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The Crying Of Lot 49 [Paperback]

Thomas Pynchon
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

6 Jun 1996

Suffused with rich satire, chaotic brilliance, verbal turbulence and wild humour, The Crying of Lot 49 opens as Oedipa Maas discovers that she haas been made executrix of a former lover's estate. The performance of her duties sets her on a strange trail of detection, in which bizarre characters crowd in to help or confuse her. But gradually, death, drugs, madness and marriage combine to leave Oepida in isolation on the threshold of revelation, awaiting The Crying of Lot 49.

One of Pynchon's shortest novels and one of his best.

Frequently Bought Together

The Crying Of Lot 49 + Gravity's Rainbow (Vintage) + V.
Price For All Three: 19.57

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  • Gravity's Rainbow (Vintage) 6.99
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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics; New Ed edition (6 Jun 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099532611
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099532613
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 12.8 x 18.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,556 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


"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)

"The Crying of Lot 49 contains some of the most elegiac writing about America since Fitzgerald, as well as packing an intense metaphorical punch about revelation, hierophany, meaning and connection that is far too complex to reduce to precis" (Observer)

Book Description

A witty, chaotic and brilliant novel from the incomparable Thomas Pynchon.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Look out for the muted post-horn 17 May 2012
By Mr. M Errington VINE VOICE
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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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to Thomas Pynchon 18 Oct 2007
Some people will find Thomas Pynchons's style almost inpenetrable(it's been described by critics as turgid and overwritten before) - so rather than getting stuck straight into V or Gravity's Rainbow (500 pages +) those who wish to read Thomas Pynchon may like to try this first at a little over 100 pages.

Although there are many comic scenes in the book the overall effect is starkly melancholy, as the main character, Oedipa Maas, prompted by the contents of an ex-lover's estate of which she is unexpectedly made executrix, obsessively pursues a secret postal service with medieval roots in Europe, which appears to exert a malign yet unclear effect on society...or does it? The book never answers this, as it ends just as Oedipa may be about to find an answer.

Instead the reader is left with a bleak sense of Oedipa's growing paranoia, neurosis and unhealthy fixation with the apparent secret society, in a likely metaphor for conspiracy theorists and cults everywhere. It's a funny book, but the madness of obsession and paranoia are well conveyed in the subtext of the plot, and might leave you feeling creeped.......
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4.0 out of 5 stars Funny, surreal and strangely addictive 18 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
For a very short book, this took me a long time to get through it; and the only reason for this is that Pynchon's writing demands that you give your undivided attention to every single beautifully crafted word. This book is the curious (sometimes downright strange and surreal) tale of Oedipa Maas, married to the pitiful DJ Mucho, who can't believe in himself any more after his traumatic post as a salesman in a used car lot, who is appointed executor of her former lover, Pierce Inverarity's estate.

From that point on, Oedipa goes on something of the classic American road trip, attempting to untangle the convoluted affairs of Inverarity, but along the way, uncovering a conspiracy underlying the US mail system, uncovering the source of a text of an obscure Jacobean revenge play, but principally discovering (and losing) much about herself along the way.

The book has a plot which is something of a spiral in form as earlier strands are constantly picked up and dropped again, until the reader, as well as the heroine, is going round and round in circles in the attempt to discover... well, what I'm not really sure, but it was a lot of fun getting there.

I loved the plot of the Jacobean revenge play - I've got to say all those bits about the text and only "words" being left over were my favourite bits, but there's something for everyone in here (music lovers, philatelists, historians, conspiracy theorists... I could go on).

This is a smart, short, slick, funny book - but reading it is a serious undertaking.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good starter to Pynchon 2 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you have not read Pynchon before, this is the one to start with. Tough going but really interesting. I understand from my expert daughter that longer Pynchons are real serious hard work to get through.
Brilliant writing. Hard to describe, but even if you don't continue with his stuff, you must read this one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Post-Modernist Masterpiece 31 Oct 2011
This book changed the way I think about the world. It's a fun and intrigueing detective story in its own right, but read this in conjunction with some Baudillard anf Lyotard and it will make you question not only the world we live in, but the way you understand it too.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, shocking, or just overrated? 12 Aug 2010
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Overrated
Vague, wandering, ill-thought out. A good idea which dissipates over what may be intended to be mystery but is, in chapter after chapter, lack of clarity. Read more
Published 12 months ago by buttle
3.0 out of 5 stars A Curious Tale
Having just completed William Gibson's 'Neuromancer', 'The Crying of Lot 49' came as a welcome contrast. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Woolco
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite hard work
Thomas Pynchons writing can be described as sometimes almost too modern and not for fans of light reading. Read more
Published 18 months ago by A Rogoff
2.0 out of 5 stars Moribund Profundity
The Crying of Lot `49

I gave up on this novella, a volume Time magazine included in its list of 100 best English-language novels (1923-2005), about halfway. Read more
Published on 24 Jun 2012 by Troy Parfitt
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Average
I was glad this book was short as I had to read it twice before I (vaguely) understood it. When I first read the crying of lot 49 I thought the prose deliberately impenetrable and... Read more
Published on 3 Jan 2012 by celeocanth
3.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't quite keep up but some very funny parts
The Crying of Lot 49 is a small book at just over 100 pages long and I only got the general gist of the plot. Read more
Published on 28 Nov 2011 by J. Willis
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
I finally read this because I've never yet managed to complete a Thomas Pynchon story. I managed to finish this novel only because it's short. Read more
Published on 24 Nov 2011 by Judy Croome
3.0 out of 5 stars Great writing, terrible plot
I just couldn't get on with this book; I read it expecting a lot but could not get past the fact that I thought the main character would never make the choices that she did and... Read more
Published on 4 Nov 2011 by Simon
4.0 out of 5 stars Oedipa's Mess, but what an impressive one
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. Read more
Published on 20 Jun 2011 by Mr. D Burin
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