Thomas Pynchon: The Crying of Lot 49 – Review

I’ve been meaning to read Pynchon for a long time now and I really didn’t know what to expect. There’s no doubt TCL49 is a very interesting book. Much more strange, and even somewhat silly, than I was expecting. The book definitely has an air of 60s psychedelia to it (which is not at all surprising considering when it was written) and there were a few moments where the absurdity of it all legitimately made me laugh out loud.

Pynchon’s writing is a constant flux of densely packed images broken up by moments of witty surrealism. I understand how it can come across obtuse at times, but I’m surprised to see so many other reviewers have found it so difficult. To me it was not a particularly easy read but it hardly had that air of impenetrability that some of the other early post-modernists are known for.

Overall I’d argue that there are undoubtedly moments of genius in here but it seems like TCL49 only really gives the reader a taste of what Pynchon is capable of. To me, a style like Pynchon’s doesn’t seem suited to a short 150 page story, and that’s coming from a huge fan of short form literature. I can see why some people love it and why some people hate it but reading this made me really excited to dive into V. at some point in the future. Only then could I really decide if I’m a Pynchon fan or not.

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