4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Look out for the muted post-horn
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...
Published 19 months ago by Mr. M Errington
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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. 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...
Published 5 months ago by Woolco
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good one for the conspiracy theorists,
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This review is from: The Crying Of Lot 49 (Paperback)It is 1960's California a place of pop music, free love, recreational drugs but also an underbelly of folks buying swastikas and SS uniforms. The latter are portrayed as members of 'Trystero' a sort of Fifth Column postal service who collect WASTE. The splendidly named heroine, Oedipa Maas, becomes embroiled in this ultra-secret sect in her unwanted role of executrix to an ex-boyfriend's mega-rich estate; or is she just imagining the whole thing as yet another Sixties Loony Tune?
As husbands, lovers and confidantes succumb to various vices she is left isolated waiting for the bidder of Lot 49 to give her 'revelation'. Meanwhile, conspiracy theorists everywhere can have a field day.
This is not a laugh out loud book. It is wacky with a sort of College Rag (insert USA equivalent) magazine humour based on silly, giggly names. It is so Sixties as to be almost a curiosity and Oedipa is Barbarella's twin. As such it is not the worst book ever written and at least it is short.
The reviewer on the book's cover who described it as 'the best American novel since the war' should be given a thick ear.
4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hallucinogenic?,
This review is from: The Crying Of Lot 49 (Paperback)The occult meanings in this somewhat sporadic narrative often confuse and confound the simple reader (myself!). I found this book difficult to 'complete' (even though it is short) and only seldom found my mind on the correct thread. I struggled to encounter the humour. An inaccessible piece.Hard work
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't quite keep up but some very funny parts,
This review is from: The Crying Of Lot 49 (Paperback)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. It has something to do with a woman called Oedipa investigating a conflict between two mail companies in America one of which has been forced to operate underground. Anyway she runs around bumping into wacky and strange characters while she investigates this and it all (I think) has something to do with her late ex-boyfriend's will...I think, frankly I'm still not sure.
Some parts of this book actually had me laughing and was really funny. I read out a couple of bits to my husband because I found them so funny, but he only looked at me confused before asking "What the hell are you reading? What kind of idiot would post a St. Bernard on periscope watch during the Battle of Gallipoli?'. I had to quickly explain that I was describing a film in the book which Oedipa was describing. Makes perfect sense then.
Despite not having a clue what was going on I struggled through, laughing in places, finding other parts strangely melancholy and yet other parts frustrating and boring. During this I had but one thought in my head; there is no WAY I am reading Gravity's Window.
So while I can belong to the club of people that have read a Thomas Pynchon book I will never belong to the rather elite group of people that have tackled Gravity's Window because I am taking that off the list.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Overrated,
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This review is from: The Crying of Lot 49 (Kindle Edition)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. Incredibly long paragraphs bear a succession of similes and metaphors, some of which are brilliant, but overfeed the reader who may feel like a goose whose liver is intended for foie gras. I struggled to the end to assure myself that the book is without its reputed merit. I succeeded in doing so.
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Moribund Profundity,
This review is from: The Crying Of Lot 49 (Paperback)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. I did not find it enjoyable because I did not really understand it - and I do not think I was supposed to. There were a couple of funny bits - the characters' names are humourous; Oedipa Mass, Mike Fallopian, Genghis Cohen - and it is well written, but it is a head trip; it is phantasmagorical, like a David Lynch screenplay buffed up and amended by conspiracy theory nutters like Jesse Ventura. But it is literary; I will concede that.
The "plot" revolves around Oedipa Mass, a housewife from the Bay Area who uncovers, or so we think, or maybe, or who knows?, an international conspiracy involving a clandestine underground postal system. The book is characterized by odd characters, esoteric symbols, and eccentric snippets of dialogue, but it is, in my opinion, weird for weird's sake. Not that it needs my stamp of approval. Pynchon is legendary, more so because he does not and has not made public appearances.
