7. Throughout the book, there is a wonderful series of disgruntled and disaffected waiters and waitresses, usually describing in great detail the shortcomings of the dishes they are about to serve. Also there is a series of interior spaces which are described, in various different ways, as being larger than you would expect from the outside.
8. There's another series, too. V is V. Gravity's Rainbow is clearly V-2. If we consider Vineland to be, for the purpose of argument, V #3, then Inherent Vice would be #4. In Roman numerals, "IV." Which happens to be the initials of "Inherent Vice." Coincidence?
9. As my father always said, anybody can write a good first act, the trick is to be able to write a good third act. My overall feeling about each of Thomas Pynchon's novels is really based on two things. One: Did I manage to finish the thing? Two: How does it end?
V. (1963) is a complete pleasure. It has a great ending.
I need to re-read The Crying of Lot 49 (1966). It's been too long. (Later: I did re-read it, and I wrote about it here.)
Gravity's Rainbow (1973) is a "great book," winner of this and that award, etc., etc. It has many great parts, but I have never liked the ending. I've read defenses of the ending, but they have never convinced me.
Vineland (1990) is okay, but I didn't care for the ending. I've only read it once, though. (Later: I re-read this one, too, and I wrote about it here.)
Mason & Dixon (1997) is a complete pleasure. It has a great beginning, middle and end. Harold Bloom (according to wikipedia), "has hailed the novel as Pynchon's 'masterpiece to date.'" Which I would agree with (whether or not he actually said it).
Against the Day (2006) failed test #1. I didn't make it past page 200 or so. Maybe I'll try again some day. I vaguely remember I had to start Gravity's Rainbow a few times before I got a good momentum going.
Inherent Vice (2009) has a wonderful ending. Just about two pages, great writing, sentence after sentence, and very moving.