The Crying of Lot 49
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The Crying of Lot 49

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  36,355 ratings  ·  2,291 reviews
The highly original satire about Oedipa Maas, a woman who finds herself enmeshed in a worldwide conspiracy, meets some extremely interesting characters, and attains a not inconsiderable amount of self knowledge.
Paperback, 152 pages
Published October 17th 2006 by Harper Perennial (first published 1966)
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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee1984 by George OrwellThe Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienThe Catcher in the Rye by J.D. SalingerThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Best Books of the 20th Century
248th out of 5,706 books — 37,981 voters
Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas PynchonThe Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas PynchonV. by Thomas PynchonMason and Dixon by Thomas PynchonAgainst the Day by Thomas Pynchon
Ranking the works of Thomas Pynchon
2nd out of 9 books — 132 voters


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mary
so imagine you're browsing through a bookstore on a lazy saturday afternoon.

you stop in the pynchon section, and there, out of the corner of your eye, you see this *guy* and he's checking you out. you think, wow! this is one for the movies! does this actually happen? (this is a sexually oriented biased review, sorry)

you proceed to chat, laughing at the length of gravity's rainbow. and you go next door with your new books to grab a cup of coffee, which turns into dinner, whuch turns in to crepes...more
Stephen
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My first excursion into the Pynchonesque…and it left me disorientated, introspective and utterly confused about how exactly I feel about it. I’m taking the cowards way out and giving it three stars even though that makes me feel like I’m punting the responsibility football and doing my best imitation of an ostrich when trouble walks by.

I am going to have to re-read this. My assumption is that I began this book taking Pynchon a little too lightly. I decided to start my exploration of Pynchon he...more
Ian Paganus
Appetite for Deconstruction

Most readers approach a complex novel, like a scientist approaches the world or a detective approaches a crime - with an appetite for knowledge and understanding, and a methodology designed to satiate their appetite.

“The Crying of Lot 49” (“TCL49”) presents a challenge to this type of quest for two reasons.

One, it suggests that not everything is knowable and we should get used to it.

Second, the novel itself fictionalizes a quest which potentially fails to allow the fem...more
Jenn(ifer)
Oct 15, 2012 Jenn(ifer) rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: conspiracy theorists
Recommended to Jenn(ifer) by: Tristero!
Once upon a time I won this book from Stephen M. Apparently, Mr. M. had purchased this book used. The previous owner being a young scholar filled the inside cover pages with erudite observations gleaned from the text. I present them for you here in their entirety (along with my parenthetical comments):

1. Immoral in beginning; mostly about how we think (deep)
2. Mucho takes drugs to escape problems (ya don't say)
3. She's searching for answers because she thinks there's a conspiracy in the male (si...more
TeacherMrLoria
The kind of book that makes people hate books. Literally one of, if not, the worst story I've ever read. A classic English majors only book, aka people like talking about this book and that they "get it" make you feel like their intellectual inferior. This book is the literary equivalent of some hipster noise band that everyone knows sucks but people will say they are good just to be in the "know."

I must say this before I get a bunch of messages from people looking down their nose at me. I do "...more
Kemper
I really want to like Thomas Pynchon. I love the whole brilliant but reclusive author act, and all the cool kids at the library seem to think he’s the cat’s ass. But I’m starting to think that he and I are never going to be friends.

I tried to read Gravity’s Rainbow twice and wound up curled up in the fetal position , crying while sucking my thumb. Supposedly, this is his most accessible book. It was easier to read than GR, but easier to understand? Well…….

