Thursday, September 05, 2013

Escape to Minstrel Island

"Tom was lanky and unathletic, with protruding teeth that embarrassed him. He stuttered, too, and felt a kinship with Porky Pig. But that same friend ascribes some of ­Pynchon’s 'social behavior issues' to his 'very dysfunctional family'—without elaborating. Pynchon himself almost never talked about his parents, especially in his earlier years. But one afternoon in the mid-sixties, he and his then-girlfriend, Mary Ann Tharaldsen, were driving through Big Sur when she complained of nausea. She wanted to stop at a bar and have a shot to settle her stomach. According to Tharaldsen, he exploded, telling her he would not tolerate midday drinking. When she asked why, he told her he’d seen his mother, after drinking,  accidentally puncture his father’s eye with a clothespin. It was the only time, says Tharaldsen, who lived with him, that he ever mentioned his family. 'He was disconnected from them,' she says. 'There seems to have been something not good there.'"

Boris Kachka in New York traces the life and career of Thomas Pynchon.

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