This is what passes for big news in the world of book trailers: when a video teaser for Thomas Pynchon’s mystery novel Inherent Vice hit the internet recently, the literati started buzzing. Could that possibly be the famous recluse Pynchon himself doing the voice-over? All anyone had to go on was an old Simpsons episode on which Pynchon “appeared” (albeit animated and wearing a bag over his head).
A voice identification expert (I told you this was big news) confirmed suspicions. Then, finally, Penguin confirmed the confirmation. All in all, a pretty handy bit of sleuthing for a book about sleuthing.
But what of the actual trailer? It’s 2:43 of rack-focus shots mainly of desolate beaches, rusty chain-links, and boring alleys, set to a Pynchon sounding a hell of a lot like his late-1960s, pill-popping, beach-bum “private gumshoe” Doc Sportello. “Y’know, it’s groovy,” he says as he waxes poetic about surfing and drugs, before asking you to buy the book for $27.95–wait. “27.95?! That used to be, like, three weeks of groceries, man.”
Verdict: Groovy. Not sure this is going to convert any nonbelievers, but Pynchon’s good-natured, conversational mumbling really impresses. Dude should record his own audio books, obviously.