Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon - review by Keith Miller

Keith Miller

Maxine of the Mean Streets

Bleeding Edge


Jonathan Cape 477pp £20

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.’

Whatever its author feels, I think Lot 49 is an enchanting book, wonderfully paced, mirthful, curious and harmonious of tone, and as evocative of the Sixties, in its weird antiquarian way, as the animated sequences from Yellow Submarine. At any rate it must be allowed that Pynchon’s writing, with its

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