Friday, 22 October 2010
The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon
Ah I am naïve (or ignorant)sometimes. When I composed my list of American Classics to read (see 'The American Project') I merrily threw caution to the wind and added authors that I had never heard of, as well as those I had, with not the faintest idea of what their writing was actually like. Thomas Pynchon was one such author. Both 'Gravity's Rainbow' and 'The Crying of Lot 49' were both on my list. I read 'The Crying of Lot 49' first after a suggestion from Brenna of Literary Musings and boy am I glad I listened to her.
The Crying of Lot 49 is a small book at just over 100 pages long and I can't really do a proper synopsis as I am sure I only got the general gist of the plot. It has something to do with a woman called Oedipa investigating a conflict between two mail companies in America one of which has been forced to operate underground. Anyway she runs around bumping into wacky and strange characters while she investigates this and it all (I think) has something to do with her late ex-boyfriend's will...I think, frankly I'm still not sure.
Some parts of this book actually had me laughing and was really funny. I read out a couple of bits to Chris because I found them so funny, but he only looked at me confused before asking “What the hell are you reading? What kind of idiot would post a St. Bernard on periscope watch during the Battle of Gallipoli?'. I had to quickly explain that I was describing a film in the book which Oedipa was describing. Makes perfect sense then.
Despite not having a clue what was going on I struggled through, laughing in places, finding other parts strangely melancholy and yet other parts frustrating and boring. During this I had but one thought in my head; there is no WAY I am reading Gravity's Window.
So while I can belong to the club of people that have read a Thomas Pynchon book I will never belong to the rather elite group of people that have tackled Gravity's Window because I am taking that off the list.
One person who has recently read Gravity's Window is Greg from The New Dork Review of Books. You should go over there and pat him on the back, he deserves it :)
Posted by Jess