"The Crying of Lot 49"
Reading history and reviews
Finished on 8th May 2010Another re-read, of the three Pynchon novels that I've read this is my favourite - it's also the thinnest, and apparently also the one that Pynchon himself thinks the least of (I don't know if these things are related). Ostensibly it's about a woman (Oedipa Maas) who having been appointed as the executor of a wealthy ex-boyfriend's estate, is drawn into a conspiracy that appears to involve a secret underground version of the U.S. postal service. Along the way there are various strange characters and happenings, and the sense that it might in fact all be a massive hoax.
I do love the hallucinatory quality of the story and all the incidental details, such as the references to the Jacobean tragedies and the link to the medieval Thurn and Taxis postal system from Europe (rather like Oedipa, after a while the reader also has problems distinguishing the facts from Pynchon's fiction). In fact with its quick pacing, it could almost be mistaken for a literate, post-modern take on "The DiVinci Code". Maybe that's why the author was so dismissive - but I still think it's great stuff.