Now Everybody—

What if you could experience Thomas Pynchon as a Hank Williams song?


Thomas Pynchon's reputation as a "difficult" writer may be exaggerated—some of his shorter fictions are pretty accessible—but it isn't exactly undeserved. Books like V. and Gravity's Rainbow are rich, encyclopedic, and frequently funny works of anti-authoritarian literature, but they're also dense, complex, experimental, at times deliberately confusing, and prone to extended tangents. Pynchon's postmodern doorstops are about as far as you could get from the spare simplicity of a Hank Williams song.

But what if you could experience him as a Hank Williams song?

Pynchon has always been prone to inserting verses into his novels. With Now Everybody—, the alt-country band Visit has set a bunch of those ditties to music. The group experiments with different genres: There's a calypso number, a psychedelic rock song, some sound collages. But most of the tracks are country music, with loopy Pynchonian lines like "That hometown Vampire gang's/all Flashin their fangs/it can Do funny thangs/to your brain" backed by a moaning steel guitar.

That particular track—"Full Moon in Pisces," taken from Pynchon's lysergic detective novel Inherent Vice—has a melody that owes more than a little to Hank Williams' 1953 single "Weary Blues From Waitin'." And so help me, the combination works. As the song goes: "So what if it feels/A little head over heels/No big deal/you're not real-/ly insane."