The Crying of Lot 49 Library Binding – January 1, 2010
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"An American Duchess" by Caroline Fyffe
A woman’s heart dares to defy the rules of Victorian society in USA Today bestselling author Caroline Fyffe’s novel of romance, royalty, and a little revenge. | Learn more
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Frequently bought together
- Lexile Measure : 1060L
- Item Weight : 8 ounces
- ISBN-10 : 1606864602
- ISBN-13 : 978-1606864609
- Library Binding : 152 pages
- Product Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.1 inches
- Publisher : Perfection Learning (January 1, 2010)
- Language: : English
Best Sellers Rank:
#1,794,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #45,256 in Contemporary Literature & Fiction
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Even the names of the characters are sly satirical shots. This book raises satire to a whole new chaotic level. Everything means something basically that the author doesn't think much of anything and he's calling out all the bullshit in the world and man is there a lot of it. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this satirically chaotic book. If you like satire then you'll like this book.
Pynchon reveals anti-heroine Oedipa Maas as an adulteress on the novel's first pages, executor of the wealthy estate of a recently deceased ex-lover, Pierce Inverarity (How great are these names, by the way? All of Pynchon's choices for character names in this book are hysterically funny). Her journey from there is hilarious, surprising at every turn, chock full of conspiracy theory and peppered with meaningless sex and sexual advances. Oedipa's obsession with the mystery she believes Inverarity left behind for her to solve, that of an underground mail service called the Trystero, speaks to the boredom Pynchon assumes for the American upper class of his day, the longing for a purpose and constant uncertainty as to whether that purpose really means anything at all.
Here are three quotes where I feel Pynchon writes very directly with regard to American life:
"`I came,' [Oedipa] said, `hoping you could talk me out of a fantasy.'
`Cherish it!' cried Hilarius, fiercely. `What else do any of you have? Hold it tightly by its little tentacle, don't let the Freudians coax it away or the pharmacists poison it out of you. Whatever it is, hold it dear, for when you lose it you go over by that much to the others. You begin to cease to be.'" (page 113)
"You're chicken, she told herself, snapping her seat belt. This is America, you live in it, you let it happen." (page 123)
". . . maybe even [stumbled] onto a real alternative to the exitlessness, to the absence of surprise to life, that harrows the head of everybody American you know, and you too, sweetie." (page 141)
The Hilarius (another fantastic name, of course) quote from page 113 says to me that Pynchon feels we Americans need our fantasies, need an element of craziness in our lives because the easy life here isn't necessarily what people expect it to be. It's set up beautifully by Oedipa's desire at that moment to give up her search.
The quote from page 123, Oedipa talking to herself about what she should be able to do, how she should be able to affect outcomes and events, delineates an expectation so many Americans have that's, unfortunately, not always met with success.
The most powerful quote of the three, in my opinion, is the one from page 141. Whether Oedipa's mission was real or contrived, worthy or a waste of time, here she describes "everybody American" she knows as living with "exitlessness" and an "absence of surprise to life," and includes herself in that group. Through Oedipa and her adventure and her own conflicting opinions about it, Pynchon conveys a strong desire to break from quotidian life in the leisure class, a yearning for any sort of struggle but an uncertainty about that very yearning.
Part of what Pynchon writes in The Crying of Lot 49, in my opinion, presents random sex and infidelity as one answer attempted by people in Oedipa's shoes, the bored housewives and their working husband counterparts, and this purported solution comes up empty time and time again. Oedipa herself seems to realize this as the novel progresses, succumbing to seduction early on but then rejecting it and feeling disgusted by its perpetrators later. Surely a long essay could be written just about Pynchon's treatment of sex in this book, but this review is getting long, so I'll cut it off here.
I loved this book for all of its complexity, this review is just a few thoughts on one theme that stuck with me.
Top reviews from other countries
Feel like it's the sort of book that nobody can review objectively - I'd advise reading it at least once and seeing for yourself. But if you like reading, 'd highly recommend.