For as long as I could read comprehensively, I have always believed that great writing centered around well written stories that would both provide a certain measure of unaffected pleasure, as well as challenge the readers perception of the world at large; both within and outside of the sphere of its prose. Thomas Pynchons' The Crying of Lot 49 encompasses both of those requirements; by enfolding his readers, through a variety of means, within the intricate workings of his narrative. It centers around would be heroine Oedipa Maas, a practical but somewhat restless woman, who's life is turned upside down when she discovers that she has been made executor of the estate of old flame and entrepreneur Pierce Inverarity. When she is imposed upon to travel to the fictional city of San Narcisco, where Inverarity is said to have numerous real estate holdings, in order to carry out her task, Oedipa stumbles upon a muted post horn; the first of many clues leading her deep into the impenetrable conspiracy surrounding Trystero, an underground postal system shrouded in mystery and intrigue; opening her eyes to an alternative way of life. This post modern work of literature infuses dark humor and irony instigating a metamorphosis of intellectually challenging material; subsequently luring us, his readers who have unknowingly become a part of the conspiracy, into the methodical chaos of The Crying of Lot 49.
Well known for incorporating the basic ideas of philosophy and physics into all of his writings, Pynchon states that the "measure of the world is its entropy" (The Grim Phoenix, pg.2); an assertion that extends into the worlds he has created within th...
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...te of the fact that this book accomplished its task, which I am supposing was to challenge my perceptions and reawaken some innate sense of self realization within me; to borrow the words of another, after enduring the torture of Pynchon's text for seven straight days my final assessment leads me to conclude that the covers of this book are too far apart.
Plater, William M. The Grim Phoenix: Reconstructing Thomas Pynchon. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1978
Tanner, Tony. Thomas Pynchon. London: Metheun, 1982.
Johnstone, John. "Toward the Schizo-Text: Paranoia as Semiotic Regime in The Crying of Lot 49." New Essays on The Crying of Lot 49. Ed., Patrick O'Donnell. Cambridge UP, 1991. 47-78.
O'Donnell, Patrick. Ed., New Essays on The Crying of Lot 49.. Cambridge UP, 1991.
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