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The Crying Of Lot 49 Paperback – 6 Jun 1996

3.6 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews

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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: 19 x 13 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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)

"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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Top customer reviews

Format: Paperback
1) It's about rocket science. Therefore, it allows for a hypothetical situation in which, hearing you complain about what a long, hard read it is, some passer-by rolls his eyes and mutters, "it's not rocket science." To which you can reply that actually, it is.

2) It has rude bits. Very rude bits. Frankly just plain wrong bits. So, while others see you reading a classic of post-modern literature, you'll know you're actually reading about extreme fetish sex that makes 50 Shades of Gray look like The Jane Austen Guide to Better Intimate Relations.

3) When it's not baffling or scatological, it's funny. For instance: Pynchon's description of the full horrors of traditional British confectionary is hilarious, and will be utterly familiar to anyone that remembers having cough candy forced onto them by sadistic grandparents.

4) You will get fit reading it. If you're the kind of person who is even contemplating reading this book, chances are that sport was not your best subject at school. A couple of weeks of holding this breezeblock while continually scratching your head and stroking your chin will leave you with arms like a stevedore's.

5) You will get stuff done around the house. That fence panel that needs fixing, that leak in the roof, that room you've been meaning to tidy; once Gravity's Rainbow makes your leisure time harder work than your chores, your normal prevarication routines will be completely turned on their head. Friends and family will wonder how your scruffy dusty book filled slum has been transformed into a gleaming futurist show home, and you'll be able to recommend them some reading material that does the job better than any bottle of Mr Muscle.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A rip-roaring blistering book. 900 pages of absolute joy. I found myself not really being able to describe the plot, in its entirety, until the its very end and yet could not put the book down. A true genius at work!
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By david on 7 Oct. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great
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the book i got is much more used and than described!
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I think I'd give this book two and a half stars. It's a bit of a conceptual behemoth and there is something having-the-biggest-in-town that I don't really get. Fireworks in other words; but the colour writing is good. There are good things to it; there is no melodrama or any cliffhangers; which, in a novel this size is something of an achievement - and the descriptive portions are very good indeed; the S and M scene with the old colonel is absolutely revolting. The punctuation is a little difficult and gets in the way of the mildly-humourous plot. All the elipses - but you get used to them. So far a woman has just been attacked by an octopus trained by the other side. There are some funny lines. One chap comments on a film reviewer "an eighteen hour study of King Kong." The more you read it the more you understand the title; the need for people to get off the earth as it groans under the weight of people, cars, soldiers, tanks and the need to take to the air - hence the rockets. It is a bit like an Hieronymus Bosch painting; thousands of characters run around from every country under the sun to the backdrop of war-torn London and Berlin. Gravitys Rainbow is very much a young man's book with plenty of weltschmerz. Pynchon has been an influence on other writers who have come after him, Carl Hiaasen springs to mind.
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Format: Paperback
Firstly the star rating. I've given Gravity's Rainbow a 5. Other people wil give it 1. Of course, everybody's different and that is as it should be. But for a book to get two ratings, both legetimate, at opposite ends of the scale should tell you something about the book. This is one that either you'll love or hate. I come into the former category. I have a well thumbed copy, some 20 plus years old now. I've actually read the book from cover to cover twice, but mostly I read bits, sections, passages. Pynchon has the ability to write prose that makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck; that makes you stop, take a deep breath then go back and read the sentence or paragragh again because it's just so good. Very few writers can do that.
I won't bother trying to tell you what the books about, although there is a passage towards the end, one of those you read, re-read and then re-read again, that comes as close as Pynchon ever would, to giving you a guide to the book (it's the one that begins 'It's been a prevalent notion. Fallen sparks...') The only piece of advice I'd give is this, if you want an easy read, nice plot where all the ends are tied up, and where your brain doesn't have to work too hard, leave this book well alone - either you'll throw it through the window or it'll send you round the bend. If, on the other hand, you like a challenge, then this book is for you - it could be the best novel you'll ever read. Yes, it is that good!
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Format: Paperback
…and it is should be no surprise that Fourier analysis should be mentioned in this vast, extremely complex, astonishingly erudite novel. The author, Thomas Pynchon includes the equation that describes motion under the aspect of yaw control while steering “between Scylla and Charybdis.” In another section, he notes the double integral sign, and compares it to the symbol for the Waffen SS as well as two lovers curled in embrace, back to front.

Fourier analysis? In essence, it is the taking of a complex wave, and attempting to break it down into the sum of its trigonometric functions. With Pynchon’s novel, the prose itself requires such analysis. Sometimes slapstick, with barroom ditties, other times with playful or not so playful random associations, and at others, straightforward prose that describes the Russian colonization of Central Asia, the German genocide in Southwest Africa, or the crushing of the gauchos, like Martin Fierro, in the Argentine. He mixes in scathing critiques on the nature of power in society, worthy of C. Wright Mills, with the poetry of Emily Dickson: “Because I could not stop for death, He kindly stopped for me.” He mixes in different languages, with German being prominent, but also French, Spanish, and even Middle Dutch. In another novel of his, V., he had a perfect line of Arabic. I recently read C.P. Snow’s The Two Cultures (Canto Classics) which decried the abyss between the scientific and literary cultures. Pynchon bridges them perfectly.

The protagonist – of sorts – is Tyrone Slothrop, who can trace his Pilgrim ancestors back to 1630.
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