Why Don’t Women Read Pynchon?


By Carmen Comment

As the reviews continue to pile in for Thomas Pynchon‘s AGAINST THE DAY (with the NYTBR set to deliver its verdict next week, aka today if you subscribe to the early edition) there’s one thing that becomes all too clear: there’s not a woman to be found amongst the reviews as of yesterday evening (and today brings Michiko Kakutani‘s expected haterade, so it doesn’t really count), and if Donna Liquori at the Albany Times-Union is to be believed, then this shouldn’t come as a surprise. “It is, I’m afraid, a girl thing,” she declares about her ignorance of Pynchon until a chance encounter with two guys at a Halloween party put AGAINST THE DAY on her radar screen. She’d thought about buying his previous book, but MASON & DIXON “seemed too much of a sprawling adventure tale (read: too masculine) for myself.”

My first reaction was to label this a crock because Liquori manages to perpetuate shopworn stereotypes about what women tend to like or dislike while failing to put her thoughts in any perspective whatsoever, but then I go back to the reviews, look at the Pynchon fan sites and peruse the message boards and wonder where all the Pynchon-loving women are. They must exist, but where can they be found?