The Crying of Lot 49, Paperback Book
3 out of 5 (6 ratings)


Suffused with rich satire, chaotic brilliance, verbal turbulence and wild humour, "The Crying of Lot 49" opens as Oedipa Maas discovers that she has been made executrix of a former lover's estate.

The performance of her duties sets her on a strange trail of detection, in which bizarre characters crowd in to help or confuse her.

But gradually, death, drugs, madness and marriage combine to leave Oepida in isolation on the threshold of revelation, awaiting "The Crying of Lot 49".

This is one of Pynchon's shortest novels and one of his best.




Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops


Showing 1 - 5 of 6 reviews.

  Previous  |  Next

Review by

More accessible than other Pynchon works, but still mind-blowing in places! Not necessarily to everyone's taste, but to a devotee like myself, a masterpiece! Nobody else writes like this!

Review by

Lurches like a drunk-man, I found this the least compelling.

Review by

Not sure if I enjoyed it - I found it rather laborious and it was a relief to get to the end. It's definitely put me off reading Pynchon's longer works. I quite like his convoluted style but the meandering is a bit over the top and found myself doing double-takes at the endless quick-fire, mid-paragraph scene changes.

Review by

Wow. I'm really not sure about Pynchon, and about this book. Did I even like it? I don't even know! It's a crazy story, told in a semi-crazy manner; there's a conspiracy, some deaths, some intrigue, some amateur detective shenanigans, even an underground postal society. It was tough-going reading parts of it, but I did feel myself getting more and more sucked in.

Review by
Brilliant points of dust/ Dancing in a patch of sun/ Warms the cold within.If William Randolph Hearst were a real estate magnate instead of a newspaper tycoon, if he had developed a city called San Narciso instead of an estate called San Simeon, if he were fictionalized as Pierce Inverarity, with a passion for Tristero, instead of Charles Foster Kane, with a passion for Rosebud, would we have something like The Crying of Lot 49 instead of Citizen Kane? The enigma of the deceased "great man" and the search for the true meaning of his life, and by extension, ours, are central to both CL49 and CK and overshadow the difference in particulars.Pierce Inverarity amassed great wealth, lost a somewhat lesser amount of wealth, and, sometime prior to the start of CL49, died, leaving his former mistress, Oedipa Maas, as his executor. We know little of him except what Oedipa remembers and what she can glean by examining his residuum, his estate. When they were together, Oedipa thought of Pierce as her knight in shining armor, who would rescue her from the gray world of Eisenhower-conservative America. She realizes that escape with him was an illusion and returned to the world of tupperware parties. We first meet her after one such party, recovering from too much kirsch. Accepting the quest, as executor, to discover the truth about Pierce, she is given another chance to escape her suburban prison.Like Thompson, the tenacious reporter in search of Rosebud, Oedipa is a cardboard character, her real character, if there is one, hidden in the shadows. We don't relate to her, only to her mission. She finds that Inverarity owned most of San Narciso and that a shadowy organization, Tristero, is interwoven into the fabric of his legacy world and is insinuating itself into hers. Tristero is many things, but is, most importantly, another level of enigma. We really don't know what to believe about it. Historically an outlaw organization whose purpose is to supplant the state-recognized postal service, its services appeal to the downtrodden, those at the edge of society, those with a severe mistrust of the established order. It seems that Pierce Inverarity has embraced Tristero, being, as was Charlie Kane, "two people," at once a champion of the underdog and their exploiter.Jerry Thompson never discovers Rosebud, but comes to doubt that one word, even though uttered on his deathbed, can capture the essence of the man. Oedipa Maas is still on her quest to uncover Tristero as CL49 ends, its essence unresolved, its essence still at one remove from Pierce Inverarity, but its essence poised, possibly, to open Oedipa unto herself.The uncertainties, the lack of resolution, are intrinsic to the novel and are a reflection of life itself. Pynchon uses the concept of entropy as a motif for uncertainty. The ordered atoms in an ice crystal, the ordered desks at Yoyodyne, Oedipa's captivity, are an entropic stasis representing the rigidity of death. It requires a bit of activation energy to escape this stasis, a kick in the butt that allows entropy to prevail once again, for it to create an interesting diversity for a while, as glacier ice melts to frolic briefly as a mountain stream before becoming locked in the dismal swamps of the bayou. Pierce Inverarity's codicil may have been the boost of activation energy that allows Oedipa to escape her imprisonment, to accept her legacy. It may even carry her back to the Berkeley campus, to radical feminism, and the burning of her panoply of bras. Or not. So it goes.

  Previous  |  Next

Also by Thomas Pynchon   |  View all