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3. 'Inherent Vice'
Original rank: 3
Did we rank it too high or too low? In the world of "Inherent Vice," you can never be too high.
What took us by surprise: We figured PTA would make the book his own, but what's impressive is just how much of Pynchon's language it totally intact. Plus Katherine Waterston, who is one of the year's best surprises, and an actress we hope to see a lot more of.
- Drew McWeeny