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The Crying of Lot 49

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  50,957 Ratings  ·  3,115 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 1965)
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Art Pinsof An excerpt was published in Esquire Magazine in December of 1965 under the title "The World (This One), the Flesh (Mrs. Oedipa Maas), and the…moreAn excerpt was published in Esquire Magazine in December of 1965 under the title "The World (This One), the Flesh (Mrs. Oedipa Maas), and the Testament of Pierce Inverarity", and the full novel was published shortly later, in 1966.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Mar 21, 2007 mary rated it really liked it
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
Ian "Marvin" Graye
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

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
SJ Loria
Apr 28, 2008 SJ Loria rated it did not like it
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 "
Oct 15, 2012 Jenn(ifer) rated it really liked it  ·  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
Oct 21, 2015 Seemita rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those who wish their sanity to go for a ride
Muted – I am in an alien way,
Post – reading this weird novel about a
Horn – that despite many mouths, remains

Muted – across the
Post – offices of circuitous US lands although the blare of this
Horn – is audible to a secretive group that moves in

Muted – shadows and sews in its hem, high
Post – bearers and zany professors who insist to
Horn – out any intruders who, in public or

Muted – way, attempt to
Post – any letters sent with this
Horn – bearing stamp to any

Muted – or alive
Arthur Graham
Jul 09, 2015 Arthur Graham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 06, 2009 Kemper rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 100, classic-lit
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
"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
Oct 20, 2013 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-novels
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
Richard Derus
Nov 20, 2011 Richard Derus rated it it was ok
Og think nasty writer-man laughing at Og.
Aug 05, 2012 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2012
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
Jan 02, 2008 Richard rated it it was ok
Shelves: library-books
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
Mar 02, 2008 Martine rated it liked it  ·  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
Dec 18, 2010 Praj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pynchon

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
May 14, 2011 Trevor rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
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
Stephen M
Jun 20, 2012 Stephen M rated it liked it  ·  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
Dusty Myers
Mar 17, 2008 Dusty Myers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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

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 ? Have to admit that I’m in a dither . It’s useless to describe 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 of mystery postal service called Tristero . Mafia ,freemasons , secret signs ? Is someone manipulate Oedi
Vit Babenco
Oct 15, 2016 Vit Babenco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Beneath the notice, faintly in pencil, was a symbol she'd never seen before, a loop, triangle and trapezoid.”
“The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven…” Revelation 11:15
Thomas Pynchon is a cognoscente of all sorts of conspiracies and The Crying of Lot 49, a somewhat sad post-noir burlesque, set amidst trashy cultural and behavioural patterns, concerns itself with a weird global postal conspiracy.
“Decorating each alienation, each species of withdrawal, as cuffl
¡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
Mike Puma
Oct 14, 2010 Mike Puma rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010
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
Maybe 3.5 stars

It was weird! It was unique!

Hey, Thomas Pynchon - could you write us a book where a woman goes to oversee the estate of a real estate mogul and along the way deals with her DJ husband on LSD, an adulterous pedophilic lover, a Nazi psychiatrist on a shooting spree - all in search of information about a secret society who's only anti-government movement is to run their own postal system (which she becomes intrigued about because of a play she sees with one word that seems out of pla
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
Jan 16, 2015 Nathan "N.R." Gaddis added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ALP
Recommended to Nathan "N.R." by: HCE
We’ve obtained three four seven ate TEN!!! Likes so the following Float is no longer necessary. It has been removed.

I published this “review” about five minutes ago and have received no Likes. So I’m Floating it.

And so is inaugurated what became known as Pynchon Lite.*

It’s a step up in the game of Pynchon Prose.** From V.. But a step down in page count (you noticed?). Thing is that it’s as if Lot 49 (TCoL49 is atrocious ; maybe “L49”?) were a chapter, not a novella. But maybe that
Jackie "the Librarian"
Jul 21, 2008 Jackie "the Librarian" rated it it was ok  ·  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
Such a captive maiden, having plenty of time to think, soon realizes that her tower, its height and architecture, are like her ego only incidental: and what really keeps her where she is is magic, anonymous and malignant, visited on her from outside and for no reason at all. Having no apparatus except gut fear and female cunning to examine this formless magic, to understand how it works, how to measure its field strength, count its lines of force, she may fall back on superstition, or take up a
Sep 12, 2016 Fabian rated it it was ok
Dumb. Overrated. The only plus? It is a short novel.

A mystery with no solution. I think the only person that can pull it off is David Lynch. This is absurdism and pretentiousness at its utmost. I really did not enjoy trying to "figure out" a, truth be told, lost cause.

Skip. Please vanish from the 1001 list! We do not need a hybrid Don DeLillo, Nathaniel West, David Cronenberg. Truly. A ridiculous embarrassment.
Dec 29, 2015 Josh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, high-five
A book that still weighs heavily on my mind. Perhaps, some type of review soon.

Edit: Basically a year to the day that I finished and I don't remember a damn thing about this book (even though it DID weigh heavily on my mind at the time), but hey, I must've been humored, entertained and loved the craziness of this, huh? And yeah, don't you just love those types of reviews that say 'review: coming soon!' just to be left empty for the remainder of time? Yeah, me too.

I will read more of Pynchon this
Rakhi Dalal

“Be silent or let thy words be worth more than silence.”

― Pythagoras

There are days when you feel you don't have much to say on anything...muteness prevails...

The Crying of Lot 49: This 60s post-modernist novel doesn't feel relevant today

I’ve always wanted to try Thomas Pynchon’s work. Back in high school I heard that his novel Gravity’s Rainbow (1973) is either one of the greatest American novels ever written, or a completely unreadable and pretentious mess. It won the National Book Award in 1974, and was surprisingly nominated for the Nebula Award in 1973. I have a paperback copy (all gold cover, looks very nice) but it’s a door-stopper, and I suspe
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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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“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.”
“Shall I project a world?” 94 likes
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