Keith Miller

Maxine of the Mean Streets

Bleeding Edge


Jonathan Cape 477pp £20 order from our bookshop

Thomas Pynchon is said to be disdainful of his 1966 novella The Crying of Lot 49, in which spunky heroine Oedipa Maas uncovers a vast, clandestine communications system known as WASTE, rump of a renegade 16th-century postal service with occult interests and a rather beautiful name, the Trystero. Technical specifics aside, it’s impossible to overlook a certain prophetic effect, not least in the huge gap that exists between the capacity of the network and the stuff people post on it: ‘Dear Mike, How are you? Just thought I’d drop you a note. How’s your book coming? Guess that’s all for now.’

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