Books

Unofficial Thomas Pynchon guide to L.A.

pynchonmap.jpgWired magazine's Mark Horowitz has created a Zee Maps-assisted guide to the Los Angeles locations in Thomas Pynchon's novels and real life, based on the presumption that "Pynchon, the paranoid poet of the information age, is LA's greatest writer." Horowitz is Wired's New York editor but used to be an editor at Los Angeles Magazine and a columnist for Buzz.

To be sure, Los Angeles—whose aerial view he likened to a printed circuit board—has always been central to the elusive writer's weird weltanschauung, his hallucinogenic stir-fry of Cold War hysteria, high tech anxiety, and low-brow pop-culture references. But did you know he actually lived there in the '60s and early '70s, while writing Gravity's Rainbow, the Moby-Dick of rocket-science novels? His latest effort, Inherent Vice, is an homage to those bygone days, plus something no one expected from the notoriously private author: a semiautobiographical romp.

Among the locations mapped I see the Topanga Canyon, Manhattan Beach, the Bradbury Building, Original Tommy's and Bel-Air: "Pynchon paid a well-documented visit to Beach Boys founder Brian Wilson, who resided here in the late '60s. The writer was a fan of the Pet Sounds album, but once they started smoking dope, he had very little to say."


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