Vintage’s reissue series of Thomas Pynchon’s novels and short fiction

thomas-pynchon-yuko-kondo-paperback-design-against-the-day (more…)

We Await Silent Tristero’s Empire

Richard Lacayo introduces the novel

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First edition of Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49

Summoned to serve as executor for the will of her ultra-rich former lover, Oedipa Maas is led into the mystery of Trystero, a shadowy band of, of — of what exactly? They have operated for centuries, connecting the dispossesed, the discontented and the strung out by way of their secret underground postal system, a network that may also serve other ends. As she wanders through California in the mid-1960’s, trying to unravel their secret, Oedipa senses for the first time a larger, weirder universe of the disinherited, a scampering, fugitive reality just beneath the placid surface of what she thinks she knows. With its slapstick paranoia and its heartbreaking metaphysical soliloquies, Lot 49 takes place in the tragicomic universe that is instantly recognizable as Pynchon-land. Is it also a mystery novel? Absolutely, so long as you remember that the mystery here is the one at the heart of everything. (Source) (more…)

Critics respond to Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2014 film, the first adaptation of a Thomas Pynchon novel

Peter Bradshaw (The Guardian)

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Uncorrected Proof of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice

After a publishing career of more than 50 years, Thomas Pynchon has finally allowed one of his novels to be filmed. Inherent Vice, which has been adapted and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, is all about a stoner private detective named Larry “Doc” Sportello in 1970 southern California, called in by an ex-girlfriend to investigate the sinister disappearance of her married lover. It is an occult mystery upon which Doc attempts to shed light using the torch he still carries for her.

The resulting movie is a delirious triumph: a stylish-squared meeting of creative minds, a swirl of hypnosis and symbiosis, with Pynchon’s prose partly assigned to a narrating character and partly diversified into funky dialogue exchanges. Each enigmatic narrative development is a twist of the psychedelic kaleidoscope. (more…)

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Pynchon, DeLillo, Atwood, Dostoyevsky, DeLillo.

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Alberto Comparini (LARB) reviews a new study of the novel-essay and its place in modernity
“Hybrid genres,” and the questionable orthodoxy of traditional genres, are subjects that continue to vex literary theory. Consider Joris-Karl Huysmans’s Against Nature, Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain and Doctor Faustus, Jean-Paul Sartre’s Nausea, or Robert Musil’s The Man without Qualities: What do these novels share? What kind of novels are they? Are these books truly novels, or are they another form altogether?

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From Martin Paul Eve (3:AM Magazine)

Thomas Pynchon ranks among the most critically acclaimed American authors of the past fifty years; certainly so when viewed in terms of academic scholarship. He has two academic journals devoted solely to his work and influence (Pynchon Notes and Orbit: Writing Around Pynchon), over twenty monographs exploring his writing and, since 1978, there have been 23 doctorates awarded in the United Kingdom alone on, or in major part concerning, his fiction. This trend shows no sign of stopping; with apologies to the well-known formulation of James Joyce, almost a century ago, it seems as though Thomas Pynchon will continue to keep the professors busy. (more…)

Why read a ‘difficult’ book?
Emily Temple (Flavorwire) has compiled a list of ’50 Incredibly Tough Books for Extreme Readers’. Their toughness varies from the sheer bulk of the volume (eg. Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Stein’s The Making of Americans), to their stylistic virtuosity (Finnegans Wake, anyone?). But despite their daunting reputations, there can be something special about reading a ‘difficult’ book.

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