After attempting to read "Gravity's Rainbow" some years back, I'd given up on Thomas Pynchon.He'd fallen into that "difficult" category of authors whose work seemed to sail too far overhead to really enjoy. However, since I liked Paul Thomas Andersons' film adaptation of "Inherent Vice" so much, I tracked down the novel and was pleasantly surprised - yet totally flummoxed - by what I read. There's not so much a "plot" here as much as a determinedly surreal noir-esque labyrinth of faux-conspiracies,scams,trysts and coincidences that morph into an ineffable, highly enjoyable shaggy dog story. Set amidst the last days of 60's West Coast hippiedom, "Inherent Vice" is ostensibly a detective story - but unfurls into a frequently hilarious, mind-boggling spaghetti-junction of crimes and misdemeanours and smoky paranoias where the Man and the Dude play out the latest round of their eternal battle. You'll encounter militant black Guerillas, Aryan brotherhoods, hazy informants, corrupt cops, renegade saxophonists, hear rumours of smuggling stings run by malevolent dental cabals and encounter pothead gumshoes, goofs and low-lifes with classic Pynchon-esque monikers like Doc Sportello, Japonica Fenway, Mickey wolfmann and Sauncho Smilax !"Inherent Vice" is (allegedly !), Pynchon's most accessible book and well worth the trip.