I enjoy comic novels - I like Kurt Vonnegut, for instance - so I thought I would like this book more. It is certainly interesting; I just did not find it pleasurable. If you are wondering whether you ought to read it, you may as well. It is only 183 pages long.
Or is it?
Troy Parfitt is the author of Why China Will Never Rule the World?
2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for me,
This review is from: The Crying Of Lot 49 (Paperback)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. I'm left confused about many things, but not about this: I enjoy interesting and different books, but books loaded with pretentious intellectualism bore me to death.
There's story-telling (which entertains and moves its readers) and there's word play. `The Crying of Lot 49' clearly falls in the last category and, while it might provide many readers with a satisfying read, I find the weirdness too weird, the "cleverness" too clever for its own good and the deliberate manipulation of names, references and language constructs silly. Is Pynchon actually laughing at us, the readers, who swoon at his "brilliance"? Either that or, like Sacha Baron Cohen of the dreadful movie "Borat" fame, Pynchon is a sad man with a rather warped and gloomy view of the world.
As a reader, I want more to a novel than pretentious intellectualism posing as literature. I enjoy reading a wide variety of genres and styles, fiction and non-fiction. I don't care what I read - as long as it's good writing and keeps me engaged.
Despite the occasional glimpse of what could attract people to this story (for example, Mucho & Oedipa's obsessions apparently suggesting ordinary folks' obsessive need to believe in some kind of reality and order - I say "apparently," because I'm not entirely sure I "got it"), Pynchon's writing required too much effort to make any sort of sense to me.
Perhaps that was the point of the difficult, delirious writing style: that, despite modern technology supposedly assisting mankind in communicating, Mucho & Oedipa (representing the average human) were still unable to communicate with each other. This novel, far from solving this dilemma, exacerbated it!
It does have its moments of post-modernist epiphany (modern life is uncertain; there is no guarantee of a happy ending), but I'm a reader who prefers a more traditional (and optimistic!) form of story-telling and will leave Pynchon's existential explorations of an entropic society to those readers who prefer `high literature.'
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Grandiose Articulate Regurgitated Burblings Aimlessly Generating Ennui,
This review is from: The Crying Of Lot 49 (Paperback)At times humourous, packed with information (often obscure) and interspersed with a collection of disparate characters, this short novel should be a classic but for me it was too clever for its own good. Was Pynchon poking fun at Americans' obsessive love for all things American in creating the town of San Narcisus? Was he satirising the then budding boom in American's seeking psychotherapy by creating an ex Nazi psychotherapist called Dr Hilarius? Pynchon manages to ask lots of questions but provide few answers and that may be his point but for me I would prefer something more tangible. This book reminded me of a painting which was entirely black apart from in the centre a small white question mark. Clever but not greatly appetising for the viewer. The absurd character names might mean something to Pynchon but Mike Fallopian registers no nuances for me and I would have preferred if he called Oedipa, Electra.
1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute gem of a book,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Crying Of Lot 49 (Paperback)Richly written, engaging and more than slightly bizzare, full of scientific and Californian references
3 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pretentious rubbish,
This review is from: The Crying Of Lot 49 (Paperback)Pretentious, overblown, pseudo-intellectual rubbish. The plot beggars belief, and it seems that it was beneath Thomas Pynchon to provide us with even the small saving grace of a conclusion.
5 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Painful.,
This review is from: The Crying Of Lot 49 (Paperback)This book, as my title suggested is truly painful, and borders on the unreadable at times, the only reason I finished it was because I don't like to leave a novel unfinished, and at times I had to fight with myself to continue on.
I'm sure Pynchon is capable of writing, yet he doesn't show it here, there is a distinct lack of plot (for me this is unforgivable) or memorable or interesting characters. Also the book goes off on bizarre at totally irrelevant tangents, one includes a now forgotten opera. Quite simply if you like meaningless writing and wasting your time buy it, if not, AVOID.
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The Crying Of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon (Paperback - 6 Jun 1996)