I used to think that Thomas Pynchon wasn't a writer for everybody, but after finishing his latest novel Bleeding Edge (2013), I wonder if he is a writer for anybody. Set in New York City at the time of 9-11, Pynchon's main character is Maxine Tarnow, a fraud investigator who must negotiate being a mother of two along with her on-again-off again relationship with her ex-husband Horst. On assignment, Maxine stumbles into the subterranean world of the deep internet and “the paranoids and trolls” who control it. It's a thin plot line for 477 pages even by Pynchon standards, though some of the bizarre characters and strange incidents like the cameo with the freelance nose detective who has an olfactory sense so strong that dogs “come up to him with inquiring looks,” helps some to carry the reader through the book. The dialogue is mostly banter between Maxine and these type of characters. In short, it's not one of Pynchon's best efforts.
For a better book, I'd suggest Inherent Vice (2010), which is just more fun and easier to read. (I keep an audio CD version of Vice in my car – just to listen to excerpts of his prose.)
Still, with Pynchon, there is always the possibility of a few quotes and one-liners than I can re purpose and edit into my to my own vernacular such as “Colder than penguin shit” (Gravity's Rainbow - ), “I need a vacation from my life” (Vineland ) or “It takes a village, idiot” (Mason & Dixon ). In this case, it's not exactly something quotable, but I did feel a sense of connection to Pynchon when I read on page 298 his take on IKEA:
Like millions of other men around the world, Horst hates the Swedish DIY giant. He and Maxine once blew a weekend looking for the branch in Elizabeth, New Jersey, located next to the airport so the world's fourth richest billionaire can save on lading costs while the rest of us spend the day getting lost on the New Jersey Turnpike. Also off it. At last they arrived a county-sized parking lot, and shimmering in the distance a temple to, or museum of, a theory of domesticity too alien for Horst fully to be engaged by. Cargo planes kept landing gently nearby. An entire section of the store was dedicated to replacing wrong or missing parts and fasteners, since with IKEA this is not an exotic an issue. Inside the store proper, you walk forever from one bourgeois context or “room of the house,” to another, along a fractal path that does its best to fill up the floor space available. Exits are clearly marked but impossible to get to. Horst is bewildered, in a potentially violent sort of way. “Look at this, A bar stool, named Sven? Some old Swedish custom, the winter kicks in, weather gets harsh, after a while you find yourself relating to the furniture in ways you didn't expect?”
Not exactly a reason to pick up the book, but for better and worse, no one else writes like him.