Oedipa Maas unexpectedly finds herself...more
Arthur Graham
Quite fittingly, I'm sitting down to write this review after having just checked the mail. Nothing today but junk and bills. Save for my paltry royalty checks and the occasional bit of fan mail here and there (fans, you know who you are), that's about all I get most days, but this still doesn't stop me from checking the box two, three, or even four times until something shows up. On the odd day there's no mail before suppertime, I'm usually left somewhat disconcerted. What, no catalogs? No super...more
Manny
"So, what do you think it's about?" she asked, as she took a preliminary sip from her cocktail. "Entropy, to start with," he replied. "If only he'd known the Holographic Principle. It follows from thermodynamic calculations that the information content of a black hole is proportional to the square of its radius, not the cube, and the Universe can reasonably be thought of as a black hole. Hence all its information is really on its surface, and the interior is a low-energy illusion. Wouldn't you s...more
Martine
Mar 02, 2008 Martine rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: conspiracy theorists
I'm not sure how much I care for Thomas Pynchon's brand of postmodernism. On the one hand, The Crying of Lot 49 contains interesting ideas, culminating in a weird trip down Paranoia Lane. On the other hand, the writing is so detached and plain weird that it is hard to emotionally invest in the characters. As a novel of ideas, then, The Crying of Lot 49 has some merit; as a reading experience it's rather less rewarding. It feels like a 200-page story crammed into 127 pages, and that's not a compl...more
Paul
Where do you start with a novel like this. There are so many trails and plays with words and their meaning that it is dizzying. There is a central character called Oedipa who becomes co-executor of an ex flames estate and inadvertantly steps into what may or may not be a global conspiracy stretching back through the ages.
Lots of interesting characters turn up and may (or may not) be part of the conspiracy. Oedipa's therapist turns out to be an ex-Nazi who worked in Buchenwald and there is an on...more
Dusty Myers
I'm if anything a fussy writer. The sort of guy who prefers to come up with excuses why all the factors surrounding the writing of some story or chapter aren't quite right, rather than actually sit down and let the thing get written anyway. I like to worry sentences, and I like to worry about sentences that sound like other sentences I've read so many times before. "She got out of the car and looked searchingly up at the sky." There's some piece in me that could never be satisfied with that sitt...more
Stephen M
Jun 20, 2012 Stephen M rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: A hieroglyphic sense of concealed meaning
Recommended to Stephen M by: marchin' thru the Pynchon battlefield
The first and only time that I read Hamlet was in my High School AP english class. The teacher, being by far the best english teacher that I’ve had throughout my oh so illustrious english career, was a wonderfully animated and intelligent fellow. For our reading of the Oresteia, he drew stick figures on the board, highlighting with screaming delight the furious eyebrows of Clytemnestra. Every class was a surefire combination of zaniness and intelligence that I came to love from one day to the ne...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Og think nasty writer-man laughing at Og.
Mary
Reading The Crying of Lot 49 reminded me of the first time I watched Mulholland Drive. There was hair pulling. There was rewinding and pausing and what?!what?!thefuck?!what?! The remote was flung across the room. There may have almost been tears. It was wonderfully frustrating and deliciously delusional. Yes, Mr Lynch, Mr Pynchon , you're so so clever and lil average me is a mere mortal squirming around on your chess tables...

But I don't care. Confuse me. It's better than most of the crap out t...more
Richard
Harold Bloom (and apparently everyone else I know) is clearly out of his G.D. mind. This book is not hilariously funny. I did not appreciate the humor in this book at all. I liked the bit about the play but the book seemed too cutesy and gimmicky to me. I've been looking at reviews all over and (much like the reviews for the film No Country for Old Men) I seem only to find the same old enthusiastic descriptions of the book and no compelling reason for why I should appreciate the longest 183 page...more
Jackie "the Librarian"
Jul 21, 2008 Jackie "the Librarian" rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: tenacious fans of absurdity
Update: I finished re-reading this, about a week ago. I wanted to let my thoughts percolate before committing to an opinion here. My verdict: Nope, still didn't like it much, but I didn't hate it so much this time. I took it slowly, going back to re-read passages to make sure I had the characters straight. There are a LOT of characters, all with weird names that seem to have significance, but don't. Ha ha. Fun.

Okay, fine, Pynchon fans. I'll give you that it's an interesting plot - the idea of a...more
Trevor
This is one of those books – you know, those books where the author would be too clever by half if he wasn’t so clever to be able to get away with it. There is something very ‘adolescent male’ about this book – accept it is probably just too smart to be really understood by your average adolescent male. It is also, at times, very funny.

I was going to write a review that would be just the string of discordant images this book throws at you at machine-gun speed – but instead I am going to put myse...more
Agnieszka
I’ve no idea what Pynchon took while he was writing but I ask for the same.

But seriously,I really don’t know what to think about that book. Great conspiracy or great baloney? I have to admit that I’m in a dither.It’s useless to describing the plot but in short : Oedipa Maas has been made executrix of her former lover Pierce Inverarity‘s estate . Fulfilling her duties discovers the existence mystery postal service called Tristero.Mafia ,freemasons,secret signs ?Is someone manipulate Oedipa ?Is th...more
Praj


Interested in sophisticated fun? You, hubby, girlfriends?
The more the merrier. Get in touch with Tristero, through
WASTE only, Box 49.


Its funny how Pynchon does not scares me anymore. He is not the tentacled Cthulhu (thanks Mr. Lovecraft for my insomniac exhibits) I thought he was. I guess Gravity’s Rainbow was the ice-breaker. But what’s this obsession with myriad dimensions of entropy, Thomas? The explosive universal "black hole". Drives me nuts at times!! Who am I kidding? Entropy and thermod...more
Oscar
¡Una locura!¡Una tomadura de pelo! Estas, y otras, son las expresiones que se te pasan por la cabeza mientras lees esta delirante novela de Pynchon. Mientras vas leyéndola, no puedes dar crédito a lo que te está contando ni a los personajes que ta va presentando. Pero, como si de un sumidero se tratase, o de un maelström, no puedes evitar quedar atrapado en su brillante e inteligente historia.

