Thomas Pynchon’s playlist

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Thomas Pynchon’s ‘Inherent Vice’ went on sale last week, and while he’s not doing the publicity promo some authors might -- no ‘Today Show’ appearances, no interview on ‘Fresh Air’ -- the reclusive author has given Amazon a playlist for his latest novel.

The book’s protagonist, Larry ‘Doc’ Sportello, hears a lot of surf music as he cruises through 1970 Southern California. So don’t be surprised that three of his 43 picks are by the Beach Boys (above, in 1963, performing at the Hollywood Bowl).


The list is presented straightforwardly, with links to songs that can be bought on the site, as MP3s or in full-length CDs. Some of the entries don’t have any links, which would make sense for long-lost surf bands. Or if they didn’t exist at all, except in Pynchon’s books. Like the band Beer: Doc Sportello’s nephew Scott Oof plays in it; later he appears in ‘Vineland.’ And then there’s a hypothetical track by Doc himself: ‘Skyful of Hearts.’

Some have speculated that Pynchon’s voice has made an appearance to promote the new book. Not in song, but as the narrator of a promo video for the book -- it’s after the jump. Maybe it is Pynchon, but to me it sounds more like Tommy Chong.

-- Carolyn Kellogg