Having just completed William Gibson's 'Neuromancer', 'The Crying of Lot 49' came as a welcome contrast. Pynchon's clarity of thought, taste for the absurd, and dark humour distinctly refreshing.
I enjoyed much of the curious digressions of the story, the jumble of odd-balls, the growing paranoia of Oedipa Maas, our reluctant co-executor of a Californian tycoon, ex-lover's will. However, the events, and the unfolding conspiracy theory regarding Trystero, all seemed somewhat incidental to me: sub-plottish. I was expecting something more compelling, revealing something of the chief characters. Instead, Trystero becomes a rather forced, unwanted focus.
All along I didn't really understand why Oedipa Maas becomes so engrossed in this slither of Pierce Inverarity's legacy or how the minor staged references to Trystero (literally and figuratively) could trigger her curiosity so greatly. Maybe because the Trystero mystery just never really grabbed me.
I don't consider this work impenetrable, as some reviewers have suggested - yes, it has some ambiguous, poetic moments, and sometimes jarring prose, but, in my opinion, never alienating or exclusive. In fact, I offer a guarded recommendation. The writing is worth it. I may well tackle his larger tomes one day.