wrongtrainrighttime: (Default)
Wrong Train, Right Time ([personal profile] wrongtrainrighttime) wrote2017-04-20 08:18 pm

The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon

Pynchon, Thomas. The Crying of Lot 49. Harper Perennial, 2006.

The Crying of Lot 49 is the story of Oedipa Maas, an ordinary woman who finds herself unexpectedly named executor of an old paramour's will, and in the course of said will execution finds herself wrapped up in a strange (possible) conspiracy involving assassins, plays, and the postal service.

I read The Crying of Lot 49 years ago, and though I didn't reread it until very recently, the book loomed very large in my mind. So much so that when I saw the chance to grab a copy for myself on discount (I'd long since sold that first copy) I snapped it up. So I write about it here with that old knowledge hovering beneath.

The experience of rereading was...strange. Somehow the book was far shorter than I expected, despite knowing it was a short book. I was surprised by how thin it felt, both literally and figuratively. In my memory it was a short but powerful read. It's still short, but it lost whatever power it had over that much younger me. Possibly it was nostalgia's distorting hand. Possibly it's because my tastes have changed substantially. The kind of prose I'm into now is a lot twistier and enigmatic than the prose I was into back then.

It's funny, but in some ways the humor fell flat. It felt like it was humor belonging to and about another time and place, one outside my scope of relevance and one that perhaps doesn't exist anymore. Still, I'd like to look up Pynchon's other work one day. There's no doubt that he has a very distinct style and I did enjoy The Crying of Lot 49, even if it matched rather strangely to my memories.

All in all, rereading it was fun meander down and back Memory Lane. But I don't think I'll keep the book. Next time, I'll just borrow it from the library.

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