Against the Day is Pynchon’s longest and perhaps, his most ambitious novel. I found this to be the opposite of Gravity’s Rainbow. In place of nihilism and tales of death and destruction that are intricately woven into that text, Pynchon presents us with a brighter world in Against the Day. Although this novel is riddled with murder, revenge, and anarchism (to name a few) it is essentially a story about finding your place in this chaotic world, Against the Day, is without an end. While not all characters end up “happily ever after” they do find their place in the world. Both Against the Day and Gravity’s Rainbow end with a somewhat unresolved ending (GR ends mid-sentence), but GR ends with the death of everyone in that theatre, including you, the reader. In Against the Day, Pynchon ends his epic tome with this simple sentence, “They toward grace.”
Despite one of the blurbs on this book saying that this is easily one of Pynchon’s most accessible novel, I disagree, this novel is very ambitious, the scope of spanning multiple countries and decades. It is difficult to ascertain who the main characters in Against the Day are since there are times where the reader can go hundreds of pages without reading of a certain set of cast members. The prose here is not as dense and difficult as that of Gravity’s Rainbow I found myself only able to read 50 to 100 pages at a time.
Of the four main storylines in Against the Day, I found the most enjoyable ones to be of Frank and Reef, and of The Chums of Chance. This text will require revisitation, like with Pynchon’s other texts reading it for the first time is just practice. All in all, this was a fantastic novel, I didn’t enjoy it more than I Gravity’s Rainbow, nonetheless Against the Day was a fantastic novel.