De inicio los nombres son curiosos, Edipa, su marido Wendel "Mucho" Maas, el doctor Hilarius, la empresa...more
Mike Puma
Language that cannot be attended to casually. A novel where the plot isn’t used to move the story but to move the language, to compel it. Whitman’s 20th century novel. If you’re wanting a good story, this probably isn’t what you’re looking for (so, by all means, blame the author for you’re having read the wrong book). If you’re looking for a good story told with a compelling use of language—language to be savored and considered and wallowed in—this is a great one.

For a good intro to this novel...more
Drew
Why couldn't this have been, like, four times as long? I mean, I was seriously invested in the characters, or as invested as you can be when they have names like Genghis Cohen or Mike Fallopian. And the story was moving right along in a way very similar to Inherent Vice, right up until the part where it stopped and gave me the bluest literary balls since Atmospheric Disturbances. And this was worse, because unlike Atmospheric Disturbances, I was actually really enjoying this.

I get it: the book i...more
Madeleine
Hubs and I have a tradition of getting inked to celebrate the major milestones of our marriage. We are tragically overdue for our done-bought-a-house tats, which have less to do with buying our first home and are, instead, tributes to our literary heroes: HST for him, a whole mess of influential wordslingers for me, including the venerable Richard Python because, in a year that has been overflowing with some really great books and has (re)introduced me to some brilliant writers, it's my ever-gro...more
K.D. Absolutely
Feb 13, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tata J
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Must Read Books and Time Magazine's 100 Best English Novels
Shelves: 1001-core
The Crying of Lot 49 (1966) is the shortest novel of Thomas Pynchon,an American novelist based in New York City and noted for his dense and complex works of fiction. You should see his more voluminous other two novels, Gravity's Rainbow (1973) and Mason & Dixson (1997) and you will have the urge to read The Crying first to test if you will be able to understand him. So, yesterday, I tried.

My main problem with some authors of satire like Salman Rushdie (at least in The Satanic Verses) is how...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
This book made me laugh a lot, which I wasn't really expecting. It's so brief but I marked at least 20 spots. This is the book Pynchon wrote before his great masterpiece, Gravity's Rainbow, and there are some hints of elements that end up in that book in here.

Let's see, maybe I'll start with what made me laugh. Oedipa Maas, the main character, has a lot to giggle about. Her strategy for strip movie watching and the hairspray disaster was only the first time. Her husband, Mucho Maas, no matter ho...more
Adam
A slapstick parody/send-up, resembling Kafka meets the Marx Brothers, of sixties culture; targeting psychology, the military/industrial complex, right wing whackos, movies, literature, and views of reality and history. One of Pynchon’s lightest and most inconsequential works (though not the worst which is Vineland); and his most dated (it just screams “written in the sixties). The fun lies in digging through his wealth of allusions and references (Jacobean drama, psychology, The Beatles, science...more
Gary
Words can't express this book....it's a novella....it's short.....it's extremely "dense" as my son described it. I'd had a copy for years,and he raved,and I just read it.

With that to go on....read it.....I really don't want to discuss it much, because it just needs to be read,and saying much about it, since it's so short,would be all spoilers. Trust me on this one.....

;-)
Kedar

"...a revelation also trembled just past the threshold of her understanding."

My situation. Throughout the book.

Then I went out. Found out that this particular button on my bike was not working. Essentially muted.

Irony
Steve
I'm not sure how to go about reviewing a Pynchon novel. Probably I shouldn't even try, so I'll jot down some impressions, etc. Up until 49, I've only read V -- which I admired. The other Pynchon books have frustrated me, but I'm beginning to think it is a matter of approach and frame of mind. And also size. Lugging those phone books, Mason & Dixon and Against the Day, into work for what would probably be at least two weeks, seemed a drag that undermined my repeated attempts. I may put them o...more
Holly Goguen
Sep 08, 2008 Holly Goguen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Holly by: hollygoguen@gmail.com
Shelves: goguen-bookclub
I have never quite read a book like this before...a book I had to take notes on, and a book where I was left wondering if it was necessary or not in the end. The names and places thrust upon you while reading tease the corners of your mind...beckoning you to associate, connect, describe, make sense of it..because that is what our brains do in the end. We fill in breaks and gaps with logical connections that may or may not be real, and to me, this book questions that practice. Are we the cause of...more
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The Bookhouse Boys: The Crying of Lot 49 - discussion 32 51 Jan 07, 2014 01:22PM  
Who Do Pynchoff's Influences Sound Like? 8 222 Aug 13, 2013 05:45AM  
Crying of Lot 49 is Pynchon dealing with JFKs assassination. What do you think? 11 140 Nov 03, 2012 11:39AM  
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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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Gravity's Rainbow V. Inherent Vice Mason and Dixon Vineland

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“I came," she said, "hoping you could talk me out of a fantasy."
Cherish it!" cried Hilarious, fiercely. "What else do any of you have? Hold it tightly by it's little tentacle, don't let the Freudians coax it away or the pharmacists poison it out of you. Whatever it is, hold it dear, for when you lose it you go over by that much to the others. You begin to cease to be.”
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