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Against the Day

21 November 2006

Pynchon's 6th novel was published on November, 21st, 2006 by Viking Penguin Press. Over 1,000 pages, containing hundreds of characters, with numerous settings and ranging between the 1890s and the end of World War 1, the novel receives mixed reviews initially; appreciation is growing over the years.

The novel starts and ends in the Sky. Translations:

  1. Gegen den Tag. Tr. Nikolaus Stingl and Dirk van Gunsteren. Rowohlt: 2008. German.
  2. Contre-Jour. Tr. Claro. Seuil: 2008. French.
  3. Contro il giorno. Tr. Massimo Bocchiola. Rizzoli: 2009. Italian.
  4. Contraluz. Tr. Vicente Campos, Tusquets: 2010. Spanish.
  5. A Contrallum. Tr. Iñaki Tofiño and David Cañadas. Amsterdam Libres: 2010. Catalan.
  6. Ενάντια στη Μέρα. Tr. Giorgos Kyriasis. Kastaniotis: 2009. Greek.
  7. 逆光. 上 / (Gyakko Vol. 1) and 逆光. 下 /. (Gyakko Vol. 2). Tr. Yoshihiko Kihara. Shinchosha: 2009. Japanese.

Against the Day, as audio book, has been published by Tantor and is narrated by Dick Hill: 2006.

"Watches and clocks are fine, don't mistake my meaning, but they are a sort of acknowledgement of failure, they're there to glorify and celebrate one particular sort of time, the tickwise passage of time in one direction only and no going back."

Thomas Pynchon, Against the Day, pp. 456-457.
The All-Story, October 1908
Excerpt from Criticism

"Although the narrative ends literally in the air, it has, unlike Pynchon's previous novels, a more complete sense of an ending. Despite the catalogue of problems encountered in the world of the text, this novel does not end as Gravity's Rainbow did with the disintegration of Tyrone Slothrop and an impending nuclear apocalypse. Nor does it close with the random accidental death of Sidney Stencil as in V., or at a nihilistic auction room like Oedipa Maas awaiting The Crying of Lot 49. Pynchon appears to have put some faith in the power of family to find a way through —a faith that first surfaced in Vineland and was reiterated as a sub-theme in Mason & Dixon. We know that the 1920s, when Against the Day ends, was only a prosperous calm before the storm of The Depression and of World War II, but for the characters we have come to care for in this text, the skies have cleared and the wind has freshened."

Bernard Duijfhuizen. "'The Exact Degree of Fictitiousness': Thomas Pynchon's Against The Day." Postmodern Culture 17.2 (January 2007): 20 pars. Complete review (text-based version).

Let the reader decide, let the reader beware. Good luck.

On this site

  1. Charles Hollander. "Pynchon's Juvenilia and Against the Day", presented during the first conference on Against the Day, Tours, France: June, 1st, 2007
  2. Charles Hollander. "Pynchon, Satire and the Moral Instinct: Globalization Invites Global Satire", presented during Against the Grain: Reading Pynchon's Counternarratives , Munich, Germany: June 10-14 2008
  3. Monte Davis. Against the Day: An Extended Table of Contents. (December 2006)
  4. Paul Nightingale. Against the Day, a section by section reading (2007-2010).
  5. A short radio broadcast [mp3]
  6. In the bibliography of secondary materials:
    1. Against the Day: links
    2. Against the Day: criticsm
    3. Against the Day: all items
  7. Most of the abstracts of the papers presented during Against the Grain are available.
  8. A comparison between the marketing text on Amazon and the actual text in the inside cover.

Elsewhere

  1. Tim Ware's [et alii] Pynchonwiki on Against the Day.
  2. Otto Sell's weblinks: in href="http://www.ottosell.de/pynchon/atdlinks2.htm">German and English, as well as Otto's scene guide.
  3. Chumps of Choice: a blogged reading of Against the Day.
  4. Matt Mc Laurine's Concordance of Characters in Against the Day (Excel spreadsheet).
Graphics on this page
  1. Frank G. Robinson. Science Fiction of the 20th Century: An Illustrated History. Barnes and Noble, New York: 1999.
    1. Frank Reade Weekly Magazine from March, 6, 1903: Six Weeks in the Clouds! (page 18)
    2. The All-Story from October 1908 (page 20)