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Bleeding Edge Reviews

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The New York Times: Reviewing Thomas Pynchon...

Reviews

Please add any relevant reviews as they come in. Blog reviews are fine as long as they're substantial and more than a few paragraphs.

10/24/14 PopMatters - Thomas Pynchon: what art can learn from the great pop author - Will Layman: "Ultimately, Bleeding Edge is rich in these worlds and finds ways to present them without undue weirdness, maybe because our own world, in good and bad ways, has finally become nearly as strange as this writer’s imagination. We travel to fantastical bathrooms fashioned with full-service bars and to simple New York streets illuminated with wonder. Ghosts or time-traveling kidnapped children might appear in either place. And when we’re told that the avatars of the dead are given voice by those who grieve them and are given photographic image by cycling GIFs that are loose in the deep web, is that so unbelievable, and is not the power of sorrow and fear that animates that invented world not our, uh, reality in 2014?" Full article »

06/18/14 The Guardian - Thomas Pynchon: what art can learn from the great pop author - Jonathan Jones: "Pynchon demonstrates a bigger and better way of making art out of the reality we inhabit right now. He soaks it all up, ingests a stupendous volume of cultural phenomena then transfigures them into a comic phantasmagoria, where everything is metamorphosed into joyous pastiche, parody, and grotesque fantasy." Full article »

05/19/14 Patheos - Katie McGinley: "Life in the world Pynchon depicts is like the DeepArcher program: a meandering journey through a dazzlingly complex landscape where there is no certain purpose or goal and which has only a tenuous connection to the real and the true. Like Maxine in her first DeepArcher experience, it’s dangerously easy for any of us to lose sight of reality and get drawn further and further into illusions — especially when those pseudorealities are more comforting and convenient than facing the reality of a world full of uncertainties and uncomfortable truths." Full article »

03/22/14 Phuket Gazette - James Eckardt: "But as one critic has observed, one no more reads Thomas Pynchon for plot than he does Jane Austin for sex. The hip narrative voice, the wild humor, the exuberant pace – these sweep the reader along. No one outside of Elmore Leonard writes such brilliant dialogue, no one outside Faulkner such intricate, rolling and intense descriptions." Full article »

02/16/14 The Charleston Post and Courier - Michael Nelson: "Never an easy read, Pynchon's fiction, with intricate plots, post-modern themes, pop-cultural allusions and broadly sketched characters, is not to everyone's taste. And although Bleeding Edge may not attain the exalted stature of earlier works such as Gravity's Rainbow or V., it is the product of one of the most important and influential authors of our time, and therefore worth the time and effort of any reader who cares about American literature." Full article »

02/03/14 The Weekly Standard - Stefan Beck: "Well, there are those of us who believe that variety is the spice of life. Yet that is not to suggest that one must either revere Pynchon or reject him: Even his most exacting critics allow that his novels offer historical and cultural erudition, inventive plots, and crackling (if campy) dialogue and humor. Still, the more Pynchon one reads, the more one is inclined to pick a side, and a skeptic may find in Bleeding Edge proof that the recipe has lost much of its savor. This is, in part, because the manner and matter here are so awkwardly matched. One need hardly be hidebound by propriety to feel that if a 9/11 novel (which is what we have here) can be described as a madcap romp, it will have to demonstrate a clear and worthwhile purpose to earn its audacity and questionable taste." Full article »

01/15/14 The Toronto Star - Alex Good: "But underneath it all is Pynchon’s still relevant, sustaining vision: that post-1960s America has lost its innocence and freedom to the forces of big government and big capital. That countercultural spirit is felt when, for example, Maxine walks through the 'new' New York City, discouraged by how real estate developers have made the formerly grubby place 'Disneyfied and sterile,' making her feel 'nauseous at the possibility of some stupefied consensus about what life is to be, taking over this whole city without mercy, a tightening Noose of Horror, multiplexes and malls and big-box stores . . . Aaahh!'" Full article »

01/03/14 Crosscut.com - Don Fels and Benjamin Thelonious Fels: "As the book wanders in and out of place and non-place, Pynchon never loses track of the essential fact that global capitalism has not made all the world the same. It is worthy of consideration then to think through how Pynchon might characterize Boeing’s recent attempt to untether from place; the outsourcing of the 787, and the effort to get Seattle machinists to accept a significant downgrade in pay in exchange for the contract to build the 777X." Full article »

