The Michigan Daily- Wednesday, April 25, 1990 - Page 11
r N THE SPOTLIGHT
Seventeen years after Gravity's
Rainbow landed, Thomas Pynchon,
the Grim Phoenix, has written an-
other novel. Vineland is the next
step in Pynchon's hopelessness, his
blackest comedy yet.
Vineland is about Frenesi Gates
and the people who are searching for
her: her daughter Prairie, her ex-hus-
band Zoyd Wheeler, her lovers DL
Chastain and Brock Vond. She is the
unreachable in this novel, Pynchon's
new V., new schwarzgerat, new
Tristero, except Frenesi is reached,
and nothing is there. Prairie has her
most meaningful reunion with her
dog, and the Quest in which every-
one takes part proves to be hollow.
The book is also about America.
Popular culture drenches Vineland,
from the odd reference to a TV sit-
com to the existence of the Tube as
a character. The Mafia are here, and
rock 'n' roll and Godzilla too
(almost). In Vineland, in fact, Pyn-
chon mines pop culture for metaphor
and imagery as thoroughly as he
mined science and technology in his
previous works. Rumors that he
spent the last decade or two smoking
pot and staring at the television set
may well be true, so accurate and
painful is his America.
Pynchon's style is coruscating
and dense, his sentences writhing on
the page, baroque boa constrictors.
This book is a long, hard read; it
must be studied diligently and lived
with, like all his works. His
strongest characters are women and
his most "endearing" or pitiful men,
as usual. There is a typical Pyncho-
nian soundtrack, the goofy songs
peppering the narrative like maggots
on a decaying corpse; Vineland
ought to have a flexi-disc in the cen-
ter of the book.
The conspiracies this time around
are more tenuous, less immediate.
Gone for the most part are the side
trips and bizarre history lessons real
and unreal, the peeks into dark
corners of the official story.
Vineland takes place in the world we
know, and there is no doubt of the
solidity of the backdrop. The
'60s/'80s storyline will even be ini-
tially comforting to the casual
reader. But the paranoia is there. Al-
Pynchon is America's greatest
living writer (and the first cyber-
punk, by the way), but Vineland is
not a good introduction to his work.
It is his bleakest book yet, and may
turn off the inquiring reader; either
V., his first, or The Crying Of Lot 49,
a short conspiracy novel, are good to
begin with. Gravity's Rainbow, one
of the five best novels of the century
and easily the best.American novel
in the same period, is a monolith,
encyclopedic fiction at its best, and
the reader who is prepared to give a
lot will be well rewarded. Vineland,
finally, is the latest turn in Pyn-
chon's Cycle, a new code, and a
damn fine book. It was worth the
The group Afrikan-American
Students in Design is presenting its
first show of Black student art today
through Monday at Trotter House,
1443 Washtenaw. An opening recep-
tion will be held tonight from 6:30
to 9:30 p.m. Refreshments will be
served, and entertainment will be
provided by Straight Ahead, a jazz
The Department of Film and
Video studies is screening student
works this Saturday at 7 p.m. in
Angell auditorium A. Filmmakers
from Film/Video 300 (Intro. to
Film), 301 (Intro. to Video) and 413
(The Avant-garde Film) will be fea-
tured. The works run the gamut from
documentary to narrative to experi-
mental to smut (but it's art!). Feel
free to wander in and out - it'll be a
For a good time, call (718) 387-6982
So, uh, They Might Be Giants dive on the Nectarine on Monday April 30.
The wacky twosome thrives on their musically offbeat view of life,
peppering their songs with usually mindless yet observant and profound
lyrics. Using accordion and guitar to create a catchy sound, TMBG have
fostered an accesible choice to normal alternative pop/rock. In support
of their recent release Flood, a relatively mature album, TMBG have
mellowed into seasoned professional rock 'n' roll vets. Doors open at 9
p.m. and tickets are available at Schoolkids for $10.50 and at the
Michigan Union Ticket Office for $10.50 plus the evil service charge.
In the dark?
We've got Hylights
Continued from page 10
iWe're really pleased overall with
the results. Gary and Steve Haigler,
the engineer, succeeded in tying quite
a diverse range of material into a co-
hesive sounding album, which was
the real problem with grave Words,
in that it's got quite a cross section
of material as well, but it never re-
ally sat as well as an album."
