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The Crying of Lot 49; Spiffy!
Topic Started: Jan 6 2007, 12:36 PM (8,929 Views)
ions
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Lost at sea
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Read it yesterday. Not in a single sitting as planned unfortunately. When the re-read comes it will be read that way. Anyway...

What a neat book! This was fun! Really neat book about paranoia and excess. About a lot more as well but I only finished last night and it's still percolating away. Much easier than V., perhaps because it's shorter? But also because it is certainly much more linear and cinematic than V.

5/5, loved it.
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Pointsman
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I read it in one sitting... I thought somebody had soaked LSD into the pages and got into my blood stream via the sweat pores... Turns out it was just the plot. Great novel though.
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Martstar
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Slow Learner
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Yeah, Lot 49 is the "easy" one, but a good one at that. Pynchon has sense disowned it as being written to make a quick buck to sustain himself while writing GR, but perhaps he's just being dodgy. Anyhow, it's still a book that is very dense with ideas, and I think you're right that the linear narrative is helpful in better orienting his other works. I do like the paranoia and the journey through underground systems that may or may not be a conspiracy. I've read that Pynchon is a fan of both Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz, which definitely comes out in all of his works, but Lot 49 in particular. It's interesting to see Oedipa's adventures in comparison to Alice's adventures down the rabbit hole or Dorothy's over the rainbow. Hmmm, rainbow.....
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WilliamTwellman
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Lot 49 is probably my favorite Pynchon (Gravity's drags just a wee bit but is possibly more fevered and transcendent) The lot packs a killer punch and can indeed be read in one day. It really makes me wish Pynchon would treat us to another fiction under 300 pages someday.
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kline19
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worker bee
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Lot 49 works like an espresso shot... it was my first pynchon and happened to be one of those book-that-changed-your-life deals...
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Bleak
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again, I'm in the minority here but the prose of Lot 49 rubs me completely wrong, despite the fact that it was written concurrently with GR, which I consider his prose masterpiece.

I dunno- the prose, the names... everything just seems so off compared to GR, although even lesser Pynchon is admittedly pretty fascinating.
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WilliamTwellman
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skull-walker
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I disagree. It's also the differance of California early beat culture vs. kitchy WW2 pastiche. I also like how crying is much more overtly a comedy as opposed to a giant melodrama with hints of comedy (Gravity's, ATD). He tried for a similar approach with Vineland and while I like that book, the inner framework of 49 makes it a superior work IMO. I don't know why I'm ripping on the Rainbow lately, I've read it 3 times and it is one of my all time favorite works. I'm preparing to get attacked by a Giant Adenoid soon.
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kl0pper
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Bleakhaus
Jan 8 2007, 08:49 AM
again, I'm in the minority here but the prose of Lot 49 rubs me completely wrong, despite the fact that it was written concurrently with GR, which I consider his prose masterpiece.

I dunno- the prose, the names... everything just seems so off compared to GR, although even lesser Pynchon is admittedly pretty fascinating.

i agree with you, i hate lot 49.
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Mr Self Destruct
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It wasn't until I started reading these posts did I realize that there's such animosity for "Lot 49". While it is the simplest of Pynchon's books, that doesn't mean it's lacking at all. I've read it multiple times and enjoy the hell out of it each time. I enjoy it much more than "Vineland" and it's more approachable (and FAR less demanding) than "GR". While it doesn't have the scope of the larger works, It's a great read. AND it's the book I use to introduce my students to Pynchon when they're ready to move on. Where they go from there is their choice, but I've not yet had a kid come back and tell me they were less than mesmerized by "Lot 49".
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Martstar
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Mr Self Destruct
Feb 1 2007, 10:02 PM
It wasn't until I started reading these posts did I realize that there's such animosity for "Lot 49". While it is the simplest of Pynchon's books, that doesn't mean it's lacking at all. I've read it multiple times and enjoy the hell out of it each time. I enjoy it much more than "Vineland" and it's more approachable (and FAR less demanding) than "GR". While it doesn't have the scope of the larger works, It's a great read. AND it's the book I use to introduce my students to Pynchon when they're ready to move on. Where they go from there is their choice, but I've not yet had a kid come back and tell me they were less than mesmerized by "Lot 49".

