Book Review – The Crying of Lot 49

By Thomas Pynchon
Started: 4th September 2014
Finished: 6th September 2014

I’ve never heard of this novella or author before seeing it on my university reading list. The description of the novella confused me, and reading the book hasn’t made the plot much clearer…

This novella follows Oedpia Maas, her lover has recently died and she has been made the executor of his estate. On her journey she comes across many strange discoveries, ranging from her husband, to her shrink to an underground postal system.

There are a few characters in this novel, we only see a small bit of them before we’re quickly moved on again, and possibly return to them at another time. It’s because of this you don’t really make a connection with any of them, apart from Oedipa (and even then I found it a struggle). She can be likeable at times, I liked how determined she was to get to the bottom of the WASTE postal system. However because of the way the story is told, it’s difficult to keep up with her.

The narrative in this novella is very chaotic and fast paced. The fact that it is a novella and not a novel is both a blessing and a curse: I don’t think I would have been able to stick with the book had it been longer with this narrative style, however if it was longer there may have been more time to get to grips with what was really happening. The plot that I could distinguish was interesting, I was intrigued by the WASTE postal system and what it was doing. I also enjoyed the IA who claim that “love is the worst addiction of all.”

I found it difficult to keep up with the novel, if I lost concentration for a moment I would look back at my page and not really know what was going on. Despite some of the problems I had with this novella, I’m glad I made it to the end. I liked how a couple of things were tied up and the explanation of the title of the book. Although I’m sure if I kept up with the novel, the discoveries at the end would have made a lot more sense (but I’m pretty happy from what I got from it myself).

This novella was a little to surreal and fast for me. However, I think I’m going to enjoy studying it and finding out what it was really all about.

Rating: 2/5

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