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Next Up: The Crying Of Lot 49

Hello Thomas Pynchon. It’s been awhile.

I read The Crying of Lot 49 back in college, but that was many, many years ago—back when you could ride on airplanes without having to take off your shoes in the security line.

I’m looking forward to reading this one again, as I remember it to be a clever novel. I loved Pynchon’s style. Plus, The Crying Of Lot 49 is very short—only 150 pages!

The story couldn’t seem more boring—it’s about an old rivalry between two mail carriers. But that’s the beauty of this novella.

So here’s a little info about The Crying Of Lot 49 and its author, Thomas Pynchon:

  • The book was published in 1966 and is cited as one of the most well-known examples of post-modern fiction. Also, though, the book has been called a parody of post-modernism. Which one is it?
  • The Crying of Lot 49 has influenced everyone from Radiohead to William Gibson to the writers for the television shows Mad Men and Parks and Recreation. Pop culture is full of references and nods to this book.
  • The book was Pynchon’s second novel/novella. One of his other novels, Gravity’s Rainbow, is also on the Time list, but I haven’t got to it yet.
  • Pynchon attended college at Cornell and was in one of Vladimir Nabokov’s Literature 312 classes. How cool is that?
  • Pynchon, currently 76 years old, is extremely private. He’s had little contact with the media for over forty years, and few photos of him are known to exist. He currently lives in New York City, according to the Atlantic Wire. More to come on this.

Pynchon was said to have a heavy influence on David Foster Wallace, so it will be interesting to see those similarities as I read this novel.

Any thoughts on Pynchon and/or The Crying Of Lot 49?

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11 Comments Post a comment
  1. I read Mason & Dixon and just found it mind-numbingly boring and overlong. I’ve avoided anything else by him since. Looking forward to reading your thoughts on this one

    Like

    June 26, 2013
  2. dragosilca #

    Indeed, the length of the novella is small; however, that must not be a standard for a “light” reading. I really liked the concept of “entropy” throughout the novel with everything being in a constant state of agitation.

    Also, this is “the” example of postmodern literature (although Don DeLillo’s White Noise is catching up really fast), so I’m tending to choose the first option. Central to “The Crying of Lot 49” is the meta-discourse & meta-narrative. As well, the proliferation of symbols is another trademark of the postmodern condition.

    Sorry for being a bit carried away. Very nice post on the Pynchon’s book; it really captured all that it is essential, as well as attention-grabbing.

    Like

    June 26, 2013
  3. Only 150 pages? That’s great. Might try to tackle it this year too.

    I loved Vineland. I went in knowing very little about Pynchon and post modernism, and the book just blew me away.

    Have you heard much about his new book? I think a lot of people thought he was dead, because you never hear about him, them BAM, new book.

    Like

    June 26, 2013
  4. Reblogged this on Dont Ask Me I’m No Expert and commented:
    This looks like a good read.

    Like

    June 26, 2013
  5. Teresa #

    This is one of my favorite books on the list. Can’t wait to see your reactions to a second reading. I plan to retread it with you. One thing I really enjoyed was his documentation of the 1960s. I knew the characters and the way that they viewed life. He really got the subculture.

    Like

    June 26, 2013
  6. Brady #

    The book is amazing if taken objectively. I did a report on in for a class and hope you have an easier time then I had explaining it.

    Like

    June 26, 2013
  7. allisonschulz #

    Make sure you look up the Remedios Varo and other nods

    Like

    June 26, 2013
  8. Ooooooooh I read that one a while ago! I remember enjoying it too once it got going.

    Like

    June 26, 2013
  9. Reblogged this on techbeautyblog.

    Like

    June 27, 2013
  10. I loved it and read it at around the same time as Joan Didion and I wanted to write something on fear and paranoia in California in the late 60s/early 70s… but haven’t done it yet. Will hope to do so soon!

    Like

    June 27, 2013
  11. My thoughts?

    You sold me at Mad Men. But then you said he’s been out of contact, and you really had me. On the list.

    Like

    June 29, 2013

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