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Bleeding Edge

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  6,619 ratings  ·  1,008 reviews
Thomas Pynchon brings us to New York in the early days of the internet

It is 2001 in New York City, in the lull between the collapse of the dot-com boom and the terrible events of September 11th. Silicon Alley is a ghost town, Web 1.0 is having adolescent angst, Google has yet to IPO, Microsoft is still considered the Evil Empire. There may not be quite as much money around
Hardcover, 477 pages
Published September 17th 2013 by Penguin Press (first published 2013)
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The first thing to know about Pynchon books is that they fall into two pretty distinct categories, with Gravity's Rainbow and Against the Day on one side—the side of sprawling epic, of insane depth of characterization and range of setting—these are books that you don't really read, you just dive on into, in all their jagged crazy bottomless mystery. I once said that reading Against the Day was less like reading a book than reading a chunk of a river, and I stand by that.

Then on the other side yo
Real-ish Review

Dwell upon our memories, but there are no facts.

Mental note to self, next time you read a book but you can't post a review for a couple of months why don't you try writing the fucking review soon after you read the book, and not wait till the day before the book is to be published? Just a thought, stupid.

Whenever I hear the word culture I reach for my revolver. - attributed to Goering.

The re-occurrence of this line in the book for some reason sums up the book for me. I'm not sure
Bleeding Edge begins after the dotcom crash and takes us through to a few months after the events of September 11. It is a portrait of New York during this period. A "lovably scruffy comedy of remarriage," as the Publishers' Weekly review calls it, and a really wonderful piece of urban literature, keenly detailing the visible and invisible environs of New York City and its psyche at that time. The back of the advance reading copy I got calls it a "historical romance." That too is accurate.

There've been a few novels written about the 11th September 2001 attacks – DeLillo's Falling Man and Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close come to mind – and most of them try to induce, not unreasonably, a visceral and immediate reaction to the tragedy. Pynchon has written about atrocities and tragedies before (most recently in Against the Day), but what's striking about Bleeding Edge is how determined Pynchon is to avoid talking about 9/11 in anything like the same terms. A ...more
There's always something about Pynchon that renders me mute. Too much to talk about, I suppose. It's always hard to find a place to start.

So this is a novel 'about' Silicon Alley in the early 2000s during the Yuppie Babylon of the tech boom and the first months of the Giuliani/Bush regime. Our protagonist, Maxine, reminds me of Oedipa from Crying of Lot 49 a bit, as a professional women who is gradually entangled into a conspiracy of unknowable and incorporeal proportions. It's not as vast as Gr
Okay, here’s what I think: more women need to read this book. Looking over the reviews I note that most are from men who have read everything Pynchon has written. I hadn’t read anything by him (no, not even Gravity's Rainbow) and I thought the time was right for me to begin. He is considered a writer of great stature and I couldn’t remember why I ignored him.

This is a valentine to women. Even the title refers to women, in all its interpretations: The bloody edge of a knife held against the neck
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Oct 03, 2013 Nathan "N.R." Gaddis rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Pynchon
Recommended to Nathan "N.R." by: Thomas

Me and Tome

I have a reputation on goodreads for being hyper-intelligent, indulging in reading difficult novels. It’s a reputation I like to nurture. It’s been many years of failure, in fact.

Back in college daze I was at the check-out desk of the smucker=jam/jelly library and this friend of mine comes in, fresh out of one of his English=major classes. This is one of those rare-birds on college campuses, an intellectual who actually gave a damn about getting an education beyond mere job=training
My friends and I created our online reading group samizdat in the summer of 1999. Our first selection was Gravity's Rainbow and we've made a number of efforts since then to recreate that cherry high. Those distant days of yahoo and dial up are recreated in Bleeding Edge, though most of its characters play with a heavier set of clubs. The Kabbalic notion of a deep web where the eschatological becomes, well, virtual is hardly a new idea. Pynchon drapes it all in a noir apparatus with a crime scene ...more
(This review was originally written for and posted at the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography's site. I paid for and preordered this book back in March? April?, which was months before I knew I'd be writing for CCLaP.)

It is all too easy to dismiss Thomas Pynchon's most recent novel as another one for the "Pynchon Lite" pile, which is by no means fair to a book that can't help counting the likes of such heavyweights (both in the literary and literal senses) as Against the Day, Mason &am
There are some really fabulous reviews of this book by some of our common GR friends, and so I’ll simply (and gladly) defer any future readers to those; I will just make one brief point, which seems to have been missed by other readers, but which I think is quite certain and obvious about this book.

