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The Crying of Lot 49

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  54,513 Ratings  ·  3,477 Reviews
Oedipa Maas, pur symbole de la femme californienne des années 60, est nommée exécutrice testamentaire d'un de ses anciens amants. Au gré de l'exécution dudit testament, une foule de personnages hauts en couleur vont surgir sur le chemin d'Oedipa. Elle va découvrir un réseau de vies parallèles bien étrange, créé à partir de la figure mythique d'un personnage du XVIe siècle, ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published June 6th 1996 by Vintage Classics (first published 1966)
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Art 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  ·  review of another edition
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" Grayejoy
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  ·  review of another edition
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 "
May 08, 2015 Seemita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
J.L.   Sutton
Jan 13, 2014 J.L. Sutton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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’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 (mostly in the form of an ‘underground’ postal system), some heavy-duty neurosis and 60s LA suburbia. When you have all that, it’s just ...more
Jun 07, 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
Arthur Graham
Sep 09, 2012 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
Oct 27, 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
Richard Derus
Og think nasty writer-man laughing at Og.
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.
Apr 21, 2012 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
Jun 24, 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
Dec 18, 2007 Richard rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 22, 2012 Fabian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Dumb. Overrated. The only plus? It's 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 Musts list! We do not need a hybrid Don DeLillo, Nathaniel West, David Cronenberg. Truly. A ridiculous embarrassment.
Jun 26, 2017 Sofia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Διαβάζοντας και την τελευταία λέξη της Συλλογής των 49 στο Σφυρί, άφησα το βιβλίο πάνω στο τραπέζι κι έμεινα να το κοιτάζω κάπως αμήχανη για κανένα 10λεπτο. Σε αυτά τα 10 λεπτά, άρχισα έναν φανταστικό διάλογο με τον εαυτό μου (ας μου συγχωρεθεί αυτή η ελαφριά παράνοια) για το αν θα έπρεπε να το ξαναδιαβάσω ή όχι. Καλύτερα όμως να βάλουμε μία άνω τελεία ξεκινώντας, όπως πρέπει, με την υπόθεση του βιβλίου. Και κάπου εδώ σχεδόν ακούω το ειρωνικό γελάκι του Pynchon-καλή του ώρα όπου κι αν βρίσκεται- ...more
Apr 14, 2017 Paradoxe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
δεν ήθελα να τελειώσει, όχι για να μάθω κάτι περισσότερο αλλά γιατί το κομφούζιο γράψιμο θα μου λείψει. Είναι σαν τη ζωή. Αν κοιτάξεις το χώμα, θα δεις ένα έντομο να περπατάει στο έδαφος, μετά ελευθερώνοντας τη σκηνή από την εστίαση σου, παρατηρείς τον αέρα να κινεί τα φύλλα, τα κορδόνια στα παπούτσια κάποιου που διασχίζει την απέναντι γωνία. Αυτά και άλλα ήταν εκεί ταυτόχρονα με το έντομο, συνηθίζεις όμως με τάξη να στοχεύεις ένα πράγμα τη φορά, όλα όμως κι εσύ ακόμα γίνονται μαζί, σαν τ
Mar 02, 2008 Martine rated it liked it
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
May 13, 2011 Trevor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 17, 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
Vit Babenco
Mar 19, 2015 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
Stephen M
Jan 19, 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
¡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
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
Dusty Myers
Feb 27, 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
Mike Puma
Oct 05, 2010 Mike Puma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Greg Z
UPDATE: This author interprets the Beatles' famous song, "She Loves You," in a way I had never thought about. Whether it is a new interpretation or not, I don't know. But in summary, "she" is every woman who has ever lived, and "you" is all of us. And given further thoughts supplied by other goodread readers, I'm gonna add a star to my original two-star rating. "Change my mind, please," I always say! The ending might indeed be the perfect ending for this book after all, as my goodreads friend To ...more
May 10, 2014 Christopher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Shall I project a world?" -Oedipa Maas

You need to get past the names thing and the fact that it is very hard to care about an underground postal service. This is a book that transcends its socio-historical matrix, at least in the realm of the intellect, even if the humour does not raise a chuckle, the patterns of language consult with the basal ganglia. So, where to begin? Our W.A.S.T.E. of time may recall an image. The image not of a letter purloined, but of an entire postal system that is mer
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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?” 106 likes
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