I think the backlash might be a combination of Pynchon's dismissal of it in the intro to Slow Learner and the fact that it's overall easier than his other works and therefore not as much of a mental challenge. Bring out the big books, and sometimes the whole thing turns into a pissing contest.

By the way, are you/were you on MySpace under the same screen name?
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Bleak
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Bleakhaus
Jan 8 2007, 08:49 AM
again, I'm in the minority here but the prose of Lot 49 rubs me completely wrong, despite the fact that it was written concurrently with GR, which I consider his prose masterpiece.

I dunno- the prose, the names... everything just seems so off compared to GR, although even lesser Pynchon is admittedly pretty fascinating.

I'm reading this again for the first time in 8 years, and I must say I'm liking it far more than I remember. I still don't think it clicks as frequently or precisely as GR, but saying it's not as good as GR isn't exactly revolutionary.

I'm enjoying it!
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onefatman
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Bleakhaus
Mar 18 2007, 11:24 PM
Bleakhaus
Jan 8 2007, 08:49 AM
again, I'm in the minority here but the prose of Lot 49 rubs me completely wrong, despite the fact that it was written concurrently with GR, which I consider his prose masterpiece.

I dunno- the prose, the names... everything just seems so off compared to GR, although even lesser Pynchon is admittedly pretty fascinating.

I'm reading this again for the first time in 8 years, and I must say I'm liking it far more than I remember. I still don't think it clicks as frequently or precisely as GR, but saying it's not as good as GR isn't exactly revolutionary.

I'm enjoying it!

I like it less than Vineland, although I appear to be the only one on this board to do so, maybe doing a close reading and writing a half-finished paper on the book has damaged it to me. the references are all so...its like someone wrote a book ripping off pynchon.
doesn't mean its not good but it doesn't shine as the others to (in my memory...)
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kline19
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worker bee
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if you can pull thru the book in one sitting it works like a drug.. :D
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Bleak
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I am completely changing my tune after this second read. It's SO MUCH BETTER the second time through.

I'd compare it to The Big Lebowski, one of my favorite movies, because, like CoL49 it's easy to completely not get the first time through because you're struggling to follow the plot, and the plot doesn't make any fucking sense!

Much more so than other Pynchon novels, I feel.
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kline19
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worker bee
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i agree.. Big Lebowski and ..Lot49 in their own ways has go this mad, sick quality to them. i have watched big lebowski like 15 times and every time i watch it and every the Dude&Walter duo amaze me so much like i am watching their schtick the first time.
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I Am Not Hamlet
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the waxwing slain
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/...character-names
Article by The Guardian on bad character names;

One of the comments from readers:
Quote:
 
LordRaglan

Oct 24 08, 9:37am (about 18 hours ago)

I was massively irritated by almost all of the character names in Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 - you could pick any of them, but Dr. Hilarius, Mike Fallopian and Genghis Cohen are particuarly grating. Couldn't work out what he was trying to do with them.




X |
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Bleak
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I Am Not Hamlet
Oct 25 2008, 03:05 AM
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/...character-names
Article by The Guardian on bad character names;

One of the comments from readers:
Quote:
 
LordRaglan

Oct 24 08, 9:37am (about 18 hours ago)

I was massively irritated by almost all of the character names in Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 - you could pick any of them, but Dr. Hilarius, Mike Fallopian and Genghis Cohen are particuarly grating. Couldn't work out what he was trying to do with them.




X |

I have a CoL49 tattoo for Christ's sake and I *STILL* find Oedipa Maas a terrible character name. Not as bad as Frenesi Gates, tho...
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Disco Sanchez
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Oedipa is an AWESOME name. Maas, well, is not. So TP gets 1/2 a point for that one, but considering he gets five points extra credit for Manny DiPrezzo, his minor lapse in nomenclatural excellence does nothing to ruin his A++.
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SeizureToday
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Doesn't Oedipa Mass kinda look like Sam Spade backwards?

And, the hell with you, Mike Fallopian is a spectacular name!
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John Gargo
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I actually just read this book... took me two days. I have previously read V., and while this book doesn't have the last act structural revelation that his debut novel had (aside from the meaning of the title of course), I thought it was a fantastic book. I bet I pick up on more "clues" on multiple readings which, given its relatively brief length, TCL49 is perfectly suited for. I'll give it another go in a couple of months.
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