Book List


2) The Crying of Lot 49 Dec-2011 thru Jan-2012 (a pick by Mark M) by Thomas Pynchon

1) Walden Nov-2011 thru Jan 2012 - (a pick by Mary Lou): Walden, Henry D. Thoreau

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Crying of Lot 49 - What is Oedipa really searching for?

In this Thomas Pynchon short novel, we follow Oedipa Maas, the executrix of her former wealthy boyfriend, traveling from point to point trying to understand and uncover what Inverarity has possibly encoded/disguised in his estate holdings.

(Thus, in the end, was Inverarity trying to lead Oedipa to some grand prize/knowledge/adventure, or just frustrate her in a last jealous revenge?)

I found the novel full of great Americana-descriptions of what must have been certain aspects of the 1960's California, as Oedipa struggles and searches for clues, stumbling and mixing advanced scientific concepts (entropy, thermodynamics, Maxwell's Demon) with interesting new and old psychology (Freudian observations, paranoia, LSD experiments), with varying aspects of social and economic interplays, especially how communciations plays such a potent role in society - (the mail system being an underlying plot).

What may be the best part of the novel is Pynchon's (sometimes long) sentences describing these many things.

"The salvation... depends on communication .. Nobody could move troops, farm produce, anything, without us."

"... in the buses all night... trying to hear one of these (melodies) through snarling static from the bus's motor, hummed along as if she would remember it always, tracing post horns and hearts with a fingernail, in the haze of her breath on the window."

"...I came hoping you could talk me out of a fantasy. Hilarius(her psychiatrist): Cherish it! What else do any of you have. Hold it tightly by its little tentacle, don't let the Freudians coax it away or the pharmacists poison it out of you."

"...,with the courage you find you have when there is nothing more to lose, ..."

My overall thought: Nicely and shortly done - MM

Crying_of_Lot_49 - Mark's Flickr photo

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