The summer issue of Bookforum wrestles with Thomas Pynchon’s legacy, featuring a little help from folks like Don DeLillo, Jeffrey Eugenides, Lydia Davis, Richard Powers and Steve Erickson. A sampler is available here.
I’ve never been temperamentally disposed to conspiracy theories, and the darker preoccupations of Pynchon’s work weren’t what got to me. But great writers don’t only describe the past or the present; they predict the future. Pynchon’s estimate, back in 1973, of the path the postwar American imperium would take only seems more acute, valid, and prescient today that it did at the time. The things he was trying to teach me at twenty I’m only now beginning to learn, another life later.
Tangentially: the issue also features James Gibbons’ honest combo appraisal of William Vollmann’s Europe Central and Larry McCaffery/Michael Hemmingson’s Expelled from Eden: A William T. Vollmann Reader.