Over-educated collegiate types and other loveable characters beat back change with a party that just won’t end. But change is coming.
(from Slow Learner: Early Stories)
“Downstairs, Meatball Mulligan’s lease-breaking party was moving into its 40th hour.”
I guess this is about a bunch of last hurrahs balled up into one big last hurrah. But it’s also just a complicated and funny series of non-intertwining interactions. Pynchon introduces character after character and tells you only what you need to know about them. The rest you figure out from interactions and background chatter. It can be a bit confusing, but in a comfortable way. There is nothing he’s withholding by accident.
This collection, I believe, contains the only Pynchon five stories out there. So when he says “Early Stories,” he’s putting emphasis on the “Early.” In fact, he basically disavows them and his former self in the lengthy intro/apology/page-filler.
“You may already know what a blow to the it can be to have to read over anything you wrote 20 years ago, even cancelled checks. My first reaction, rereading these stories, was oh my God, accompanied by physical symptoms we shouldn’t dwell upon.” Translation: I was young. These stories I’m expecting you to read made me barf, but hear you go anyway. It’s true there was something intangibly immature about “Entropy,” maybe that its themes were overstated, but word to word and line to line, this story killed. An excellent, thought-provoking read by a future star. From there Pynchon was only heading up, up. And away.
I read this in the Nethers.