Books by Thomas Pynchon

Thomas Ruggles Pynchon, Jr. (born May 8, 1937) is an American writer based in New York City. He is noted for his dense and complex works of fiction. Hailing from Long Island, Pynchon spent two years in the United States Navy and earned an English degree f

BLEEDING EDGE by Thomas Pynchon
Released: Sept. 17, 2013

"Of a piece with Pynchon's recent work—not quite a classic à la V. but in a class of its own—more tightly woven but no less madcap than Inherent Vice, and sure to the last that we live in a world of very odd shadows."
Pynchon (Inherent Vice, 2009, etc.) makes a much-anticipated return, and it's trademark stuff: a blend of existential angst, goofy humor and broad-sweeping bad vibes. Read full book review >
INHERENT VICE by Thomas Pynchon
Released: Aug. 4, 2009

"Groovier than much of this erratic author's fiction, but a bummer compared with his best. "
For better and worse, this is the closest Pynchon is likely to come to a beach book. Read full book review >
AGAINST THE DAY by Thomas Pynchon
Released: Nov. 21, 2006

            History and its discontents figure as prominently in Thomas Pynchon's formidably brainy novels as do most of the sciences and pseudo-sciences.  He entered our consciousness as a learned hipster almost immediately, in the early story "Entropy," a phlegmatic consideration of the heat death of the universe, and in the ironic epic V (1963), a tale of parallel searches for a mysterious woman whose despairing momentum is mitigated by the stoical mantra "Keep cool, but care."

            The combination of a rationalist's fatalism with a romantic's reverence for human creativity and resilience took brilliant form in a trim fable of conspiracy and disinformation linked to an "underground" postal system (The Crying of Lot 49, 1965); the massive Melvillean Gravity's Rainbow (1973), in which the science of modem warfare walks arm in arm with Armageddon; and the fetching fictional contrast between two legendary surveyors' efforts to map a new world and the redirection of scientific and technical innovations to serve agendas of conquest and exploitation (Mason & Dixon, 1997).

            Pynchon now blends the yeasty period style of his most recent novel with the encyclopedic chutzpah of Gravity's Rainbow as he reaches back to the late-19th century and the origins of the first global götterdämmerung to be designated a World War.  Its array of parallel plots begins in the air, aboard a "hydrogen skyship" carrying an aeronautics club, the Chums of Chance (whose adventures inspire a series of dime novels), toward Chicago and the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition.  The image of adventurous progress thus created is then systematically dismantled by a series of ventures into increasingly dangerous territories.  Colorado miner Weeb Traverse opposes perceived injustice with acts of anarchy (which soon looms as the very Spirit of the Age), initiating a pattern of exile and antagonism that will engulf all his loved ones.  Weeb's son Kit, Yale-educated and severed from his roots, travels compulsively, moving across continents and through successive zones of conflict, into the heart of his deepest longings and fears.

            Dozens of other characters - adventurers, spies, research scientists, disoriented celebrities and dedicated agents of the 20th century's culture of death - meet, recombine and redefine themselves. Read full book review >

MASON & DIXON by Thomas Pynchon
Released: April 30, 1997

Ever since Gravity's Rainbow (1973), which shared a National Book Award and was given, then denied a Pulitzer Prize (on account of its "obscenity"), it's been obvious, even to much of the so-called literary establishment, that Thomas Pynchon is one of our contemporary classics: a true polymath, formidably learned and technically unparalleled, who understands as few of his readers can the essential symbiosis between C.P. Snow's "two cultures" of science and technology. Read full book review >

DEADLY SINS by Thomas Pynchon
Released: Oct. 20, 1994

The last time we looked, there were only seven of them — at least, that's how many Aquinas enumerated in Summa Theologica, and Ian Fleming included the same number in a 1962 Sunday Times of London series that featured seven English writers discussing their preferred sins. Read full book review >

VINELAND by Thomas Pynchon
Released: Feb. 1, 1990

"Pynchon's latest should prove to the legions of contemporary scribbler-fakers that it isn't enough to reproduce pop-schlock on the page, it needs to be siphoned through the kind of imaginative genius on display everywhere here."
If the elusive Pynchon regularly cranked out novels, then this latest addition to his semi-classic oeuvre would be considered an excellent, if flawed, fiction, not as demanding and complex as Gravity's Rainbow, nor as neat and clever as The Crying of Lot 49 and V. As it is, coming 17 years since the last book, it's something of a disappointment.

Yes, it's compulsively funny, full of virtuoso riffs, and trenchant in its anarcho-libertarian social commentary. Read full book review >
SLOW LEARNER by Thomas Pynchon
Released: April 16, 1984

"Intriguing material for Pynchon fans and critics."
Five stories, dating from 1959 through 1964, four of them written while Pynchon (Gravity's Rainbow) was still in college—plus an introduction that's fetchingly modest about this gathering of juvenilia. Read full book review >
GRAVITY'S RAINBOW by Thomas Pynchon
Released: Feb. 28, 1972

Between V., Pynchon's maverick if disorderly first novel, and Gravity's Rainbow, which is still more unstrung and far denser while lacking the narrative encroachment of the earlier book, there is even a direct line of extension. Read full book review >
THE CRYING OF LOT 49 by Thomas Pynchon
Released: April 27, 1966

"Hip, yes; hooray, no."
Whether you were with it or not, Pynchon's first novel V. had some prodigally exciting sequences to startle the most phlegmatic imagination. Read full book review >