And I am not even sure I can say I liked it. I didn't dislike it either. I liked it in the same sense I enjoy a grueling work-out.
However, we read difficult books because the author is trying very hard to write as well as a human can. We want to see someone pull that off. So despite my inability to describe the basic premise of the book, a decade on I was able to describe both of these images below to a co-worker the other day in casual conversation. There are moments in difficult books where the author, if he is a master, makes the trouble worth it, and creates an image that stays with you permanently. Here are two such moments. The context does not matter. All I will say is that the "she" mentioned is Oedipa Maas, the heroine (if there is a pun intended it is Pynchon's) of the novel and that she is driving through Southern California.
She drove into San Narciso on a Sunday, in a rented Impala. Nothing was happening. She looked down a slope, needing to squint for the sunlight, onto a vast sprawl of houses which had grown up all together, like a well-tended crop, from the dull brown earth; and she thought of the time she'd opened a transistor radio to replace a battery and seen her first printed circuit. The ordered swirl of houses and streets, from this high angle, sprang at her now with the same unexpected, astonishing clarity as the circuit card had. Though she knew even less about radios than about Southern Californians, there were to both outward patterns a hieroglyphic sense of concealed meaning, of an intent to communicate.
What the road really was, she fancied, was this hypodermic needle, inserted somewhere ahead into the vein of a freeway, a vein nourishing the mainliner L.A., keeping it happy, coherent, protected from pain, or whatever passes, with a city, for pain. But were Oedipa some single melted crystal of urban horse, L.A., really, would be no less turned on for her absence.