Mapping Inherent Vice

About the Book

[The video embedded above is the official “book trailer” for Inherent Vice; it sets the mood for the book, and the voice-over narration — which describes the setting and the main character — is provided by Pynchon himself.]

Inherent Vice is the seventh novel by legendary American author Thomas Pynchon. First published in 2009 by Penguin, this book is a loopy, postmodern detective story set at the tail end of the mythical 1960s in southern California. The protagonist is Doc Sportello, a dope-addled private detective who stumbles his way into a complex, labyrinthine set of cases and a vast conspiracy. This premise allows Pynchon to riff on the detective genre as well as on American culture of the sixties and beyond.


Here are links to reviews of Inherent Vice that I have selected as being of particular interest:

Sam Anderson, New York Magazine 

Richard Eder, Boston Globe

Zack Handlen, The AV Club

Sean Howe, Entertainment Weekly

Walter Kirn, New York Times Book Review

Bret McCabe, Baltimore City Paper

Laura Miller, Salon


Another useful resource for Inherent Vice — indeed, for any of Pynchon’s novels — is the Pynchon Wiki. This site provides page-by-page annotations to Inherent Vice, which help to unpack the many obscure allusions and jokes for which Pynchon is known.


Order Inherent Vice on Amazon

• Add Inherent Vice on GoodReads

• Find library copies of Inherent Vice on WorldCat


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