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The Crying of Lot 49

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  66,596 ratings  ·  4,335 reviews
Suffused with rich satire, chaotic brilliance, verbal turbulence and wild humor, The Crying of Lot 49 opens as Oedipa Maas discovers that she has been made executrix of a former lover's estate. The performance of her duties sets her on a strange trail of detection, in which bizarre characters crowd in to help or confuse her. But gradually, death, drugs, madness and marriag ...more
Paperback, 152 pages
Published October 17th 2006 by Harper Perennial (first published 1966)
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S.L. Berry It was the same way with me until near the end and even then there were times that I never got what the author was trying to say.

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Average rating 3.69  · 
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 ·  66,596 ratings  ·  4,335 reviews


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mary
Mar 21, 2007 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
...more
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
...more
J.L.   Sutton
Jan 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
“This is America, you live in it, you let it happen. Let it unfurl.”

Image result for crying of lot 49

Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49 is not for everyone (mostly I know this because I’ve recommended this book before and been dismayed when it was not loved). I do, however, get a lot of comments on my W.A.S.T.E. t-shirt. I’ve been reading a lot of books lately which are not easily classifiable, and The Crying of Lot 49 definitely fits that mold. For me, it is a wild ride through layers of conspiracy, alternative history (m
...more
Stephen
Photobucket

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
...more
SJ Loria
Apr 28, 2008 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 "
...more
Vit Babenco
Mar 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The world is full of signs and symbols and emblems and omens… One just should learn to read them…
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 w
...more
Seemita
May 08, 2015 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
...more
Jenn(ifer)
Jun 07, 2012 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
...more
Arthur Graham
Sep 09, 2012 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
Barry Pierce
Y'know I feel sorry for Pynchon. He's gained a reputation as a 'difficult writer'. This problem plagues Faulkner as well. People go into Pynchon's and Faulkner's novels and quickly realise that things happen very differently in here and thus, unnerved by the shock of the new, hastily retreat. It's a pity. My best advice for reading Pynchon? Stop trying to understand everything. If a passage, or a page, or hell, even a whole chapter doesn't make any sense, don't bother yourself over it. Just move ...more
Fabian
Aug 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
Dumb. Overrated. And the only plus here? That it's a short novel.

A mystery with no solution. I think the only person that can pull this off is David Lynch. But he's no novelist. 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 Musts list! We do not need a hybrid Don DeLillo, Nathaniel West, David Cronenberg. Truly. Sort of a ridiculous embarrassment.
Michael Finocchiaro
I know everyone thinks that this - along with Gravity's Rainbow - is Pynchon's masterpiece and yes, Oedipa Maas is one crazy-ass protagonist and an incredible addition to the post-modern canon. The story itself was funny and absurd and exciting. I guess I just wanted a conclusion. Sort of like with V where I was really invested but then was like, ummm so what does this all mean?
All that being said, it is still Pynchon and is still amazing.
Kemper
Oct 27, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: famous-books, 100
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
Tom Quinn
Mar 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Pynchon, here in his exuberant "put-me-on-the-mapper," is an antic clown who cartwheeled into my life juggling with words in a way that astounds as it entertains. No one can talk this way but somehow I feel I think this way, a whirly-burly hurdy-gurdy of words and ideas fragmenting and recombining and popping and fizzing inside my skull until it might just crack. Reading this whirlwind of a book is like some bizarre accupressure along those mental fault lines, with Pynchon knuckle-rapping and pr ...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
Richard Derus
Nov 20, 2011 rated it it was ok
Og think nasty writer-man laughing at Og.
Paul
Apr 21, 2012 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
...more
Ricky
Dec 18, 2007 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
Mary
Jun 24, 2012 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
...more
Trevor
May 13, 2011 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
...more
Praj
Dec 17, 2010 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 thermo
...more
Ivana Books Are Magic
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Sign me in for more Thomas Pynchon, please. This was my first reading of him, and I was honestly blown away. How is it possible that I haven't read him sooner? Well, it's never too late to discover a good writer. I'm actually happy that I dived into this novel blissful unaware of anything regrading the author, the time period it was written in or the novel itself. That made the reading all the more fun. The Crying of Lot 49 has proved to be such an exquisite literary surprise! If this novel is a ...more
Michael
Jul 25, 2019 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed both Gravity's Rainbow and Mason & Dixon, but this effort felt flat to me, all joke and no seriousness of purpose. Whereas both GR and MD had their share of satire and often strained attempts at humor, they also had a deadly serious side, a sense that they were "about something" larger, that I confess I couldn't glean from this slimmer work. Really, there are only so many puns and crazy character names and odd paranoid acronyms I can take. I'm sure much of the fault lies with me ...more
Mike Puma
Oct 05, 2010 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
...more
Το Άθχημο Γατί Καρολίνα
This story reminded me of works such as Robert Shea's and Robert Anton Wilson's "Illuminatus Trilogy" released in 1975 and Umberto Eco's "Foucault's Pendulum" released in 1988. This is a book written by an American writer (little is known about Pynchon's identity) , released in 1966, telling the weird story of a young married woman, Oedipa (or Oed) Maas, who, quite unexpectedly, becomes the executor of the late Pierce Inverarity's will .

Her seemingly tranquil and conventional life turns upside
...more
Matthew
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
...more
Martine
Mar 02, 2008 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
Jan-Maat
Er...
you really have to read it for yourself...
Abruptly change the subject...
A literary precursor to The big Lebowski but with more about the postal systems of renaissance Europe...
The figure of the detective or private investigator merges with the quest tradition, at the end do we find C.G. Jung's Synchronicity? An intricate and cunning plot from beyond the grave? Nothing? Mid sixties American picaresque adventure? It you read it yourself you can make your own mind up, or not.
The investigator c
...more
Dusty Myers
Feb 27, 2008 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
Stephen M
Jan 19, 2012 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
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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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