Ranking the works of Thomas Pynchon

One of the literary giants of 20th century American Literature. Noted critic Harold Bloom cites Pynchon, along with Cormac McCarthy, Don DeLillo, and Phillip Roth as the greatest living American authors. I am interested in seeing the thoughts of the Goodreaders on how Pynchon's books stack up.
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3.69 avg rating — 77,935 ratings
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3.96 avg rating — 21,550 ratings
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3.90 avg rating — 10,726 ratings
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3.73 avg rating — 31,829 ratings
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3.70 avg rating — 10,073 ratings
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3.58 avg rating — 11,210 ratings
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9 books · 253 voters · list created December 11th, 2009 by DB (votes) .
25 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


DB 362 books
11 friends
Jim 1673 books
58 friends
Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) 546 books
371 friends
nathank 331 books
4 friends
David 1148 books
171 friends
Dan 204 books
19 friends
Brian H. 697 books
79 friends
Tom 954 books
77 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-16 of 16 (16 new)

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message 1: by DB (new)

DB Feel free to opine


message 2: by Tom (new)

Tom Mason & Dixon is, for me, Pynchon's best.


message 3: by Duncan (new)

Duncan Having read all but Inherent Vice, I'd say M&D and ATD are by far my favourites. There is no denying the glory of GR though, its something else!


message 4: by Darwin8u (new)

Darwin8u Pig wrote: "Having read all but Inherent Vice, I'd say M&D and ATD are by far my favourites. There is no denying the glory of GR though, its something else!"

Agreed. I told my good friend that I think ATD is the best, but M&D is my favorite, and GR is the most important (obviously).


message 5: by Stan (new)

Stan Golanka I haven't read M&D yet, but after GR, I'd put V. Splitting hairs, though. The ranking shouldn't be 1, 2, 3, ..., it should be 1.0, 1.1, 1.2, ...


message 6: by Craig (new)

Craig Fulton I don't know. Maybe I should try M&D again. Never did find it very good. ATD and GR are two of the best ever.


message 7: by Phil (new)

Phil For me, it's a toss-up between M&D and V. I'd have to give GR another go because I read it while on vacation and probably wasn't paying close enough attention.


message 8: by Stan (new)

Stan Golanka I read M&D this summer; I have to update my list. M&D is up there with the best of his. I like them all; but M&D, GR, V--along with ATD--make up his top tier.


message 9: by Rayroy (new)

Rayroy Against the Day is the best!


Sentimental Surrealist While I'm saying Gravity's Rainbow is #1 now, I think Mason & Dixon has the potential to surpass it. I'd have to finish it, which I'm about 300 pages away from doing.

Right now, it's Gravity's Rainbow -> the first 500 pages of Maxon & Dixon -> Crying of Lot 49 -> V. All of which are awesome, of course.


message 11: by Gordon (new)

Gordon 1. M&D easily - coherent and moving in a way that is very satisfying
2. Gravity's Rainbow - pure white knuckle excitement
3. ATD - so, so much wonderful information
4. Inherent Vice - a strange fun treat
5. Crying of Lot 49 - nice and tight
6. V - odd in a compelling way. like a crash you can't help staring at
7. Vineland. Because it's last does not mean it's not enjoyable. It simply lacks the fireworks of the others, and I imagine that may be its strength. Next on my re-read list


Sentimental Surrealist Now that I've read all of Pynchon's novels (I'm sitting on Slow Learner), here's how I'd rate them...

1. Gravity's Rainbow
2. Mason & Dixon
3. The Crying of Lot 49
4. Against the Day
5. V.
6. Bleeding Edge
7. Inherent Vice
8. Vineland


message 13: by Cameron (new)

Cameron Wiggins Phil wrote: "For me, it's a toss-up between M&D and V. I'd have to give GR another go because I read it while on vacation and probably wasn't paying close enough attention."

Phil:

I agree with you. One has to be paying close attention to GR. I was struggling with health issues at the time, and thus, while I found GR to be a very good book I was constantly going back, wasn't reading too fast at the time either.

Cam


message 14: by Edie (new)

Edie Maas Just started Bleeding Edge, and have yet to get to M&D (though am glad to hear it's well thought of!)

but so far:

1: Against the Day
2: Lot 49/Gravity's Rainbow (tied in a close 2nd)
3: Vineland (I found this a very different flavour of Pynchon, but quietly devastating in a way none of his others were. Got the feeling it was coming from somewhere a bit more personal?)
4: Inherent Vice
5: V
6: Slow Learner (mostly terrible)


message 15: by Michael (new)

Michael Finocchiaro DB wrote: "Feel free to opine"
My favourites in order are:
1/ Mason & Dixon <-- absolutely love the character development
2/ Gravity's Rainbow <-- zany and intelligent
3/ Against the Day <-- loved this one end-to-end
4/ Bleeding Edge <-- a 40something Jewish female protagonist - wow!
5/ V. <-- classic
6/ Crying of Lot 49 <-- great but i was frustrated by the ending
7/ Inherent Vice <-- made a great movie
8/ Vineland <-- not his best
9/ Slow Learner: Early Stories <-- kernels of genius here


message 16: by Nick (new)

Nick I don't think it's a complete coincidence that my ranking is almost exactly by book-length (AtD inbound in 2019).

With Pynchon I usually am just enjoying the ride so much that, regardless of which novel, the longer it goes on the better.

Which makes AtD pretty appealing. Will report back once I've completed the journey.


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