items from the nov 27 issue
I liked the "Guide to City Birds" and the "Cartoon IQ Test." I also liked the gift from my little brother, The New Yorker Book of Cartoon Puzzles and Games. I think they are getting progressively more challenging. I like seeing the older cartoons playing so nicely with the more recent ones.
I thought Menand on Against the Day was just bitter that he has to write history about America at the turn of the last century while TP gets to write flights of fiction. And I'm reading Against the Day, hope against hope, that it will have, somewhere deep in its heart, a tidy little mystery plot. Maybe Menand just missed it? I guess that's not very likely.
The thing about Pynchon, for me, is not just that he doesn't have real narrative structure, it's that he uses all the little lingusitic turns of phrase and so on that would imply a tight narrative structure. Like, it's just one "meanwhile" after the next. Tease. If I wanted to read plotless ramblings across the American mid-West 1890-1930 I'd read Marguerite Young's Miss MacIntosh, My Darling. Geez, now that I think of it, she probably does have an actual mystery buried in that novel, if I can ever read far enough to find it.