[Review] The Crying of Lot 49 (Pynchon)

Thomas Pynchon might be the most mysterious fiction writer around. Last night, I finished his famous work The Crying of Lot 49 and I am still unsure what to think. Reviewing this book is difficult for multiple reasons, but one of which is that I am not sure how to review fiction in a way that gets people hooked without giving away important details.

At just over 150 pages, The Crying of Lot 49 is a pretty short and easy read. But the easiness in word length is made up for in the difficulty in trying to understand just what to think about the book. To summarize, the book centers around Oedipa Maas and how she seemingly stumbles upon this vast conspiracy. But is this conspiracy real, a joke played on her, or something else? I do not know what to think, and Oedipa seems to think different things at different points too.

And what is Pynchon trying to communicate with this book? Is it simply supposed to be an enjoyable read (it is enjoyable) or are we supposed to understand that oftentimes the most important factors in life lay below the surface and we do not seem them clearly (a conspiracy is involved, after all) or is the seemingly undecidability between on the matter of whether there is an actual conspiracy or not supposed to point us to the difficulty of some of life’s decisions, etc.? I have no clue.

In the next few days, I figure I will think about The Crying of Lot 49 quite a bit. In fact, I might even re-read it in hope that I will understand what is going on more deeply. Whether you are looking for an enjoyable read, interested in postmodern literary fiction, or just want to find a place to dip into Pynchon’s work, The Crying of Lot 49 is a great choice.


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