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The Crying of Lot 49
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Anita Pomerantz | 166 comments I can count on one hand the number of books I've rated one star, but this book was simply awful. From the non-existent character development (never mind their motivations) to the irritating fake history descriptions to the mere semblance of a plot . . .other than the use of vocabulary, I struggled to find anything redeeming about it. Did I mention it was breathtakingly boring? It might be great if you have insomnia and need a sleep aid. I challenge you to read more than 10 pages after 8 pm and stay awake.

The plot is ostensibly about a women, Oedipa Maas, who is named as the executor for her ex-boyfriend's will. As she goes about her duties, she appears to unearth an alternative postal system called W.A.S.T.E. As you tries to unravel the "mystery" of W.A.S.T.E., she visits a number of people who provide clues, many of whom shortly thereafter die and most of whom have some sort of affiliation with her ex. Over time, Oedipa isn't sure if she's uncovering some kind of conspiracy or if perhaps the joke is on her, and her ex set her up for sort of crazy-making wild goose chase.

The good news is that reader couldn't give a darn, because lo and behold, the author leaves the true answer up in the air. After boring the reader to tears.

So if you like a book with next to no character development, a lot of punny names (Stanley Koteks give you an idea of how juvenile it gets), a snorefest of a plot, and no resolution, then this book is for you.

I'll give it this - it was short. Thank god.

On another entirely unrelated note, it did become very, very clear to me that David Foster Wallace was heavily influenced by Pynchon. I thought Infinite Jest was very creative (even though I definitely was not a fan) with moments of brilliance, but now, I can see how much he was inspired by this guy. I did laugh some at Infinite Jest, and I managed to read the whooolllle thing. So it was better. I don't think I could have stood one more page of Pynchon.


message 2: by Jen (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jen | 1608 comments Mod
Anita wrote: "I can count on one hand the number of books I've rated one star, but this book was simply awful. From the non-existent character development (never mind their motivations) to the irritating fake hi..."

I LOVED infinite jest and strongly disliked this book but I can also see how Wallace was influenced by Pynchon.

This book did make me very sleepy. I did fall asleep repeatedly when trying to read it.


Anita Pomerantz | 166 comments Jen wrote: "Anita wrote: "I can count on one hand the number of books I've rated one star, but this book was simply awful. From the non-existent character development (never mind their motivations) to the irri..."

Honestly, I think it could be prescribed as a sleep aid.

I knew you loved IJ, and it is so interesting because I think a terrific thesis could be written comparing the writing of the two authors. I wasn't a fan of Infinite Jest nor The Pale King, but there's a je ne sais quoi about Wallace that I find intriguing. I feel like he plays with language and ideas in a way that is interesting which I did not feel at all with this book.


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