- Paperback: 784 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Classics; New Ed edition (2 April 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099771918
- ISBN-13: 978-0099771913
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 4.3 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 60,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Mason & Dixon Paperback – 2 Apr 1998
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"Pynchon's finest work yet...if anyone is still looking for the Great American Novel...then this may well be it" (Brian Morton Scotland on Sunday)
"A rollicking, picaresque tale... playful, erudite and funny" (New York Times)
"Very grand and mad and beautiful...I can't remember ever having reviewed a more original novel... and if America produces a novel to come near this marvellous, proliferating thing this decade, I promise to eat it" (Philip Hensher Spectator)
"Pynchon offers readers a trip as long and full of yearning as that of his heroes" (New Yorker)
"A hugely ambitous epic...show cases all of Mr Pynchon's gifts as a writer: his magical abilty to fuse history and fable, science and science fiction; his Swiftean grasp of satire and his vaudevillian's sense of farce. It's a book that testifies to his remarkable powers of invention and his sheer power as a storyteller... as moving as it is cerebral, as poignant as it is daring" (New York Times)
A hugley ambitious, epic work from this most inventive and creative author.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
At other times, the writing is deceptively simple. Just read the first line of this book. "Snow-Balls have flown their Arcs, starr'd the Sides of Outbuildings, as of Cousins..." With a few simple words we can hear the thump of snowballs on wood, we know that we are talking about a large family ("Cousins", not "Children"), the tense tells us we are probably at the darkening end of a winter day, and in describing buildings and kids as equal targets, we have a gentle wit.
So far, so what, maybe? Well, call me a ponce but in the reference to arcs, we have a reference back to Gravity's Rainbow, Pynchon's massive, crazy WWII novel loosely themed around the deadly parabola of the V2 rocket. In the reference to stars, we have a pointer in the direction of the theme to come in Mason & Dixon - astronomy and the cosmos, at the time of a shift in society's relationship to it. Mason and Dixon are brought together to carry out astronomical observations, and Mason uses the stars to navigate his line across America.
There you go, a couple of hundred words about the first line. You're in for a rich, astonishing read - just take your time.
In short I'm very glad I read it and I'm very glad I've finished it.
However, what better way of getting to the soul of a country than an exploration of the initial conditions at that nation's birth? Thomas Pynchon obviously agreed and came up with a kaleidoscopic overview of America in the womb.
Over 700 pages of the most impressive prose imaginable, Pynchon takes us on a tour of eighteenth century America, with doses of South Africa, the UK and St. Helena thrown in. But this isn't just an academic exercise designed to create dazzling prose, this is a touching novel with larger than life characters and a big heart - a human novel that emphasizes decency, open-mindedness and human frailty.
But just one point for you to ponder: did anybody else imagine John Thaw and Kevin Whately as Mason and Dixon while reading this, or is it just me?
The sense of the the grumpy southerner and the chirpy Geordie is uncanny, right down to their speech patterns. I wonder if Pynchon is a "Morse" fan?
It is the only book I have hurried out to buy as a hardback publication. I have also read it twice. Unlike "Gravity's Rainbow" (it left me bombed out after a few chapters), this is a big book that is quite an easy read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Mason & Dixon is a novel of consummate brilliance on many levels, but especially language; it is simply one of the great masterpieces of English prose. Ever. Read morePublished 2 months ago by richardovaz
The only Pynchon i could not finish and after 6 years of reflection and a re-reading of V and slipping deeper into Gravity's Rainbow I finally know why
Pynchon's line of... Read more
Great book by a brilliant writer. Top quality paperback dispatched quickly and safely. Thanks!Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
Surf music? Perpetual motion?? Geordie accent? Better to buy the card and paper whatsit, but it is large, so holidays are what it is made for, this one style of this thing.Published 14 months ago by Hilary Ford
One of Pynchon's most accessible novels (once you get used to the brilliant pastiche of 18th century novel style and diction). Read morePublished 15 months ago by Peter Ansell
couldn't get into it at all - the only book I have never finished - believe me, I did try...Published 17 months ago by tel
A disappointing purchase.
1. If you're wanting to learn something about Mason & Dixon then buy a different book. Read more
I bought this for my partner and I think he's enjoying it! He's a big fan of Mason and Dixon so I assumed that he would. Read morePublished on 2 Aug. 2014 by Hannah Marriott
I bought this, along with a whole bunch of other Pynchon works altogether at the same time for one especial and very particular reason. Read morePublished on 13 May 2014 by Richard Shillam