The Crying of Lot 49 was… weird. I read it for a book club I’m running that purposefully aims for off-beat reads, and I was still surprised at the strangeness that packed every page. The book is only about 150 pages but Thomas Pynchon really squeezes the most out of every sentence. There is no filler story which means you shouldn’t read this before bed, because each paragraph changes the plot.
Oedipa Maas (what a name) is thrown into a chaotic, conspiracy theory-fueled expedition to carry out a dead ex-boyfriend’s last requests. What starts as a moderately interesting mystery quickly leads to Oedipa questioning the United States Postal Service and talking down her LSD prescribing psychiatrist, Dr. Hilarius. Teenage musicians, failed child stars, play actors, professors of literature, talk radio DJs—Pynchon throws them all in, with each character more interesting than the last. This is the kind of book that you’re suppose to read with a group; when it’s over you’ll need to speak to someone about it. If you like books that make you scratch your head, books that plead with you to read them again, then check out The Crying of Lot 49. The plot is simple; the story is not.