O! what Man will do fore a Rime!

Self-proclaimed bibliophile, culture nut and nerdfighter. English lit. and linguistics geek. Future career in publishing.

The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon

The Crying of Lot 49 - Thomas Pynchon

"Blimey," somebody remarked. "Coo." Oedipa took her teeth out of Metzger, looked around and saw in the doorway Miles, the kid with the bangs and mohair suit, now multiplied by four. It seemed to be the group he'd mentioned, the Paranoids. She couldn't tell them apart, three of them were carrying electric guitars, they all had their mouth open. There also appeared a number of girls' faces, gazing through armpits and around angles of knees. "That's kinky," said one of the girls.

- The Crying of Lot 49

p. 25-26



Note: The review below was taken directly from my Goodreads account.


The Crying of Lot 49 is about a Californian housewife, Oedipa Maas, who sort of uncovers some postal conspiracy while executing her late ex-boyfriend's will.

I have mixed feelings about this book. Postmodernism isn't always my cup of tea, but sometimes I really enjoy it. This novella was kind of in between.

Prepare yourselves for some lists!

Awesome Parts

Character Names
The names of these characters are insanely hilarious. We have Mucho Maas, Oedipa's husband; Mike Fallopian; Dr. Hilarius; a writer dude with the last name Blobb; and -- I laughed for like five minutes when I read this -- Genghis Cohen. Pynchon knows how to make memorable, funny names.

The Hotel Scene
I don't want to spoil too much, but two people bone after a hairspray can ruptures and flies around the room, reminiscent of some Saturday morning cartoon.

The Beatles Parody
There is a group of young American dudes who form a band called the Paranoids and they sing in British (I assume, English) accents. They sing a song called "I Want to Kiss Your Feet", a clear parody of "I Want to Hold Your Hand". And also mentions of LSD being whoooooaaaaa.

Dr. Hilarius
He's quite the character and probably not a very good therapist/psychologist. Totally into Freud and against Jung. Surprise Nazi! I always like it when authors link a character back to Nazism because I find surviving Nazis fascinating in a how-do-you-live-with-yourselves way and I can see how different authors deal with this.

Meh Parts

The Conspiracy
I'm certain that it's a satire on society at the time and the aspect of whether Oedipa is imagining it all or not was cool, but the conspiracy wasn't as interesting as it started out. It was a bit of a letdown, honestly. But comical in a way.

Mucho Maas
The amount of caring I had toward any and all interactions Oedipa had with him was nonexistent.

The more I think about it, the more I like it. Maybe I'll change the star rating later. It's a short read, but it's a bit tough at first. And all throughout the novella, I thought Oedipa was a black woman, but this neo-Nazi shop owner wouldn't have used the n-word around her if she were (it happens late in the book), so that shattered my dreams of a WoC protagonist.

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