A way shorter, funnier, zanier less pretentious version of Foucault's Pendulum, only written twenty years earlier. In some ways anyway (in terms of theme, not plot). This is not Gravity's Rainbow but it's still better than most of the novels of the twentieth century. In some ways Pynchon is like an intellectual, neutral Vonnegut, who has somehow managed to convince you that you're not reading science fiction. I don't think these statements actually mean anything but they are the only way I can even compare him to other novelists. Funnier than Vonnegut? Smarter than Eco? At least more aware of the course of modern literature (not mere fiction, literature) than Eco. I can't put it into words. I either lack the vocabulary or I lack the desire to use literary critic nonsense to express myself. One or the other. Oh yeah, what an ending. One of those last few pages wows that really stay with you after you've finished.