by Thomas Pynchon


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Vineland, a zone of blessed anarchy in northern California, is the last refuge of hippiedom, a culture devastated by the sobriety epidemic, Reaganomics, and the Tube. Here, in an Orwellian 1984, Zoyd Wheeler and his daughter Prairie search for Prairie's long-lost mother, a Sixties radical who ran off with a narc. Vineland is vintage Pynchon, full of quasi-allegorical characters, elaborate unresolved subplots, corny songs ("Floozy with an Uzi"), movie spoofs (Pee-wee Herman in The Robert Musil Story), and illicit sex (including a macho variation on the infamous sportscar scene in V.).

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780517085844
Publisher: Random House Value Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date: 06/28/1992

About the Author

Thomas Pynchon is the author of V., The Crying of Lot 49Gravity’s RainbowSlow Learner, a collection of short stories, VinelandMason & DixonAgainst the Day, Inherent Vice, and Bleeding Edge. He received the National Book Award for Gravity’s Rainbow in 1974.


New York, New York

Date of Birth:

May 8, 1937

Place of Birth:

Glen Cove, Long Island, New York


B. A., Cornell University, 1958

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Vineland 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fun book to read if you just relax and have fun with the crazy story lines and whimsical language. Pynchon tends to switch back and forth between the present day and flashbacks frequently and seemingly without notice. But if you go with the flow and don't obsess too much about whether you are following each and every twist exactly, I think you will find this an enjoyable read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this gorgeous, modernist novel, Thomas Pynchon presents a portait of what is ruinous in America. Things are coming apart and Vineland is a chaotic land. When I started reading Martha Stout's 'The Myth of Sanity,' a book about trauma in another key, I said to myself, 'Here is a psychologist who is fascinated by the way her traumatized clients keep on living even after such trying experiences. Why don't people just give up?' 'Vineland' has a similar message: death and destruction have found their way into the texture of American life, but we must choose to continue with our lives. Zoyd Wheeler, a musician and construction worker, is the hero of the novel. The setting is the 1980's in California, though the time frame shifts. Life for Zoyd is a 'life sentence.' Zoyd is a down-and-out musician who performs media stunts in order to keep his disability checks. He lives in Vineland. He is mysteriously pursued by a DEA agent, Hector Zuniga. Among other things, Hector is trying to enlist Zoyd's assistance in locating his ex-wife, Frenesi Gates. Frenesi, later on, appears to become the novel's main character. Dr. Deeply, on the other hand, is pursuing Hector because of his Tubal, i.e. television, addiction and because he has escaped from the Tubal Detox Center. Get the picture? Zoyd and Frenesi have a daughter, Prairie, who leaves her father when Hector intensely closes in on him. I wanted the novel to continue with Zoyd's life because he is a fascinating character, what with his playful affection for Prairie and his hippie friends. But the modernist theme dictates otherwise. To develop the theme of the chaos, there are other lives to be concerned with, like the hotshot businessman, Takeshi that DL hooks up with. DL, Prairie's reflected sinful nature, and Prairie go to a semi-religious commune, 'Sisterhood of Kunoichi Attentives,' to stay. DL has lots to tell Prairie about her mother's past. Prairie also has an evil friend in her adolescence, named Che. Mr. Pynchon is emphasizing that Americans have resorted to an 'institution' mentality to find identity and a sense of common values in. Everyday life lacks stability. Mr. Pynchon deals primarily with the death and destruction that have taken over the American landscape. A college campus has become a battleground. There is a revolutionary atmosphere in Vineland. We meet a community of people, Thanatoids, who believe that life is death in action. Thanatoids do not have anything to do, they are purposeless. People aren't communicating anymore. Love isn't even helpful anymore. Man in America has lost touch with himself and his values. The character who represents the destructive principle is U.S. Attorney, Brock Vond, who pursues Frenesi and is her boyfriend. It is the government that has taken Zoyd's house at the end. In this moribund context, the media is central to the meaning of life. Frenesi is a film editor. The history of life is what is captured by the media. We learn of Frenesi's work with the 24fps Gang. As the Reality Principle, Life means, then, Frenesi's life. Frenesi has a recurring apocalyptic dream in which she does espy hope. It is by means of Frenesi's ancestors that Mr. Pynchon incorporates the respectable American tradition, or heritage, if you will. This past, as we know, is not without its troubles. Frenesi finds her life a game of meaningless time. She is pursued by Brock Vond, the destructive principle, so we can conclude that life is pretty perilous in Vineland. Vineland is an idyllic land that represents the America that dates all the way back to the time of the thirteen colonies. It is the novel's symbol of what is enduring and all-powerful for the American people, though death and destruction mar the landscape. Is there hope for redemption? Prairie embodies the novel's hope and sense of regeneration. Zoyd, first of all, feels responsibility toward Prairie. Prairi
