So it turns out that Thomas Pynchon really does sound like The Dude from The Big Lebowski. Tracy Locke of The Penguin Press confirms that the reclusive author narrates the trailer for his new book, Inherent Vice, which we wrote about on Shelf Life yesterday. Of course, Simpsons fans might have recognized the voice from Pynchon’s memorable guest appearance — with a paper bag over his head — in a 2004 episode of the long-running Fox series. (In fact, the Wall Street Journal went so far as to send the Simpsons clip and a Pynchon-voiced German TV spot to a Michigan-based sound engineer and voice identification expert to help prove it’s Pynchon on the trailer.)
Although the text of the trailer’s voiceover is not from Inherent Vice, Locke says that Pynchon composed it himself. The trailer seems to channel the voice of the book’s hero, a stoner private eye in ’70s L.A. named Doc Sportello. Now the real question is: Does Pynchon also look like The Dude?