Friday, February 09, 2007

Against the Blog: 3-11

Yes, I am aware that this blog has pretty much devolved into Tinsley with occasional bursts of Pynchon. Ricocheting from one side of the talent scale to the other, for sure. Maybe someday soon I'll do a random ten to spice things up.

Kit in Göttingen, where he meets Yashmeen. They flirt for a while. About math, of course. Kit scribbles down a supposed solution to the Riemann theorem that has Yashmeen so obsessed. To quote a previous Pynchon novel, the only real fucking is done on paper. But then, Kit's comical flatmates, Humfried and Gottlob, return, breaking up the romantic interlude. Yashmeen excuses herself by walking through a wall, to Kit's bemusement. Gottlob talks about a religious war that's going on between rival mathematical theorists.

The Russian Revolution of 1905 happens. At least now we can place events temporally. Albeit just for this section. Kit starts noticing Russians in town. We learn a bit about Yashmeen's background:

My parents were Russian. When we lived on the frontier, my family and I one day were taken in a raid and sold as slaves. Some time later, Major Halfcourt found in a bazaar in Waziristan and became my second father. (595)

She has become involved with "a wealthy coffee scion named Günther von Quassel" (596). He too uses math as a flirtation devise. This seems to be becoming one of the novel's major preoccupations.

Here's a paragraph that I find funny:

"As a crime," Humfried pointed out, "often of the gravest sort, committed in a detective story, may often be only a pretext for the posing and solution of some narrative puzzle, so romance in this town is often pursued as little beyond a pretext for running in and out of doors, not to mention up and down stairs, while talking nonstop and, on auspicious days, screaming." (597)

Finding Yashmeen at Kit's flat (not that they're actually having an affair), Günther has no choice but to challenge Kit to a duel. Every epic novel needs one!

There's a big ol' crowd to watch them, but they start arguing about some proof of Günther's (I'm having a hard time figuring out what this is, exactly), and the crowd gets bored and disperses. They end up not fighting.

Math! Math! Math! And I am SO done with this section.



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