- Please keep these annotations SPOILER-FREE by not revealing information from later pages in the novel.
Page numbers refer to editions with 385 pages, where the story begins on page 3. Not sure if there are other editions with variant pagination. Please let us know otherwise.
"The Wayvone estate..."
The description sets Wayvone's digs in Woodside or Atherton -- pricey suburbs down the peninsula from San Francisco.
"Gelsomina, the baby"
Also the childlike heroine of director Federico Fellini's La Strada .
Italian for 21st.
Italian: pointed head.
Italian: high places.
"Mr. Wayvone's compliments"
Two-Ton's deadpan delivery, and instructions to the band, constitute perfect movie-Mafia schtick.
"Italian Wedding Fake Book by Deleuze & Guattari"
If this book isn't real, it oughtta be. Fake books are collections of songs that provide basic chord changes for working musicians who need to play said tunes in a hurry like on a gig. The auteurial attribution is a very sly academic joke. Gilles Deleuze (1925-1995) and Felix Guattari (1930-1992) were post-modernist philosophers best known for two esoteric volumes on capitalism and schizophrenia, originally written in French. Volume one was Anti-Oedipus; volume two was A Thousand Plateaus.
"Suddenly she saw another reflection, one that might've been there for a while"
We'll soon learn about DL's prowess at the ninja arts, including the one of not being seen unless she wants to be.
"...wearing a green party dress...athletic, even warriorlike..."
DL is described very much like Artemis/Diana, the Greek/Roman goddess and virgin huntress whose color is green.
"Darryl Louise Chastain"
Even DL's last name, Chastain, is suggestive of chastity (as you'd expect in a virgin huntress), but "stained," imperfect. She's a flawed avatar, a preterite goddess.
"Dumbo with that feather..."
The reference is to Disney's animated cartoon feature, Dumbo . The feather was a security symbol that gave the little elephant the confidence to fly when he clutched it in his trunk. (It is rumored that Dumbo is one of Pynchon's favorite movies. Dumbo also appears in Gravity's Rainbow.)
"whatever story DL told...could never be the story she knew."
The first ominous hint of the events in Trasero County.
"But DL only smiled back..."
That is, DL doesn't tell Prairie that she's too young to be so paranoid. In other words, paranoia is the correct response.
"Shondra and the kids look wonderful"
The first (easy to miss) inkling of a connection between DL and Ralph Sr.
"You think I'm one of those kids on Phil Donahue..."
That is, The Phil Donahue Show. Prairie (like most of America) is quick to define herself via a TV show.
DL's car has features "not on the standard model."
More Pynchonian mysterioso. And it's a black Trans-Am! A b-a-a-d car, and the perfect ride for a would-be ninja.
They depart "to the stately Neo-glasspack wind chorale, combustion shaped to music, varying as she shifted gears... blending finally into the ground hum of freeway traffic far below."
Pure poetry, and also an exemplary use of punctuation. Go, Pynchon, go! Glasspacks are the most popular straight-through hot-rod muffler replacements ever made. The fiberglass packing provides a slight muffling effect, but does not impede the all-important exhaust speed of combusted products. Sounds great, too.