John Wiswell's Reviews > The Crying of Lot 49

The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon
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it was amazing

This was my first exposure to Thomas Pynchon and I’m smitten. He seems to have answered the challenge of postmodernism with raw absurdism, nonsense hammered into consistent plot-like shapes, and the results are unique fiction. There isn’t a page when he doesn’t offer something unusual, whether it’s wording (Oedipa feels terror in her “colon” instead of her gut), plotting (she throws on a snowsuit before playing a verbal game of strip poker), or social commentary (both anarchism and Freudianism are practiced as flawed religions). The Crying of Lot 49 feels like the work of a demented, cosmopolitan Garrison Keillor, able to access all of culture rather than just what runs through a small town, and eager to run to the very edges of content with serious reflections on bad music and jokes about social networks of people who failed suicide. That these pell-mell building blocks form into a picture of a conspiracy theory about the postal service and the order of the universe is even better. In a year when I’ve read several books that nosedived in the end, it was a joy to read something simultaneously so competent and reckless that any ending it forged would probably acceptable. That the ending seems to pull a Coen Brothers before the Coens were even famous is funny. There isn’t one big argument here, one grand opinion of which you must be lectured. This is untamed humor and humanity, exposed through your experience of his style.
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Reading Progress

June 12, 2008 – Shelved
November 30, 2011 – Started Reading
December 3, 2011 – Finished Reading

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