are chess pieces sort of way. At least one publisher rejected it, of course. I do rather hope there are more - it is clearly the set up for a series, there is quite a lot of Oh Noes Teh Backstory, but within acceptable limits. I imagine it will be an ITV drama in due course. Or maybe as it's her it will be a film, though I can't see that working.
3. Flesh Wounds, Chris Brookmyre.
This is the 3rd book in his new(ish) series of straight, albeit with some black humour, detective novels. I think this was an extremely good move because the other novels (fantasy, black comedy detective, other) were frankly going down hill. The last actually good one to my mind was A Big Boy Did It And Ran Away in 2001 - certainly the last one I bothered rereading. Possibly slightly too large a touch of the Ian Rankin's, and possibly with the biggest dose of Oh Noes Teh Backstory of any detective writer I can think of. Presumably there will be a 4th, though I wonder where he is left to go with the Oh Noes The Backstory, now that it has been revealed that [Redacted] really is [Redacted] despite [Redacted]. Well, actually, it is kind of obvious where it could go, but if it did go that way, could there be a 5th? Given the symbiotic relationship between British detective novels and TV drama, I imagine these could be televised. ITV did his first novel and made a pig's ear of it, though the plot was clearly undoable because of the similarity to Harold Shipman who it pre-dated. Though as I said at the time, in that case why not skip to the 2nd? Does STV or BBC Scotland do detective drama though?
4. Worst. Person. Ever, Douggie Coupland.
We went to see Douggie at the Cheltenham Literary Festival. In a tent, where they crammed the audience into a 1/3 of the seats in the middle, and the seats were too small. And the toilets were out of order despite it being about day 2. Hmm. Douggie on the other hand seemed in better spirits than he had been when we had seen him before, he is clearly a bad traveller. He got someone to read out the excerpts because he said that only the British can do British amounts of swearing without it sounding odd, and the characters are British and swear. Moderately amusing, laugh out loud in some places, but really as slight as the most recent couple.