12/19/13 The Washington Times - John Greenya: "This is not, however, a depressing book. As Mr. Pynchon has shown over and over again in both his novels and his nonfiction, somehow he always sees the (mordant) humor in human behavior. In “Bleeding Edge,” as he tells his old-fashioned story within this most modern framework, he never fails to see signs of hope for mankind. No wonder this book was a finalist for this year’s National Book Award." Full article »

12/15/13 The Wichita Eagle - Gordon Houser: "Pynchon also likes to mix comments with his descriptions. For example, he describes 'oil-storage tanks, tanker traffic forever unsleeping,' then adds, 'addiction to oil gradually converging with the other national bad habit, inability to deal with refuse.' He goes on to describe heaps of landfill 'reaching close to 200 feet overhead.' Is there a point to all this? I’m not sure. Perhaps bleeding-edge technology, which one character refers to as having 'no proven use, high risk, something only early-adoption addicts feel comfortable with,' is some metaphor for our world today. Bleeding Edge is a complex, demanding novel. But it contains much clever writing that’s fun to read. It will also leave readers with much to ponder." Full article »

12/01/13 Sunday Independent.ie - Desmond Traynor: "So, we're not getting another Mason & Dixon or Against The Day blockbuster here, and certainly not something as era-defining as Gravity's Rainbow. A bit like Vineland, and even Inherent Vice, this is the kind of thing Pynchon can do in his sleep. But it's still better than what most writers who are wide-awake can dream up. In its own (relatively modest) way, it sums up a historical period of great turbulence and uncertainty just as much as the now canonical works of this great American novelist once did." Full article »

11/17/13 Winston-Salem Journal - Associated Press: "Pynchon, who received the National Book Award for “Gravity’s Rainbow,” zips the plot along at a frenetic pace and populates his book with dozens of colorful characters and pop culture references: bars with Zima on tap, a messenger from the defunct delivery service Kozmo.com who still mysteriously makes deliveries, a Zenned-out surfer therapist, a Web designer obsessed with Jennifer Aniston’s hair, and so on." Full article »

11/09/13 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Julia Fraser: "Even in the Deep Web, capitalism defines what freedom means. Capitalism also selects who gets to control freedom, where meatspace hierarchies trickle down, placing power in a dark collaboration with the government and big corporations, leaving the lowly Internet geeks to plunder the remains. An outsider to this world, Maxine's aging father leans into the Internet and its promise of freedom, "Call it freedom, it's based on control. Everybody connected together, impossible anybody should get lost, ever again. Take the next step, connect it to these cell phones, you've got a total Web of surveillance, inescapable." Consumers in 2013 are free to read this work of warning on their own choice of technology." Full article »

11/08/13 Pasatiempo - Santa Fe New Mexican - Bill Kohlhaase: "Bleeding Edge contains the usual imagined and exaggerated scenarios, at times presenting the virtual world as the real one. But its author didn’t have to invent the conspiracies and entanglements the book harbors. Investment fraud, hidden bank accounts, the Mossad, Islamic front groups disguised as charities, the Russian mob, internet gaming cults, blanket internet spying on behalf of businesses and governments — these things exist, and Pynchon makes them part of a whole." Full article »

11/07/13 The New York Review of Books - Michael Chabon: "One ought to be accustomed, by now, to Pynchon’s leaving his mysteries unresolved, or at least prepared to give him credit for having done so on purpose. Incompleteness is the inherent vice of paranoid theories of history, the limitation of such theories that Pynchon has always freely acknowledged. Criticism of Pynchon’s “shaggy dog” or sloppy plotting neglects the emphasis that he has always laid on the dual meaning of the word plot. From V. forward, nearly all his novels have been founded on a bedrock of detective fiction and underlayed with science fiction, boy’s adventure, westerns, spy fiction, and other genres that rely, like conspiracy theories, on plotting. His broken plots expose the epistemological brokenness of paranoid systems, which are, after all, nothing but attempts, grander but no less doomed to failure than anyone’s, to make sense of a broken world." Full article »

