CHAPTER 7

The Italian wedding, and an archetypal musician's nightmare about the worst possible gig -- complete with heavies who'll kill you for not playing what you don't know how to play. This is primarily broad comedy until Prairie, in front of the bathroom mirror, meets Frenesi's old pal DL. DL turns out (somewhat coincidentally) to be Takeshi's partner -- only it's not coincidental at all. In paranoia (the base state of Pynchon's fiction--as well as Dickens'), people and events are always linked. The whole world is a connected web, and the hero is the only one who doesn't know it. It's either God's work (Dickens) or that of a sinister agency (Pynchon). It's also the secret integration that makes all novels (but particularly Pynchon's) both possible and necessary.,

In any case, DL has some kind of electronic device that senses the presence of Takeshi's business card (a slightly awkward and unbelievable detail here). The chapter concludes with DL singing "Floozy With an Uzi," a perfect intro for her character, as well as a marvelous goof.

 

p. 92 "The Wayvone estate..."    The description sets Wayvone's digs in Woodside or Atherton -- pricey suburbs down the peninsula from San Francisco.

p. 93 "Gelsomina, the baby"    Also the childlike heroine of Fellini's La Strada [1954].

p. 93 "ventunesimo"   Italian for 21st.

p. 94 "Testa puntita" = pointed head.

p. 95 "Lugares Altos" = high places.

p. 95 "Mr. Wayvone's compliments"    Two-Ton's deadpan delivery, and instructions to the band, constitute perfect movie-Mafia schtick.

p. 97 "Italian Wedding Fake Book by Deleuze & Guattari" If this book isn't real, it oughtta be. Fake books are collections of songs that provide basic chord changes for working musicians who need to play said tunes in a hurry--like on a gig. The auteurial attribution is a very sly academic joke. Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari are post-modernist philosophers best known for two esoteric volumes on capitalism and schizophrenia, originally written in French. Volume one was "Anti-Oedipus"; volume two was "A Thousand Plateaus." The breadth of Pynchon's learning really is amazing.

p. 99 "Suddenly she saw another reflection, one that might've been there for a while"   We'll soon learn about DL's prowess at the ninja arts, including the one of not being seen unless she wants to be.

p. 99 "...wearing a green party dress...athletic, even warriorlike..."   DL is described very much like Artemis/Diana, the Greek/Roman goddess and virgin huntress -- whose color is green.

p. 100 "Darryl Louise Chastain"    Even DL's last name, Chastain, is suggestive of chastity (as you'd expect in a virgin huntress), but "stained," imperfect. She's a flawed avatar, a preterite goddess.

p. 100 "Dumbo with that feather..."    The reference is to Disney's animated cartoon feature, Dumbo [1941]. The feather was a security symbol that gave the little elephant the confidence to fly when he clutched it in his trunk. (It is rumored that Dumbo is one of Pynchon's favorite movies.)

p. 101 "whatever story DL told...could never be the story she knew."   The first ominous hint of the events in Trasero County.

p. 101 "But DL only smiled back..."    That is, DL doesn't tell Prairie that she's too young to be so paranoid. In other words, paranoia is the correct response.

p. 102 "Shondra and the kids look wonderful"   The first (easy to miss) inkling of a connection between DL and Ralph Sr.

p. 103 "You think I'm one of those kids on Phil Donahue..."   That is, The Phil Donahue Show. Prairie (like most of America) is quick to define herself via a TV show.

p. 105 DL's car has features "not on the standard model."   More Pynchonian mysterioso. And it's a black Trans-Am! A b-a-a-d car, and the perfect ride for a would-be ninja.

p. 106 They depart "to the stately Neo-glasspack wind chorale, combustion shaped to music, varying as she shifted gears... blending finally into the ground hum of freeway traffic far below."  Pure poetry, and also an exemplary use of punctuation. Go, Pynchon, go! Glasspacks are the most popular straight-through hot-rod muffler replacements ever made. The fiberglass packing provides a slight muffling effect, but does not impede the all-important exhaust speed of combusted products. Sounds great, too.