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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. Here's the marketing text.

"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.

On this site

It took us a few years but an Index to Against the Day has been finalised. As we have indexed over 14,700 items, subsets for the Index have been added, as well as many other options for a more detailed view. This index is part of a larger one in order to create an integrated index of Pynchon's works.

We have two articles by Charles Hollander: "Pynchon's Juvenilia and Against the Day", presented during the first conference on Against the Day, Tours, France: June, 1st, 2007, and "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. Monte Davis compiled in December 2006 an Against the Day: An Extended Table of Contents. Paul Nightingale read and commented on each section of the novel (2007-2010); all his comments are available on this site.

In the bibliography of secondary materials: browse to a collection of links, criticsm or all items.

Listen to this NY Times podcast, discussing Against The Day. Liesl Schillinger talks about Thomas Pynchon as an 'elegiac' author, with Against The Day influenced by modernist authors ranging from [especially] H.G. Wells to Saul Bellow.

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).

The All-Story, October 1908

Translations so far:

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


Graphics on this page

Frank G. Robinson. Science Fiction of the 20th Century: An Illustrated History. Barnes and Noble, New York: 1999. The first picture is from Frank Reade Weekly Magazine from March, 6, 1903: Six Weeks in the Clouds! (page 18), the second is The All-Story from October 1908 (page 20).