I feel like a kid reporting, but with Labor Day passed I finally finished reading my big fiction book of the summer, Thomas Pynchon's _Against the Day_. I have long been a fan of his work (although I thought _Vineland_ was lousy), ever since I read his most famous work, _Gravity's Rainbow_ back in the mid-70s. This is his best since then, possibly better, and closest to it in themes. GR took place at the end of WW II with themes of technology and war. AtD starts at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893 and ends shortly after the end of WW I, with him clearly seeing WW I as what led to WW II. I think the day he is against is June 28, 1914, the day the Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo, setting off WW I, which he makes clear was a catastrophic even in world history and civilization. His theme of technology is driven deeper by a much more profound investigation of the intellectual roots of relativity theory and other ideas in physics that would underly the various horrors of the 20th century, with long disquisitions on the themes of light and time.
His political/economic stance is much clearer than in earlier books, with several of his major characters coming out of a family of anarchists from the western US at the end of the 19th century. He is very much concerned with class struggle issues, but frames them in terms of anarchism, making only the briefest of mentions of Lenin or Bolshevism, and unfavorably. There is also more character development in this novel, his longest at 1084 pages, and I suspect that he may have reacted against his critics on this matter, with many writing about him, and there even being an academic journal devoted to his works. But this book is a profound tour de force that I highly recommend, with much that resonates with our recent and current situations in terms of the deeper trends of world history and politics.