11/07/13 The Journal - Bill Cassel: "This being Pynchon, the strangeness is leavened with healthy doses of whimsy, wordplay and comedy, not to mention sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. Once best known for Gravity's Rainbow, a famously difficult tome started by many and finished by few, Pynchon has in recent years settled into a style that's relatively accessible, warm even. Maxine, equal parts Sam Spade and Jewish mother, is fun to spend time with and the pages flow by easily. Just don't expect any sort of neatly wrapped ending; Bleeding Edge will leave you with more questions than answers, but also with a heightened sense of what is possible." Full article »

11/05/13 Minneapolis Star Tribune - David Wiley: "That’s not to say that Pynchon has become dull at all. His prose is uproariously vibrant and compelling and is filled with relentless poetry and play, spouting outlandish neologisms and novel imagery at every turn. While the state of Pynchon’s art may not be pushing the bleeding edge in the ways that “Gravity’s Rainbow” did, his comic vision is nearly as absurd as ever and is never satisfied unless it outdoes itself, and as a result “Bleeding Edge” is a seriously funny book that’s also deadly serious." Full article »

11/13 Dancing About Architecture - Tim Tsai: "Bleeding Edge is not a novel that “never ends.” It is a novel that is obsessively concerned with something that never ends—the very act of taking stuff and making it coherent information and communicating it as meaning. It offers a mystery that jerks you around for hours on end and abandons you with no resolution, no clear sign of change or development or progress. " Full article »

10/31/13 County Line Magazine - Jeremy Light: "I have always respected Thomas Pynchon, read anything and everything he ever published, and have never regretted any of his books. Even this one. Sometimes Pynchon is too intelligent for his own good, but if that is the greatest sin an author commits, I am more than happy to absolve him. Verdict: on the charge of incandescent brilliance, smugness, and entertainment: guilty as charged. Sentenced to a wonderful time read." Entire review »

Illustration: Simon Pemberton
10/13 Harper's Magazine - Joshua Cohen: "Bleeding Edge, however, offers an indication that Pynchon has finally given up on seeking the soul of the nation his family helped found. For Pynchon — the embattled bard of the counterculture, disabused of all allegiance — the last redoubt has become the family, and the last war to be waged is between our virtual identities and the bonds of blood; a war to keep the Virtual from corrupting the Blood, if not forever, then for time enough to let the lil’ Ziggy and Otis Tarnow-Loefflers of this world live with the merest pretense of freedom (childhood). Pynchon understands that in the future there will be no secrets, no hidden complots — everything will be aired and any second life, whether in the cloud or in the firmament, will be despoiled or denied us. Adult sanity, then, must depend not on the lives we make online, but on the lives we make off it — our kids — on how we love them, and how we raise them, and the virtues and good-taste imperatives we pass on to them from our progenitors." Entire review »

10/25/13 Edmonton Journal - Ryan Ingram: "Bleeding Edge meticulously captures the zeitgeist of 2001 with encyclopedic detail, mashing up high and low culture. From Beanie Babies, comedian Mitch Hedberg and then-quarterback Vinny Testaverde, there’s no shortage of pop-culture references that capture the smallest details of the dark era, while building an immersive hyperlinked mystery map to the world-changing important events that may or may not have happened in New York City, serving it all up with lots of garlic." Entire review »

10/20/13 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Mike Fischer: "Bleeding Edge is stuffed with gorgeous passages that sing in their longing for all we’ve lost in trashing the land and ourselves. But such writing is also a call to arms, making clear that the history we’ll make depends on what and how we remember. As Pynchon has been reminding us for 50 years, there’s always more than one way to tell that story." Entire review »

10/16/13 Las Vegas CityLife - Arnold Knightly: "Bleeding Edge is written with such verve and imaginative invention—the sentences crackle with jokes, puns, startling phrases, and can suddenly dive into shocking despairs as fast as it can rise to beautiful epiphanies—that its 77-year old author puts almost every American writer to shame. That I want even more from Pynchon is a testament only that to the fact that he’s already given so much: I still expect him to be an oracle." Entire review »

10/15/13 The Vista - Kevin Searle: "Detective novels are not generally thought to have high literary merit. Through his career, Thomas Pynchon has written brilliant novels that challenge that conception. As with any novel, “Bleeding Edge” has its flaws but it succeeds in creating a detective novel that is exciting, funny, smart and above all, interesting." Entire review »

