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About the Book

About the Book

The Crying of Lot 49

"So began, for Oedipa, the languid, sinister blooming of The Tristero." 

Returning home one fine summer afternoon from a particularlydisappointing Tupperware party, Mrs. Oedipa Maas--ofKinneret-Among-The-Pines, California--opens a letter from the Los Angeles law firm of Warpe, Wistfull, Kubitschek and McMingus anddiscovers that she has been named executor of the estate of PierceInverarity, late Southern California real-estate mogul, entrepreneur, andOedipa's former lover. Things then did not delay in turning curious. Totally in the dark about what an executor does, Oedipa leaves her disk-jockey husband Wendell ("Mucho") to cope by himself with his "regular crises ofconscience about his profession," and sets off for Los Angeles and a meeting with lawyer Metzgar, her designated co-executor. Thus begins herOedipa-in-Wonderland journey through the rococo spider's-web tangle ofher late lover's leavings and her last-frontier, reality-check confrontationswith the Paranoids (an anglicized rock band), Yoyodyne Corporation ("one of the giants of the aerospace industry"), an off-the-cybernetic-wall inventor(Nefastis by name) attempting to defeat the Second Law of Thermodynamics, stamp collector Genghis Cohen, and "all manner of revelations" concerning herself and the mysterious, centuries-old Tristero. 

This subversive, underground mail-delivery system--with its drop boxeslabeled W.A.S.T.E. ("We Await Silent Tristero's Empire") and its alienatedcarriers--appears to be a worldwide conspiracy of mind-boggling reach.Oedipa has never before had to deal with a worldwide conspiracy.Especially one whose existence and nefarious goals are hinted at in acollection of forged U.S. postage stamps, a collection that Pierce Inverarityhas left to be auctioned. That collection of Tristero stamps gives Oedipanightmares, and Pynchon's fascinating novel its title. There is also a resurrected Restoration revenge tragedy, The Courier's Tragedy, with lines long suppressed by the Vatican. Not to mention a group of anti-love dropouts called the Inamorati Anonymous. Oedipa uncovers clue after clue after clue, only to reach uncertainty. Does The Tristero exist? Do weneed another postal service? Are there vast conspiracies ruling our lives? Or are we hallucinating it all? At last, Oedipa sits in the auction room, with only herself and America to rely on.

The Crying of Lot 49
by Thomas Pynchon

  • Publication Date: April 1, 1999
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics
  • ISBN-10: 0060931671
  • ISBN-13: 9780060931674