I first read Mason & Dixon when I was 17. I read it but didn't follow it very well mainly because I didn't know enough about the era. Over the past 9 years, I've probably read the book once a year and each year I firm up more of my understand of colonial and revolutionary america, of Charles and Jeremiah and the people in their lives, about America itself.
As my understanding has grown I am amazed at the degree of accurate detail that Pynchon has shown. A good example is the scene where all the commisioners are talking about the vice of sugar and how people are unwilling to let go of something so tied to empire, well that seen takes place a few months after the sugar act. Everything in this book is accurately set in time, place, and history. and I love it.
I am very open to criticism and love cooperative discussion, so if I type anything that you really don't agree with, e-mail me at jordan-at-riseup-dot-net and I'll be happy to chat about it. I am amazed at the level of my own ingorance!
y'r ob'd'nt s'rv'nt