10/13/13 The Journal - Scotland's Student Newspaper - Calum Barnes: "A fully realised historical novel, Bleeding Edge masterfully evokes the early twenty-first century milieu with its sharp attention to detail: from the pop cultural ephemera to the diction and metaphors drawn from the emergent web forms, the novel never resorts to anachronism, and is all bound up in Pynchon’s elegiac prose poetry. It may not be the all-encompassing behemoth of the neoliberal revolution that fans may have hoped for, but after the revelations of NSA’s mass surveillance of the world’s internet activities, the paranoid fantasies of Pynchon’s fictions are more relevant than ever." Entire review »

10/10/13 Full Stop - Daniel Green: "Bleeding Edge is in general a much more dialogue-dependent novel than Gravity’s Rainbow or V. Indeed, much of the novel’s “action” is related not through its direct depiction but by reports conveyed through the dialogue, to the point that this can seem less a novel concerning the events to which it mostly alludes (including the 9/11 attacks) than talk about these events. Some of the talk is mordant and witty in the usual Pynchon fashion, but much of it is surprisingly routine, an impression left only more insistently by the novel’s formal arrangement as essentially a series of scenes organized around verbal exchanges between the characters. Those of us who admire the stylistic audacity and rhetorical power of Pynchon’s prose in previous novels get very little of either in Bleeding Edge, simply because it relies so heavily on dialogue." Entire review »

10/10/13 GulfNews.com - Tim Martin: "But this is also Pynchon’s Twin Towers novel, and its good humour alternates with a vivid sense of the post-9/11 crisis in the United States, the period in which, as one character notes, “a hole has quietly opened up in American history, a vacuum of accountability into which assets human and financial begin to vanish”. Conspiracies proliferate, but what might be an unsavoury descent into the netherworld of 9/11 “truthers” is rescued from ignominy by Pynchon’s attribution of the most arcane theories to a paranoid blogger." Entire review »

10/09/13 Georgia Straight - Michael Hingston: "To be honest, Bleeding Edge kind of fried my brain. Pynchon’s last novel, 2009’s Inherent Vice, was a similar attempt to inhabit the detective genre in order to detonate it from within, but at least there the overall mood was one of marijuana-induced stupor. Here, however, in the straight-edge world of computer geeks, it feels more like an accidental short circuit. 404 error. Page not found." Entire review »

10/08/13 The Plain Dealer - Jean Dubail: "But what in the end gives "Bleeding Edge" its satisfying depth is the way Pynchon portrays the relationships between Maxine and Horst, and between each of them and their sons. These are people whose feelings are managed, people who know, as Maxine says of her city-raised boys, how to "keep a perimeter" in emotionally fraught situations. In the wake of 9/11, however, they need each other, and Pynchon is at his subtle best in showing how the family slowly comes back together. His readers can see, even when his characters cannot, that they -- we? -- are ultimately bound together by love." Entire review »

10/06/13 Al Jazeera America - Christopher Byrd: "Thomas Pynchon's eighth novel, "Bleeding Edge," was released on the same day as the newest entry in Rockstar Games' Grand Theft Auto series. That the most secretive literary genius of our time and the most guarded video-game developer in the world should issue new works on the same day is either a confluence of mystical energy or — on the secular side of the coin — the most startling coincidence of cultural significance since the passing of the European filmmakers Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni on July 7, 2007." Entire review »

10/04/13 The Montreal Gazette - Joel Yanofsky: "That said, the last decade or so has been a good one for making Pynchon look like a prophet again. It would be hard to find — or, for that matter, invent — a novelist better suited to investigating the connections, imagined and real, between the fall of the World Trade Center on 9/11 and the rise, since then, of ubiquitous institutions like Google and Facebook. Bleeding Edge also foreshadows recent revelations about the way government agencies have been spying on, well, all of us." Entire review »

