Conspiracy at the Post Office (The Crying of Lot 49 – A Book Review)

The Crying of Lot 49
Author: Thomas Pynchon
Published: 1965

Crying of Lot 49

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

A conspiracy is abound involving the U.S. Postal service. That there were once two: Thurn and Taxis and Trystero. Oedipa Maas is determined to figure it out more after receiving a letter that she’s to be the executor of her late boss’s will and a clue to Trystero. As she goes about fulfilling her duties this Trystero appears everywhere and she follows the clues to figure it out. Going to a play, talking to strangers, and finding hidden symbols. Along this journey, Oedipa meets new people and finds herself in situations she never would in her day to day life.

 

I first read Thomas Pynchon in college. I’d read Vineland which followed characters’ times in the 60s, the war on drugs, and a federal agent is going psycho as he goes overboard on a case. The best thing I can say, is that he’s the hipster of fiction as his stories are of the post-modern fiction variety. He’s really in a league all of his own. The Crying of Lot 49 is his shortest novel and has appeared in a few magazines such as Esquire Magazine.

The language of this book is crazy! I laughed, squinted, and said, ‘what the hell’ many times. From the way Pynchon goes into detail to the names of his characters, this has so much originality to the point that it’s from a whole other planet. I mean come on! Dr. Hilarius (Oedipa’s psychotherapist), Mucho (her husband), and so many others. And then toss some LSD in the middle and you have fun. No seriously. There’s drugs in this books and the effects were really funny and oddly soul revealing for the characters.

Crying of Lot 49

The tone of the book holds a lot of edge to it. I felt like i was on a great cusp of discovery. Every little clue, and you have to be paying REAL CLOSE ATTENTION, leads you on. Maybe it’s not super exciting like a super spy movie, but it does scratch away at the wallpaper of your mind and can make you question things. In this case, the thing in question is the postal service and how it ties to acts of rebellion against the government .

This story mostly takes place in San Narciso and the L.A. area in California. Oedipa is driving around a lot as she searches for answers. She stays in in a rundown hotel where a group of paranoids follow her and Metzger, the lawyer helping her execute the will, around. For the most part, setting isn’t one of the primary parts of the books. It’s the intricate details surrounding the plot. The focus here is more on the characters’ thoughts and the process of them. It’s extremely intricate.

I will say that there were many times that I had to backtrack because I got confused. Pynchon isn’t easy. Just in this story, I was follow Oedipa as she tracked small clues around to figure out a conspiracy theory involving the U.S. Postal service and the government. Let me bulletpoint it for, and trust me when I say it won’t reveal the book. I wouldn’t be able to spoil it if I could.

  • Trystero
  • W.A.S.T.E
  • Paranoids
  • A book of antique postal stamps
  • Godzilla II (A boat. I laughed too hard at this.)
  • The Scope (a bar that gets mail)
  • The Courier’s Tragedy (A Jacobean play)

See? Not understanding it are you? LOL. This is going to be one of those books I re-tackle. That’s not meaning it’s terrible. It just means that this book is difficult. I enjoy Pynchon. He’s way out of the box. He doesn’t even have a box. He’s got a flying saucer. It’s amazing! But, he’s tricky. I have V. lying around my apartment somewhere and I look forward to reading that one, too.

 

I do recommend reading Pynchon. Maybe this book isn’t for you. That’s cool. But the man is a genius. He’s so deep of thought and really good at twisting and connecting dots that will make your head explode.

 

Quotables:

“If I were to dissolve in here, be washed down the drain in to the Pacific, what you saw tonight would vanish too.” (Driblette to Oedipa, p. 79)

“What’s it like, Oedipa, being all alone in a nightmare like that?” (Fallopian to Oedipa, p. 88)

 “Hold it tightly by its little tentacle, don’t let the Freudians coax it away or pharmacists poison it out of you. Whatever it is, hold it dear, for when you lose it you go over by that much to the others. You begin to cease to be.” (Dr. Hilarius to Oedipas, p. 138)

“The songs, it’s not just that they say something, they are something, in the pure sound. Something new. And my dreams have changed.” (Mucho to Oedipa, p. 144)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Towards the Sun by Rihanna.

 

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Thoughts? Have you read Thomas Pynchon? Which book(s)? Tell me in the comment section below.

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