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Vineland' is a great little novel. It was unfortunately overlooked,'cause fans and critics rightfully expected a book that was as good as 'Gravity's Rainbow' after the 17 year wait-'Vineland' is certainly not 'Gravity's Rainbow', so if you want a Pynchon novel that is 'Gravity's' equal then read 'Mason & Dixon' which is probably his best book! 'Vineland' is about something different, Pynchon lived in California while he was writing this book,so the palce he captured very well-but the story is very hard to follow,and dosen't really make sense until you've finished the whole book and you've taken some time to muse over it- The book is still a must, for a take on the 1980s which from its first page onward could have been written by only one person-Thomas Pynchon!
autumnesf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Follows a group of hippies that become informants...and those that don't. Good book.
TheBentley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
First, there were the beat poets. Then there was Kurt Vonnegut. And somewhere in the middle of them stands Thomas Pynchon. I don't think Vineland is as difficult to read as many people think it is. The real trick is that you have to read it FAST--and I don't mean you have to finish the book quickly. Read it for fifteen minutes a day if you want to, but for those fifteen minutes, just keep going with total concentration. Don't bother trying to find the subject of the sentence you just finished (it's somewhere a couple of paragraphs back anyway). And if you catch yourself saying, "Wait, I missed something. That didn't make sense," don't worry. You didn't miss anything. It really didn't make sense--not yet anyway. Pynchon is on a surf-board in drug-infested waters. You either have to ride the surfboard with him or get out of the water. Like the beat poets, Pynchon in Vineland is dark and angry and gleeful and absurd all at the same time--an approach that suits his subject matter (the cultivation and handling of snitches from the crushing of the 60's revolution through the war on drugs of the 80's) perfectly. If you don't like the beat poets and you don't like Kurt Vonnegut, don't bother with Vineland. It will probably just frustrate you. Personally, while I certainly didn't find the book life-changing, I found it bold, challenging, and completely unique--which earns it respect if not love.
grizzle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Parts of this dreamy book come back to me at the strangest times. The paranoia of the Nixon era wafts from the story like pot smoke. Somehow there is enough room to slip in blond amazon ninjas and mysterious japanese sea creatures in with a thoughtful layering of parallel histories.
vyode on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
1.50$ flawless 1st edition off amazon. see prices of other pynchon 1st eds...nearly every chapter introduces a scene, flashes back, & then rejoins itself...can't help but get the impression pynchon is thoroughly pissed off at television...
figre on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The first chapter or two will not prepare you for the rest of this book. Maybe it was because I had just finished books by Jasper Fforde and Christopher Moore (fine writers with a sense of humor and a touch of the absurd) that made me think that this would be a similar ¿romp¿. I mean, what can you expect when the book begins by talking about an ex-hippie who is afraid he will miss his appointment with the media so that the annual event of throwing himself through a store front window will hit the evening news? But, without losing that absurdity, without losing the feeling that you are enjoying every aspect and every story within this tale, the book moves from lightness to a density that sneaks up on you. This is not a quick summer read. This is a tale of stories within stories within stories where you have to pay attention, or you¿ll lose just who¿s talking about whom. (I didn¿t keep accurate count, but I would bet that, at one point, the book reached a fourth level of story within story, and still dug its way back out with satisfaction.) There is a touch of paranoia here, and that is to be expected when radicalism meets Nixonism and Reaganism. There is also a touch of absurd ¿ for example, female ninja-types killing with long deaths. There are complex characters ¿ ones you root for, but are not convinced you like. And the layers of story complexity mesh nicely with the complexity of characters and with the complex layers of society affecting those characters. Pay attention ¿ there is a lot going on here. But it is well worth the effort.
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Nick34 More than 1 year ago
It had been a while since I read any Pynchon so I decided to read Vineland before going into Inherent Vice. Vineland is a great book although it's hard for me to rank his books in any specific order. At times it can be difficult to follow, going into various flashbacks within flachbacks and then fastforwarding to the present. There are loads of Pynchon-esque references and humor laden character as well as situations. The setting of the book in California is described perfectly from Gordita Beach to Vineland. Read this book!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
It took 17 years to write a follow up to Gravity's Rainbow, and while most people were expecting the second coming, he burst unto the public with this small, yet extremely complex and satirical tale of a hippy trying to locate his daughter. Of course, in glorious Pynchon style, this is just a set-up for a story that satires everything and everyone involved in our commerically-saturated world. One of the best books of the 90's, and a necessary read for anyone fed up with the way things are going.