10/03/13 The Awl - Brian O'Neill: "There are dozens of other characters and fascinating relationships, more and more. That’s kind of the point. Pull at any thread and 50 others come loose, till you’re stuck tangled in knots you never saw being tied. Pynchon is a master of creating a world that you never can truly see, beyond the dull mirrors of our daily lives. You’re never quite on solid footing, but you know you are searching for something. Things start to clarify, but as they always do with Pynchon, that's when they start to make the least sense. It is our world at an angle, full of basements and secret passageways and snippets of half-remembered songs—dreams?—trying to tell you something vitally important." Entire review »

09/29/13 The Sydney Morning Herald - John Bailey: "Think Prism and WikiLeaks: we now live in the reality Pynchon has long prophesied. He leaves us with hope. Bleeding Edge is as much a story of mothers seeking to understand the world into which their children have been delivered, and of people attempting to carve some space of safety for those around them. It ends with a whispering wistfulness, the sense you might get upon passing a former home that's since been given a monstrous makeover. We lived here once. Didn't we?" Entire review »

09/28/13 The Guardian - Talitha Stevenson: "No doubt a good genre book is worth more than a bad literary one any day, but when a writer with real genius squanders so much of his energy on clowning – and for an audience it's not at all clear he respects – it's worth asking what's going on. The idea that jokes are a defence against intimacy is a cliche – perhaps they can also be a defence against close reading." Entire review »

09/25/13 Newsday - Craig Seligman: "Structure has never been Pynchon's strong point. The all-over-the-placeness didn't matter so much in the gargantuan Gravity's Rainbow (1973) -- at least, not until the last quarter -- because the sentences were so intense, sensually and emotionally, that the acid trip they constituted flattened every other concern. Bleeding Edge is more like the kind of trip in which you keep asking from the backseat, 'When are we going to get there?'" Entire review »

09/25/13 Salon - Justin St. Clair: "But wait — there’s more. Re-presenting his previous work isn’t the only way that Pynchon weaves his web. He also plays the insider game by overloading the text with obscure particulars. There is, in other words, a lot of zooming in and out for what you’d have to call its own sake, a welter of specific — and occasionally unsettling — minutiae. The vertiginous effect that results does not come from a rapid change in perspective, but rather from the banality of the details themselves — plain, ordinary, and inconsequentially real. The most paranoid among us (Andrew Leonard at Salon?) begin to believe that Pynchon must actually be reading us, and, in a way, he is." Entire review »

09/22/13 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Mike Fischer: "Bleeding Edge is stuffed with gorgeous passages that sing their longing for all we’ve lost, in trashing the land and ourselves. But such writing is also a stirring call to arms, making clear that the history we’ll make depends on what and how we remember. As Pynchon has been reminding us for 50 years, there’s always more than one way to tell that story." Entire review »

09/21/13 Irish Independent - Darragh McManus: "I couldn't compare it, though, to something like DeLillo's Underworld, which really did feel like it encircled entireties of time and space: the so-called "American century", distilled. Bleeding Edge is less ambitious, anyway, more quirky and endearingly odd in personality. It won't make any 'greatest novels ever' lists. But it's a hell of a lot of fun to read." Entire review »

09/20/13 San Francisco Chronicle - Steven G. Kellman: "Bleeding Edge is stocked with panicky cartoon figures trying to claw their way through labyrinths. Its primary impulse is not realistic but verbal. Pynchon's true confederates are not Emile Zola and Theodore Dreiser as much as Algernon Charles Swinburne and Ronald Firbank - writers more intent on kneading words than noting the world. Pynchon is like a balloon man in the park who twists inflated plastic into the grotesque shapes of familiar animals. But this dog doesn't bark." Entire review »

09/20/13 The Independent - John Walsh: "There are hints of underground bunkers harbouring child assassins. There’s a satisfyingly nasty villain called Gabriel Ice, head of the tech company. There’s a murder… Then 9/11 erupts and transforms the world and the book. Suddenly the air is full of conspiracy theories. And Maxine – and the reader – is lured into suspicions that the new-fangled internet is affecting the American mind. She has “the bleak feeling, some mornings, that the country itself may not be there any more, but being silently replaced screen by screen with something else.”" Entire review »

