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The Crying of Lot 49 (Perennial Fiction…

The Crying of Lot 49 (Perennial Fiction Library) (original 1966; edition 2006)

by Thomas Pynchon

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7,476116462 (3.75)301
Title:The Crying of Lot 49 (Perennial Fiction Library)
Authors:Thomas Pynchon
Info:Harper Perennial (2006), Paperback, 192 pages
Collections:Novels, Your library
Tags:American Literature, 20th Century, Fiction, Postmodernism

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The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon (1966)


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English (111)  Italian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All languages (115)
Showing 1-5 of 111 (next | show all)
A perfect example and parody of post-modernism, this is one of easiest to "get" of Pynchon's works: it's quite short and the plot isn't as convoluted and dense as say Gravity's Rainbow or V. However, that isn't to say it's easy-going, the characters are eccentric and the mystery is not solved, leaving the reader on a cliff-hanger right at the end. Nevertheless, it's still an entertaining and interesting read. ( )
  xuebi | May 30, 2014 |
I went back to CoL49 after 30 years asking, what resonates in me with Pynchon? Maybe his idea that to understand America (or Western Civ, if you like), you have two choices—there’s interconnection at the highest level and it’s toxic, based entirely in unending, mostly secret struggles for power, or there’s no connection at all, and you are surrounded by a banal history of slaughter that produced an incoherent world full of creepy simulacra, unhappy shadow people, and dead junk. Nice choice. But it wouldn’t just be the defensible thesis that makes it compelling, it’s the fact that Pynchon creates this epistemologically unstable world in such detail, lets you know from Word One it’s a creation (as opposed to a simulacrum, something that merely imitates), telegraphs that to you with every goofy name and complex pun, every absurd plot device, every exuberant and elaborate scene of slapstick, with the sometimes labyrinthine syntax and the fancy vocabulary, and yet his world rarely seems thin or labored. He makes it a place you can and want to move around in, in four dimensions, even though it’s Only Words. There are fundamental ideas in contest here—remember those? Like Joyce, Pynchon assumes you are smart enough to follow along, not because you’re one of the elite, but because you are human, like him. He rewards you with insight, with craftsmanship. It’s not condescending.

If you stick with the ride, in later Pynchon, in the masterpiece Against the Day, there’s another choice besides those two dismal ones on offer in CoL49. That light, a physical property of the universe, connects us all, and everything that is, and persistence and imagination offer us the possibility of grace.
( )
  CSRodgers | May 3, 2014 |
Not too far into this book, I found myself thinking, "What is going on here?" Not in the general, what-is-the-author-doing-here sort of sense, but in the what-on-earth-am-I-actually-reading sense. The story seems simple enough: Oedipa Maas is named co-executor of the will of a past boyfriend. She goes to the town where he lived, and where he has very successfully had a hand in just about every business and housing development. Odd signs begin to appear, and they all seem to be linked together. Is there some sort of conspiracy going on, and if so, why? If not, is Oedipa losing her mind or is someone driving her to it?

The thing I found most interesting about the book is how it did the literary equivalent of breaking the fourth wall. At some point, I started thinking that I should maybe be taking notes on the various names, organizations and relationships. You know, just to keep them straight. And then maybe to start drawing lines between the connected things and people. And then to try to add up which things seemed plausible and which seemed unlikely, who seemed to be lying, who could be at the bottom of all of it .... In other words, I was drawn into the conspiracy theory thinking to such a degree that I was contemplating making one of my own crazy-person diagrams like some obsessed person you see in the movies. And that made me laugh, because I had been thinking that the book wasn't that engaging, even as it was threatening to engage me in the real world to a larger degree than most other books ever would. Clever, Mr. Pynchon, clever.

My verdict: an intriguing, although not very satisfying book. More psychological experiment than enjoyable read.

Recommended for: documentary-watchers, House of Leaves fans.

Quote: "Oedipa, perverse, had stood in front of the painting and cried. No one had noticed; she wore dark green bubble shades. For a moment she'd wondered if the seal around her sockets were tight enough to allow the tears simply to go on and fill up the entire lens space and never dry. She could carry the sadness of this moment with her that way forever, see the world refracted through those tears, those specific tears, as if indices as yet unfound varied in important ways from cry to cry." ( )
  ursula | Apr 4, 2014 |
Did not catch me, put down quickly, not finished.
  ohernaes | Feb 8, 2014 |
St. Bart's 2014 #8 - My second off-kilter book of this vacation...a rather bizarre tale of worldwide postal turf battles lasting for many centuries (yes, that is exactly what I said), the estate of a wealthy philatelist, and a former mistress's efforts to settle his estate. Points for clever characters popping up on a regular basis, and points taken away for long philosophical ramblings about things that I was never able to care about, mainly because I could not follow what we were talking about.....again, I read for pleasure....if the symbolism and cleverness is buried so deep that I cannot find it, a 2.5 is your best hope. My only consolation is that I have always been intrigued by this title for years and I know now what it means.....I will tread cautiously with the remaining Pynchon on my shelf. ( )
  jeffome | Jan 24, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thomas Pynchonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Albahari, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Albahari, DavidAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Angell, OlavTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bocchiola, MassimoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chalupský, RudolfTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Doury, MichelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jeffs, NikolaiForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jonkers, RonaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kim, Sang-guTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lundgren, CajTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moya, Antonio-PrometeoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Petersen, Arne HerløvTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Potokar, JureTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shimura, MasaoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shorer, ʻIditTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Siemion, PiotrTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Teichmann, WulfTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Valkonen, TeroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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One summer afternoon Mrs Oedipa Maas came home from a Tupperware party whose hostess had put perhaps too much kirsch in the fondue to find that she, Oedipa, had been named executor, or she supposed executrix, of the estate of one Pierce Inverarity, a California real estate mogul who had once lost two million dollars in his spare time but still had assets numerous and tangled enough to make the job of sorting it all out more than honorary.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 006091307X, Paperback)

The highly original satire about Oedipa Maas, a woman who finds herself enmeshed in a worldwide conspiracy, meets some extremely interesting characters, and attains a not inconsiderable amount of self knowledge.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:02 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

When Oedipa Maas is named as the executor of her late lover's will, she discovers that his estate is mysteriously connected with an underground organization.

(summary from another edition)

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