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  1. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Trying to follow a Thomas Pynchon audio book with the wrong reader

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by GingerCoffee, Dec 10, 2014.

    So I have Thomas Pynchon's book, "Bleeding Edge" on CD that I'm commuting with at the moment. I so want to read a Pynchon book but it's hard to find the time, and I found this one on the library shelf. But how disappointing the reader is. The book is near impossible to follow with all the wrong intonations and hesitant enunciations this reader gives us.

    Why do they hire these readers? Does no one beta test the reader's version of the book? Sigh.

    I'm trying to salvage the read by figuring out the plot via the Wiki page to see if it makes it any easier to follow. But I may have to give up.

    On another note, Pynchon does have a very unique style.
     
  2. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I have a copy of Bleeding Edge, I think it's a first edition, but I've not yet read it. Tell me what you think! I will get around to reading it eventually.

    I've no idea who they hired to record it either, I didn't know Pynchon allowed such a thing. It was only about a year ago he gave his blessing to have his novels made into ebooks for the kindle. He seems to be that sort of person. It's a huge shame whenever someone hires a crappy reader for audiobooks.

    You have no idea. I can provide you with a good part of the first chapter of his Mason and Dixon if you want. I think it's his masterpiece, better than Gravity's Rainbow I think. The style is really really odd! Even his earliest work, V. is ... something unique. The amount of stuff Pynchon knows is ... terrifying. Honestly terrifying.
     
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  3. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    How are you finding your first venture into Pynchon's fun world?
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    Well, knowing the plot has helped me follow the audio, but the style seems a tad rambling. There are a gazillion dated references in the story that make it more interesting. The computer world of the 80s (or 90s? time flies) is quaint. It's like reading historical fiction, but from an historical era that one lived in.
     
  5. Poet of Gore
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    Poet of Gore Member

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    start off with The Crying of Lot 49
    great book
    "shall i project a world"
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Funny you should say that:
     
  7. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Some books need to be read in print, and this is one of them.
     
  8. GingerCoffee
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    Or at least read by someone who doesn't struggle to pronounce four syllable words. :p
     
  9. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I really don't want to tell anyone what to do, but I cannot recommend going through Gravity's Rainbow until you are already safely in the Pynchon party. I read it in about two weeks, based on the advice 'If you don't understand, just keep reading, because eventually you'll find something else you do understand', and there is much in it I flat-out do not understand. Sometimes with regards to what is even going on.

    I can see why people recommend CoL49 too, because of the brevity, but honestly I don't think that it is the best place to start. I know, too, that Pynchon himself hates the book, calling it a 'potboiler', and 'a short story with a food-fetish' variously. However, what I did was start from the beginning, with V.. It's a very fun novel that gives you all of Pynchon's ideas in embryo, and because it's partly about a gang of bohemians living in New York city, hosting parodies of Damian Hurst and Ayn Rand, it's sort of like a cartoon version of Friends, only with the odd episode of espionage and intrigue in places ranging across Europe and Egypt.

    Also, what I highly recommend is going through his novels using this website: http://pynchonwiki.com/. That site has helped me hugely in finding the context of scenes, the hidden jokes, and even just very interesting bits of information; but it can only tell you the whats, you have to work out the whys. Why is there a parody of a 17th century Operetta in Crying of Lot 49, I don't know, but it's damn funny all the same.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2014
  10. Poet of Gore
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    i read vineland first, then crying of lot 49, then inherent vice
    i tried to read V two or three times

    whatever book you do read, make sure to read a book explaining all the references
     
  11. Fitzroy Zeph
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  12. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    It is, isn't it.
     
  14. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    I haven't read the book you're mentioning, but having read Pynchon's Crying of lot 49, I can say a lot of the disconnect you feel has to come from Pynchon's style, as you say. It's nothing like ordinary.

    @Lemmex
    Throughout Crying of lot 49, I thought it to be one hell of a drug ride. Like a movie Johny Depp could star in. I didn't understand the
    MCs' motives, I didn't get the transitions between the scenes, it was like a long hallucination. Like Pynchon doesn't give a flying sh*t if you get his story or not. Toward the end it even resembled Fight Club on account of the secret posthorn society and the way they communicated through that symbol.

    I read a comprehensive explanation of the individual sections of the story only to reassure myself of what I thought initially: a totally
    boring story about completely commonplace, mundane events concocted in complexity, with an emotionally disturbed MC who sees the supernatural in the natural, seeking mystery where there is none.
     
  15. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    THERE MAY BE SPOILERS!

    I can understand why, Oedipa Maas is a really odd character. To me she's just the protagonist, the ideas are what is important in the The Crying of Lot 49. As a character I find Oedipa lacking, I don't think I can sum up her personality like I can Benny Profane or Slothrop, or other Pynchon heroes.
    Considering all the drug references and jokes about the Beatles, I think this is what Pynchon was going for.
    Now I'm not sure that is true. I don't think the finer details of the novel left much of an impression on me. I glanced at the wikipedia page and read about when Dr. Hilarious has a break down and Oedipa is to one to removes him from the situation, I don't remember that happening. But the idea of the conspiracy, and the world beneath the surface of this one is important I think even if it's not real. I think, actually, Pynchon's comment that Crying of Lot 49 is a short story with an eating disorder is the best way to put it. I think it is flabby, but the genius is hard to miss.
     
  16. Hwaigon
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    "I can understand why, Oedipa Maas is a really odd character."

    She is. If the character of her own was intentional, then Pynchon pulled it off perfectly. I couldn't relate to her.

    "Dr. Hilarious has a break down and Oedipa is to one to removes him from the situation, I don't remember that happening. "
    Yes, this actually happens but I'm also unaware of Oedipa helping him in any way. On the other hand though, this one was a
    good scene. Full of action like a 1980's hard-boiled detective story.
     
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  17. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I'll quote from the wiki page itself: 'He holes up in his office but is taken away peacefully by the police after Oedipa disarms him.' I don't remember any of that, at all. It has been a good few years since I read the novel, but I have a pretty good memory - I would hope I would remember it.

    But as my posts might have suggested, Crying of Lot 49 isn't my favourite Pynchon novel. I think Pynchon himself is right about it - it's his weakest work.
     
  18. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    I also didn't like the novel much but that scene you describe really is in the novel. Yeah, he "holes up" there, that's the wording.
    The book is too convoluted to remember a detail like this, given you read it several years ago. Don't worry too much :D
     
  19. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I remember the cafe scene with Metzger and Oedipa's husband though, oddly. Mind, Crying of Lot 49 has one of my favourite quotes about the city landscape. I'll see if I can find it.
     
  20. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    I think I know which one you mean -- is it the one shortly after the onset of the novel? San Francisco...?
     
  21. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    That's the one. Hilarious. :D
     
  22. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    The biggest justice we can do for Pynchon: remember a scene from his book :)
     
  23. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    "'We should run away'

    'Where?'

    That shut him up."

    :)

    The quote I was talking about, on reflection it isn't as good, is this. It's when Oedipa is looking down on San Francisco, seeing the twinkling lights and the movement in the night. I think it's near the end, where she's seeing the horn everywhere she goes, and at the time I got the image of her standing high on a hill near San Francisco, with the last hints of the day vanishing, and the city ablaze with live still:

    The city was hers, as, made up and sleeked so with the customary words and images (cosmopolitan, culture, cable cars) it had not been before.
     
  24. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Oh, that one...I don't recall this one this time :D I remember the book ends in a night club, right? This doesn't seem familiar to me...:p
     
  25. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    From what I remember the book ends with the sale of Lot 49, the evidence of the Trystero conspiracy.
     

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