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The Crying of Lot 49 (Picador Books) Paperback – 12 Oct 1979

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Product details

  • Paperback: 127 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; New edition edition (12 Oct. 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330258702
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330258708
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.8 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 298,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Thomas Pynchon is the author of V., The Crying of Lot 49, Gravity's Rainbow, Slow Learner, a collection of short stories, Vineland, Mason and Dixon and, most recently, Against the Day. He received the National Book Award for Gravity's Rainbow in 1974.

Product Description

Review

The best American novel I have read since the war Frank Kermode For the reader who has yet to make acquaintance with this important comic talent... an appropriate introduction...defiantly, purposefully outrageous Spectator

Book Description

A witty, chaotic and brilliant novel from the incomparable Thomas Pynchon. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mr. M Errington VINE VOICE on 17 May 2012
Format: Paperback
Truth be told, I ought not to like this book. I've never been much of a fan of post-modernism, and this novella almost certainly falls within that category. As for conspiracy theory novels, well, don't get me started! But, and here is a very big 'however', this book is funny, perceptive and thought-provoking. It has all the density of Pynchon's other works but in a much shorter form. Read other reviewers to learn something of the plot and characters, but just be warned, reading this might send you seriously paranoid. Unmarked white vans, strange symbols and the revenge of the disposessed all come into it. Then there is the evidence of a collection of strangely defaced postage stamps. It is precisely because there is no satisfactory resolution to the story that you start to worry that some of it might just be true.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Wiles on 18 Nov. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First fifty pages or so it was good, funny as well. Then it went downhill. It went all Dan-Brown... He writes pages and pages educating us on stage plays and random secret societies with their logos etc. etc. overall disappointing. Too short as well.
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By Peter B on 25 May 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Somebody in a Sunday newspaper said this was his favourite novel of all time, so I read it. I was at first mesmerised by the use of language. The prose was vivid, soaring, and crowded with unlikely adjectives, adverbs and descriptions that really exercised and fascinated me. Then after a while it all faded back into the pointless fantasy that I remembered from novels in the 60s and 70s. This novel evoked nostalgia for a hippy culture where anything seemed possible but, just as I once moved on from that, I now put down this book before I reached the end.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Nic Turner on 12 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
Thomas Pynchon is widely regarded as one of the great American writers of the twentieth century; an author who leads us down the dark paths of the human mind towards the light of the post-modernist utopia. The glowing reviews of this very book testify to his writing talent and (perhaps surprising) popularity. He is, therefore, indisputably a literary giant, and anyone who purports to have any interest in twentieth century America better have read him. He is also, however, - as another reviewer pointed out - pretentious in the extreme; any author who calls their protagonist Oedipa (oh, I wonder what the allusion is there?) is undeniably that. Having said that, in this book he has managed to reign in his natural tendency to obfuscation. I personally found 'Gravity's Rainbow' virtually impenetrable, not so much because it's too 'complicated' for me to understand, as the fact that it's actually quite boring not knowing what's supposed to be going on, the lengthy Slothrop digression down a toilet being not so much intellectual as pointless, and frankly the final straw before I gave up at about the one hundred page mark. Having read little else in the Pynchon oeuvre I hesitate to comment on his other books (although the mammoth size of 'Mason & Dixon' and 'Against the Day' don't fill me with confidence), but my experience of 'GR' was negative. This, however, is exactly what draws me to recommend 'The Crying of Lot 49'. It suffers much less from the Pynchonesque confusion, and forms a neatly self-contained mystery, a pocket sized post-modernist allusion. It's rewarding as a read in those terms - don't look for realism here - and as an attempt to pierce under the surface of things.Read more ›
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Fantastic book; I really enjoyed it. It's a fun (and mind-melting) read. It is a very short novella, but it feels like a longer piece as it can require a little re-reading to really 'get' not that you ever can.

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.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D Burin on 20 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
Despite its brevity in pages, Thomas Pynchon's `The Crying of Lot 49' is one of the most bizarre, erudite, referential and absurdly compelling texts of the post-war period. Truly a text for the intrepid reader, Pynchon's novel centers (if it can be said to do so at all), on Oedipa Maas; an intelligent woman given the task of executor of her employer and one-time lover Pierce Inverarity's estate. In true Pynchonian fashion, Oedipa's apparently routine duty drags her into a world inhabited by The Paranoids, a teenage rip-off of the Beatles, briefly into the embrace of charming former child star Metzger, and finally, into the bizarre world of W.A.S.T.E, a secret postal service, borne out of dissent from a centuries old feud in Europe, between Trystero, and Thurn and Taxis. These strands of plot, though they make a fascinating and purposefully disorientating narrative between them; sometimes press too many themes into too few pages, and whilst this battering of information and experience is impressive, there's a sense of issues overlapping and running into each other a little too much for Pynchon's implied meanings and symbolism to always be garnered by the reader.

There's an absolute wealth of reference in the novel, almost to the extent of `Against the Day' and `Gravity's Rainbow', which will prove both a delight and a frustration, depending on the reader. I personally found Pynchon's reference mixed; with his evocation of Thurn and Taxis' battle for power with Trystero fascinating, and the ten or so pages of a short novel describing a forgotten Jacobean play, a little on the side of overkill.
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