There is a lot of fabulous writing here, but (as others have certainly noted) also a lot (too much, for my taste, frankly) of monkeying-around. This can get kind of tedious – and so the book gets a lo

Pynchon could write the linear notes to an obscure hipster band and I would track that CD down and read it. At one level there is a certain amount of potential, sulfuric, fizzle genius that you can definitely smell but in this novel never quite explodes (gets expelled?). Pynchon is tracing and mapping the same subterranean ground he has fixated on from the very beginning: technology, paranoia, humor, dark entropy, etc., it is all here. It just isn't
A parable of reading. Protagonist is a fallen CFE, with her “skill set being a tendency to look for hidden patterns” (22), which is the sole necessary skill for reading a Pynchon novel. We have met the protagonist, and found that she is us.

Principal text that CFE reads is work product of a film bootlegger, whose poor hand-recordings in the theatre are taken to be “leading edge [NB] of this post-postmodern art form” with “neo-Brechtian subversion of the diegesis” (9). We should take this comment
and late capitalism dissolves/(d?)evolves into messy virtualworld complete with pynchonian paranoia, truther conspiracies, ADHD hyper-prose, forgettable characters, a pun a minute, convoluted pomo-chandlerian plot 5 steps ahead of a (probably intentionally) passive lead heroine. disappointing.
Not Pynchon lite! Not heavy either. More like Pynchon pot-bellied but taut. What at first struck me as a slackness in the prose, became over time and into a second reading an intentional casual naturalness. Casual and natural because speech (and thought) based. This is Pynchon the pal, exuding kookily aloof warmth, while still insightfully penetrating into sociopolitical machinations. Warm because he loves Maxine, the adorable mid-aged mule who carries his (admittedly borderline schematic at tim ...more
Don't expect an astute review comparing this to any other Pynchon novels. This was the first one of his I've completed. Perhaps I'm not "ready" to read him yet - or maybe, rather, Pynchon was not ready to write a book like this?

Although it seems to be part of his "schtick", Pynchon's jivey, wisecracking voice grew tiresome to wade through. The narrative was punctuated with moments of true beauty - describing passengers you glimpse in an opposite train as a tarot card draw, and the geeks' cotill
Pre-Script and a Parable
The reading of this book was necessitated by it's formal residence at a library, and the long digital line of people stacked in ones and zeroes who have put it on hold. While I own Inherent Vice and Gravity's Rainbow, I've only ever read Pynchon books that I've picked up from the library (add to that I've also read about half of Slow-Learner in book store perusings). It feels a bit like a Kafkaesque parable that to own a certain book reduces the urgency with which to re
Justin Evans
Everyone's favorite parlor game for BE is to decide whether it's major, minor, or minor-major Pynchon, except that nobody can even decide what other books go in which slots, let alone where this one falls.

Another fun game is to decide whether this is a 'now' book, or a 'then' book, with the temptation being to say that his late-twentieth-century books are minor (with the exception of V., which doesn't count).

And finally there's the all time punk classic parlor game of complaining that Ilikehis
2001? The dotcom bubble? Bursting? I thought I could handle it? After about fifty pages I was about to pull the plug. Did I really think I was hip enough? Edgy? Naturally not, but I decided to stick around, employing a skill set acquired while reading Ulysses and trying to read Finnegans Wake—full torpedoes ahead and damn it all. Pynchon's prose batters you from all points, tumbling you in its wake of digressions, its undertow of sheer incomprehensibility, in which you can only hope to absorb by ...more
Aaron Arnold
A staggering weight comes across the shelf. It has happened before, but at this point in his career there are quite a few masterpieces to compare it to now. As America's greatest living novelist, each book he releases feels like it should be a bombshell, ever-escalating shocks of genius radiating out for as far as there's literary terrain left to expose to new light. Bleeding Edge, which is unquestionably a great novel, funny and moving and as clever as any number of competitors put together, is ...more
Clif Hostetler
We didn’t know it at the time, but Dickens’ phrase, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” could be applied to the period of time following the dot-com bust and preceding 9/11. This novel is an exploration of life in New York City about six months prior to 9/11 and then about six months after. It's a reminder of how that moment of disillusionment caused by the evaporation of the dot-com dream suddenly turned into the innocent golden age of the past once 9/11 occurred.

The book is
Léonard Gaya
“Bleeding Edge” (2013) is the most recent novel by Thomas Pynchon. The action takes place in NYC, some twelve years before publication, around the traumatic time when the World Trade Center collapsed under terrorists attacks (although 9/11 only appears in the background). We are invited to follow the investigations of Maxine, a fraud examiner and housewife, through a maze of illegal Internet and financial activities, linked to Middle-Eastern and Russian connections, all steered by a mysterious m ...more
Sentimental Surrealist
Everything must come to an end, and this includes my journey through Pynchon's novels, which wrapped up just a few minutes ago. Yes, there's still Slow Learner: Early Stories, but it isn't as though I'm expecting the whole world from that, you know? So I can now say, with a certain bittersweet pride, that I've finished every Pynchon novel, at least until he gets around to the next one.

