Why did I read it?
Currently, I am working on a Master’s degree in English, and we have to take a monster of an exam at the end of our studies. It’s almost time for me to take said exam, and I am nearing the end of The List (an extensive reading list that extends from Beowulf to now). As you may have guessed, The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon is one of the works on The List.
What’s it about?
Oedipa Maas learns she is co-executor for her ex-boyfriend’s will. Looking through his stamp collection leads her to what she believes is the discovery of a conflict between two mail distribution companies that has spanned two continents and several centuries.
What did I think?
I am a little sad that my first review is a negative one, but alas, it is so. I like to call books like this one pretentious, but Thomas Pynchon probably was not pretentious or trying to confuse readers on purpose (maybe he was but benefit of the doubt and all). Additionally, I think what I register as pretension is actually just postmodernism.
My very brief summary is the only main plot point that I can say for sure actually happened, and the book does not end in resolution. Pynchon leaves you wondering if everything was a result of paranoia on Oedipa’s part or if she actually uncovered a conspiracy. In certain sections of the novel, I started to think I liked it, but then description would start meandering off into sometimes unintelligible directions again.
I am glad I checked this book out instead of buying it because I will not read it again. Rambling narration and a lack of resolution are not my cup of tea. However, it was not enough to make me avoid Pynchon’s other novels, so I might give Inherent Vice a try before dismissing Pynchon forever.