K.D. Absolutely's Reviews > The Crying of Lot 49

The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon
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bookshelves: 1001-core
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Must Read Books and Time Magazine's 100 Best English Novels
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The Crying of Lot 49 (1966) is the shortest novel of Thomas Pynchon,an American novelist based in New York City and noted for his dense and complex works of fiction. You should see his more voluminous other two novels, Gravity's Rainbow (1973) and Mason & Dixson (1997) and you will have the urge to read The Crying first to test if you will be able to understand him. So, yesterday, I tried.

My main problem with some authors of satire like Salman Rushdie (at least in The Satanic Verses) is how they used terms and phrases that must be familiar to their intended audience. This is also true here in TCOL49. The setting is in the 60's during the Rock and Roll era. The main protagonist is a woman called Oedipa Maas and it is about her quest for the truth regarding a hidden organization whose acronym is W.A.S.T.E. This organization is the underground competitor of the actual mail distribution company, Thurn und Taxis that was the first firm to distribute postal mail in 1577. Thurn and Taxis defeated the other company, Trystero (or Tristero) in 1700 but persisted doing business underground under the acronym of W.A.S.T.E.

The story revolves around how Oedipa unearthed this organization's existence. Along the way, she alienated herself from his relatives and friends as gets entangled with many new characters, sex and drugs. There were interesting funny characters spoofing Sigmund Freud and The Beatles. Pynchon also incorporated songs during the era so the reading is enjoyable as the melody and lyrics can play in your mind while you read the adventures of Oedipa. In one of the Beatles songs, he altered some lyrics and incorporated Humbert Humbert and Lolita the nymphet and I glowed in recognition. I Googled his autobiography and found out that Pynchon actually sat in the writing classes of Nabokov and Pynchon wrote TCOL49 at the height of Lolita's fame.

Thomas Pynchon's name has always been popping up during deliberations for Nobel Prize for Literature. He already won The National Award for Gravity's Rainbow (my next book of him) in 1974. Having read TCOL49, I am sure this will come true in the next few years.
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Reading Progress

November 16, 2009 – Shelved
February 12, 2010 – Started Reading
February 12, 2010 –
page 44
February 13, 2010 – Finished Reading
August 26, 2011 – Shelved as: 1001-core

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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Angus This is the worst book that I ever read. I don't get it at all. I hope he doesn't win the Nobel, hehe.

K.D. Absolutely Really? I liked it! Pynchon is not easy to read. That's why I have not dared start his thicker books. Maybe after Ulysses!

Angus I simply don't get what he is trying to say. And I think he is baduy. Oedipa Maas? May galit pala talaga kay Pynchon eh, haha. But I kinda liked the part where they were enacting a that knightey play.

K.D. Absolutely I couldn't react. I forgot the details of the story already. :)

Ryan I don't think he is trying to say much of anything, to tell the truth. I suppose all you can do is enjoy his books for what they are rather than hate them for what they're not.

K.D. Absolutely I agree, Ryan. :)

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