My opinion on Bleeding Edge? It's good! Better than Inherent Vice, which was fun but, like Vineland before it,
Aug 09, 2015 Alex rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
The other day we were talking about the Awkward Role of Technology in Fiction: tech talk tends to sound instantly dated and embarrassing. Bleeding Edge takes place in 2001 as the tech bubble was bursting, and it's a prime example of that problem. Pynchon actually does have a pretty good handle on the state of the internet in 2001 - I say this as someone who was right in the middle of that - but it still doesn't really work. A lot of scenes remind me of Gibson's trippy descriptions of hacking in ...more
This makes two novels in a row where Pynchon gives us a pseudo-detective story in a single authorial voice from a single point of view, little more than sight gags and shadowy conspiracies in the service of capital. Yeah, okay, the internet and 9/11 combined to bring us a world where we're more monitored and less private yet also more alienated and solitary than ever, where fiction is deprecated but reality is pasteurized and spoon-fed - that's all you've got for us, Sr. Pinchón? To look at it a ...more
Let's get it out of the way, right off the top, virtually anything is going to be better than discussing this book. Anything else qualifies. Right now, the radio is on, for example. That qualifies. In fact, it compares; it's National Public Radio.

Strangely appealing as it may be, the national non-commercial radio network in the United States, NPR, is actually kind of bland, and if the truth isn't too harsh, also a little bit Canadian. Lush choirs of the Mildly Amusing sing daily from a hymn boo
I will not talk about this book. I will not discuss if it is a "lite-Pynchon" or a "high-Pynchon".

I think Pynchon's writings should be consider as a whole, as a type of Frank Zappa's conceptual continuity.

Do you like Pynchon? Must read this.

That's it.

If you do not like Pynchon, sorry to point this, but you are a brainless zombie.
***Future actual review forthcoming. The following is a paranoid rant:

I'm not a fan of advertising. I choose my media and clothes in ways that neither follow advertising campaigns nor advertise for themselves as items while I'm consuming or wearing them. I'm not allergic to advertising say like Cayce Pollard, the protagonist of William Gibson's Pattern Recognition, because that isn't an allergy. It's a preference.

Sidenote: the concept of allergy has gotten muddled these days by people, who in t
*I received this book via Goodreads's First Reads.

Well, what can I say about this book except that, like all of Thomas Pynchon's novels, it is a fun read, amazingly well-written, witty, funny and very entertaining. Thomas Pynchon has not lost his great way of communicating a story. The novel takes place in 2001 and it feels 2001. There are so many references to the pop culture of that year (Britney Spears! Jennifer Aniston!) that it would be quite easy to believe that it was written over 10 year
It feels rather unfair to be disappointed, but on the other hand also hard to keep entirely out of the assessment that Pynchon beside this book has written at least three totally Masterworks (Gravity's Rainbow, Mason & Dixson and Against the Day, I'd say) and a couple of Very Very Good Books beside this also (especially Vineland being a bit underrated), and so Bleeding Edge, like Inherent Vice, just feel a little slight in comparison.

That said, Pynchon can still write, and I found the book v
Pynchon presents a book somewhere between his lighter cartoony romps (Crying of Lot 49, Vineland, and Inherent Vice) and his more epic works. A strangely accessible work that parodies some recent crime fiction and cyberpunk, but is still recognizably Pynchon and shows off his obsessions with paranoia, secret worlds, and the fading of promise. He fixes on the dot com crash, the internet and 9-11 as the moments where an irreversible change occurred in our world and I find him profound as ever if a ...more
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Misha and Grisha 2 117 Nov 24, 2013 11:15AM  
/lit/ Revival of ...: * Week 13: Bleeding Edge - Thomas Pynchon 19 165 Nov 19, 2013 10:41AM  
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Thomas Ruggles Pynchon, Jr. is an American writer based in New York City, noted for his dense and complex works of fiction. Hailing from Long Island, Pynchon spent two years in the United States Navy and earned an English degree from Cornell University. After publishing several short stories in the late 1950s and early 1960s, he began composing the novels for which he is best known today: V. (1963 ...more
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“Not me, paranoia's the garlic in life's kitchen, right, you can never have too much.” 21 likes
“You remember those twin statues of the Buddha that I told you about? Carved out of a mountain in Afghanistan, that got dynamited by the Taliban back in the spring? Notice anything familiar?"

"Twin Buddhas, twin towers, interesting coincidence, so what."

"The Trade Center towers were religious too. They stood for what this country worships above everything else, the market, always the holy fucking market."

"A religious beef, you're saying?"

"It's not a religion? These are people who believe the Invisible Hand of the Market runs everything. They fight holy wars against competing religions like Marxism. Against all evidence that the world is finite, this blind faith that resources will never run out, profits will go on increasing forever, just like the world's populations--more cheap labor, more addicted consumers.”
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