Phillipps thinks the Chills have
finally developed a truly stable
lineup, with this one, number 11,
xeing over a year old. "Jimmy joined
in late '88, and the lineup'sbeen
very stable. We're the band that
communicates the most out of any
Besides production quality, an-
other difference between Submarine
Bells and Brave Words is that the
songs for the latter had been sitting
around for a while. "We've finally
recorded an album that depicts us as
the band we are now, as opposed to
Brave Words, which is very much a
collection of older material," said
One more thing: New Zealand
bands tend to write lyrics that you
can't help but sing along with,
whether shrieking the Clean's
"Tally-Ho" or prancing along with
the "I love this imported German
beer" chorus from the Verlaines'
"Bird Dog." Granted, this shouldn't
be some Pogues kind of show with
drunken, uh, big guys shouting out
the lyrics and picking fights with
band members because the band isn't
playing their favorite songs. But
Submarine Bells does include a lyric
sheet, for your listening and sing-
THE CHILLS ice over the Blind Pig
tomorrow night with BLAKE BA-
BIES opening up. Cover is $8. Doors
open at 9:30.
UNITED JEWISH APPEAL
AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
is looking for responsible committed
Jewish students to chair/co-chair the
1990-91 campaign. The chairperson/co-
chairpersons of the U of M campaign
have the opportunity to go on a
SUBSIDIZED TRIP TO ISRAEL
during winter break. Interested persons
should call 769-0500 for more
information or to set up an interview.
AM. 1 _______________________________
NOTICE TO STUDENTS
CONCERNED ABOUT HOUSING:
AT UNIVERSITY TOWERS, WE HAVE TAKEN A LONG HARD LOOK AT
WHAT OFF-CAMPUS HOUSING OFFERS STUDENTS AT THE UNIVER-
SITY OFMICHIGAN. WE FEEL THAT WE HAVE DEVELOPED SOME VERY
PRACTICAL AND ATTRACTIVE IDEAS TO PROVIDE YOU THE MOST
CONVENIENT AND COMFORTABLE STUDENT HOUSING SETTING.
YOUR NEEDS HAVE BEEN TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT, RESULTING IN AN
ARRAY OF AMENITIES AVAILABLE TO RESIDENTS LOOKING FOR
QUALITY APARTMENT LIVING LOCATED WITHIN THE UNIVERSITY
OF MICHIGAN CENTRAL CAMPUS. WE OFFER SUCH CONVENIENCES
AS A STUDY LOUNGE, COMPUTER CENTER (TIED INTO MTS), EXER-
CISE FACILITIES AND AEROBICS, IN-HOUSE LAUNDRY, AND 24-
HOUR MAINTENANCE AND ATTENDED LOBBY FOR YOUR SECURITY.
IMPROVEMENTS FOR THE FALL WILL INCLUDE STORAGE FACILITIES
AND MAY INCLUDE A TRANSPORTATION VAN.
THE OPPORTUNITY TO CHOOSE AMONG NINE DIFFERENT FLOOR
PLANS ALLOWS YOU THE FLEXIBILITY TOMAKE THE IMPORTANT DE-
CISIONS FACING YOU IN THE HOUSING MARKET TODAY. WE HAVE
EFFICIENCIES, ONE, TWO, AND THREE BEDROOMS TO CHOOSE FROM.
WE ALSO OFFER 8 AND 12 MONTH LEASES (BEGINNING IN MAY OR
SEPTEMBER) TO CORRESPOND TO YOUR HOUSING NEEDS THROUGH-
OUT YOUR ACADEMIC SCHEDULE.
ALL OF THIS FOR RENTS STARTING AT $190 PER PERSON. LEASE WITH
A GROUP OF FRIENDS OR INDIVIDUALLY. WE ARE CLEARLY THE
MOST INTELLIGENT APARTMENT ALTERNATIVE ON CAMPUS.
k' / 'HfdJd RESTAURANT
"24 YEARS EXPERIENCE'
---CHEF JAN -
TOP GOLD MEDAL WINNER
OF DETROIT COBO HALL NATIONAL CONTEST
Sponsored by Michigan Restaurant Association
Michigan Chefs De Cuisine Association
BLUE RIBBON BEST CHEF AWARD
IN WASHINGTON D.C.
LUNCHEON SPECIAL, 11:30 A.M.-3 P.M
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