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Worth reading, but possibly past its prime.
by greebs on September 10, 2008When I first told a co-worker I was enjoying my first foray into Thomas Pynchon, he snidely remarked, "NO ONE enjoys Pynchon...you experience him." That comment was intentionally pretentious, but there's some truth to it -- there is simply no way to digest Pynchon completely upon first read -- the question is whether or not you'll be intrigued enough to go back for another.
In the case of THE CRYING OF LOT 49, my personal answer is no. It's certainly a clever book, and it feels quite modern given that it was written over 45 years ago in 1962. But the main conceit of the book, which I won't spoil, has been rendered far less shocking in the years that have since passed. While having cleverly named characters is worth something, the story itself isn't all that compelling - and the allegories and references Pynchon is making often went over my head. In many ways, reading his books is like staring at extreme modern art - it's often pleasant, but just as often makes you wonder if you are getting it at all.
While I may try to tackle some of his larger works, the next time I want a confusing, overly clever book to read, I'll stick with David Foster Wallace.
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