Thomas Pynchon is like someone who talks to himself far too much and always in blustering major chords. As such he is rather exhausting. On the other hand about half of what he says is enthralling so at the end of the day he is worth the effort. There are dozens of radiant and exhilarating vignettes in Gravity’s Rainbow. I’ve just done the English sweets scene which was splendid though there’s the obligatory slipshod lack of editing: “his tongue a hopeless holocaust” – is that “hopeless” funny or just absurd? I think maybe it’s his vision which is his problem. For starters this, like the other book of his I’ve read, is rife with paranoia. There’s always this omnipresent ominous THEY out there – and as a result we have the feeling we’re being sold the bargain bin dualities of a Jehovah’s Witness. I think another problem is, he sets out by asking us to believe that this might be one of the greatest books ever written – which it patently isn’t. Once though one has recycled these misgivings there’s masses of excitement to be derived from his writing. He’s wonderfully like a motorist who takes no notice of the roads – and what fun it is to see him ploughing in reverse gear, with the windows rolled down, through people’s Sunday afternoon flower arrangements.