On my way home from the Kx Systems conference in County Clare, Ireland, with Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow a thick brick in my hand-baggage. It seems I’ve decided to reread it in preparation for similarly long but far-more-rambling Against the Day, awaiting me at home. Here are characters Roger and Jessica, nesting in south London, resisting the Home Front’s intrusion into every corner of life. (Compare our own lovely ‘War on Terror’, endless absorber of outrages.)
If they have not quite seceded from war’s state, at least they’ve found the beginnings of gentle withdrawal… there’s never been the space or time to talk about it, and perhaps no need – but both know, clearly, it’s better together, snuggled in, than back out in the paper, fires, khaki, steel of the Home Front. That, indeed, the Home Front is something of a fiction and lie, designed, not too subtly, to draw them apart, to subvert love in favour of work, abstraction, required pain, bitter death.
They have found a house in the stay-away zone, under the barrage balloons south of London. The town, evacuated in ’40, is still ‘regulated’ – still on the Ministry’s list. […] It is marginal, hungry, chilly – most times they’re too paranoid to risk a fire – but it’s something they want to keep, so much that to keep it they will take on more than propaganda has ever asked them for. They are in love. Fuck the war.
From Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon