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The Crying of Lot 49 (Perennial Fiction Library) Paperback – November 7, 2006
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"The comedy crackles, the puns pop the satire explodes." -- -- New York Times
"The work of a virtuoso with prose.intricate symbolic order [is] akin to that of Joyce's Ulysses." -- -- Chicago Tribune
"A puzzle, an intrigue, a literary and historical tour de force with a strongly European flavor." -- San Francisco Examiner
"The comedy crackles, the puns pop the satire explodes." -- New York Times
"The work of a virtuoso with prose.intricate symbolic order [is] akin to that of Joyce's Ulysses." --Chicago Tribune --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From the Back Cover
The Crying of Lot 49 is Thomas Pynchon's classic satire of modern America, about Oedipa Maas, a woman who finds herself enmeshed in what would appear to be an international conspiracy.
When her ex-lover, wealthy real-estate tycoon Pierce Inverarity, dies and designates her the coexecutor of his estate, California housewife Oedipa Maas is thrust into a paranoid mystery of metaphors, symbols, and the United States Postal Service. Traveling across Southern California, she meets some extremely interesting characters, and attains a not inconsiderable amount of self-knowledge.--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
The protagonist is a woman named Oedipa Maas who, when the novel begins, learns that her former boyfriend, the wealthy Pierce Inverarity, has died and designated her to be the executor of his enormous estate. Inverarity's assets include vast stretches of property, a significant stamp collection, and many shares in an aerospace corporation called Yoyodyne. As Oedipa goes through her late boyfriend's will, aided by a lawyer named Metzger who works for Inverarity's law firm, she learns about a series of secret societies and strange groups of people involved in a sort of renegade postal system called Tristero. She starts seeing ubiquitous cryptic diagrams of a simple horn, a symbol with a seemingly infinite number of meanings. Every clue she uncovers about Tristero and the horn leads haphazardly to another, like a brainstorm, or a free association of ideas.
This is a novel that demands analysis but defies explanation. My initial interpretation was that it's an anarchistic satire of the military-industrial-government complex, but it's deeper than that.Read more ›
I thought it was great. Really great, actually. His writing style strikes me as very similar to a number of his contemporaries (Robert Stone, DeLillo, etc.). The central riddle of the book and the mixing of obscure historical fact and fiction reminded me strongly of authors like Borges.
With regard to some of the negative reviews below I would say the following:
1. I consider myself a pretty typical reader and I did not find this to be a particularly challenging book to read, although Pynchon's style (punctuation-sparse and prone to occasional lapses into heavy factual detail) takes some getting used to.
2. This is not a "neat" story in the conventional sense. There isn't a tidy conclusion to the story and there isn't a "typical" character development arc. But so what? I don't think either of those things are a necessary requirement to good fiction.
The deliberately silly-sounding character names should be the first clue that Pynchon does not intend this to be a conventional work of fiction. It isn't. But that doesn't mean it's not a great book.
The book is clever, well-written, and confounding with its plot twists and turns. That's what made it a fascinating read and that's also what makes it the kind of book that I think I could read over and over again and not get bored. I think I'll always find something new that I didn't see before.
Isn't that what makes a book enjoyable to read in the first place?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was my first Thomas Pynchon novel and it took me a little while to figure out what was going on as it did Oedipa, the protagonist in the novel. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Snar
Wonky beautiful post-modern ramblings and a captivating story that really gets your brain working. While I read this book I thought about it basically all the time. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Kindle Customer
Great introduction to Pynchon's dense and challenging work. Witty, humorous, electric, I couldn't put this book down.Published 1 month ago by SGM
I am really picky when it comes to reading. This novel just did not do it for me.Published 3 months ago by meowthsmile
Oedipa Maas is made executor of the late Pierce Inverarity's estate , which seems to be involved in every business and affairs of San Narcisco. Read morePublished 3 months ago by An admirer of Saul
This is a classic I wish I'd read sooner.
Capturing a dystopian future (or past?) and reading much faster than 1984 I found this story to be engaging and... Read more
I was actually really surprised by this book. I didn't think I'd like it, but I really did!Published 4 months ago by Ruzzel