Many readers of Michael Wood’s review of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice [NYR, September 24] have written about Darshan Zenith’s Eternal Summer: A “Retired” Caddy Hearse Greets Daybreak at a Beach Surf Shop —the novel’s jacket art and the review’s illustration—to point out that the sun does not rise but sets over the Pacific Ocean. That would of course be true in Gordita Beach, the imaginary California town in which Inherent Vice is set, but according to the artist’s Web site (www .cruiserart.com), Zenith’s image was “created, printed and packaged on the Island of Maui,” in parts of which the sun does, in fact, rise over the Pacific. Eternal Summer was selected by Pynchon himself for the jacket, and its evocation of a beach surf shop fits the novel, even if its title doesn’t quite. But readers of Pynchon’s work who remember the beginning of The Crying of Lot 49, in which Oedipa Maas thinks of “a sunrise over the library slope at Cornell University that nobody out on it had seen because the slope faces west,” may also appreciate a certain irony in his choice.
The New York Review
December 3, 2009