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“Compare and Contrast” goes to a new level

I suppose one has to do something different to review Thomas Pynchon‘s AGAINST THE DAY since it’s such an imaginative book that taxes your brain in a good way (she says, 50 pages in.) But TIME’s Richard Locayo takes a decidedly unusual tack by, well, comparing the book to his toaster:

At 3 lbs. 6 oz., Against the Day weighs just 3 oz. less than my toaster. But my toaster doesn’t offer the tantalizing music of Pynchon’s voice, with its shifts from comic shtick to heartbroken threnody, its mordant Faulkneresque interludes, its gusts of lyric melancholy blown in by way of F. Scott Fitzgerald, its ecstatic perorations from Jack Kerouac. And my toaster will never lay before me a vision of a world in which technology is stripping away all the ancient, vital magic while shepherding mankind to the brink of destruction. On the other hand, my toaster makes toast, and nothing quite so graspable ever pops out of this predictably bewitching, predictably bewildering book.

Richard Lea at the Guardian blog, who linked to this first, wonders if this and PW’s starred review will get them slapped wrists for breaking the embargo. Uh, no. If that was the case, finished copies wouldn’t have gone out weeks ago to all manner of interested parties. But the “eagerly anticipated” book by another Thomas – Harris – does come with strings attached in the form of a non-disclosure agreement, which implies that people actually care what’s inside the book…

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