09/20/13 New Statesman - Leo Robson: "In the novel’s beautifully settled final moments, Maxine, walking the Upper West Side after an all-nighter, spots a “blear of light” reflected in a top-floor window: yes, it’s probably the sun but it might be “something else”. Then she turns the corner and “leaves the question behind” – as Pynchon seems to be leaving behind his past, brilliant but narrowly extrovert, with its virtually exclusive focus on the world as distinct from the self." Entire review »

09/18/13 Wisconsin Public Radio - Mae Anderson: "In Bleeding Edge, Pynchon draws parallels between a relatively young Internet and a pre-Sept. 11 Manhattan — both ever-evolving landscapes marked by so much change over the past 12 years that the spring of 2001 seems like an ancient era." Entire review »

09/17/13 Barnes & Noble - Liesl Schillinger: "With Bleeding Edge , he shows that he has mastered the move from the shock of the new to the shock of the now, while cushioning the blow. If Maxi, in the post-9/11 world, keeps finding it "harder to tell 'real' NYC from translations" and "keeps getting caught in a vortex taking her farther each time into the virtual world," she is not alone. Pynchon throws her, and us, a rope. Where, we wonder, can it go?" Entire review »

09/17/13 Wisconsin Public Radio - Meg Wolitzer: "The book is alternately shticky and profound. Some of the time I wanted to live in its world, other times I found it unreadable. But much of the time I was satisfied to let the prose build and build around me." Entire review »

09/17/13 CounterPunch - Alan Cabal: "This is unquestionably Pynchon’s most sober novel. Anyone who was in Manhattan at the time will recognize the characters, and the landscape is perfectly drawn. Aside from DeepArcher (which may be haunted) and a truly disturbing subplot referencing Preston Nichols’ outrageous assertions of time travel experiments at the Air Force base in Montauk, Long Island, there is barely a whiff of surrealism here. Pynchon’s depiction of Long Island is appropriately perverse in a David Lynch sort of way, and his easygoing contempt for the Upper East Side (embodied by no less than Bernie Madoff) provides a rare glimpse into the deeper parochialism of the New Yorker mindset. A healthy detestation of the Upper East Side is as much a hallmark of the true New Yorker as hating the Red Sox." Entire review »

09/14/13 Reason - Mike Godwin: "Even more than the accuracy of Pynchon's millennial Manhattan mise-en-scène, the most striking thing about Bleeding Edge is that its theme inverts that of those books on which he first built his reputation. The Pynchon of V., The Crying of Lot 49, and Gravity's Rainbow was certain (or so I thought as an undergraduate) of the destructive power of human delusion, vanity, and aspirations towards transcendence. In Bleeding Edge, by contrast, it is precisely those human failings that have shielded us, for better or for worse, from the harsh realities of historical forces that more or less ignore our vanity and aspirations." Entire review »

Image: Wesley Merritt
09/14/13 The Telegraph - Tim Martin: "Bleeding Edge, Pynchon’s eighth novel, is the best and most surprising thing he’s written since those great books. It dispels any suggestion that, after spawning an entire tradition of comic-digressive and shamelessly intellectual American novels, he had gone peacefully off the boil when he reached his seventies. [...] But now, 50 years after the publication of Pynchon’s debut novel, Bleeding Edge is at a stroke his 9/11 book, his internet book and – even though it’s set in 2001, back when the suggestion that the state was spying 24/7 on its citizens was still tinfoil-hat speculation rather than vivid reality – the first great fictional work of the post-PRISM age." Entire review »

09/14/13 The Boston Globe - John Freeman: "In the pantheon of Pynchon books, which are either skybound – V. Gravity’s Rainbow, Against the Day — or earthly — Vineland, Inherent Vice — this one is decidedly of the latter sort. It’s a book that fights mightily against the landfill by taking all the random pieces of that wastrel-conman era and putting them into a plot that is both ridiculous and far too close to reality to laugh at without a back-draft of dread. " Entire review »

09/14/13 USA Today - Don Oldenburg: "The truth is, Pynchon writes like no one else. He somehow injects love and humanity as the antidote to the dehumanization he fears and obsesses about. He convincingly warp-speeds from one setting and characters to another within the same sentence. Even in his hyper-narrative ways, he remains the master of phrasing — cool, hip, explosive narrative fragments overstuffed with meaning." Entire review »

09/13/13 The Guardian - Theo Tait: "But, in the postmodern way, Bleeding Edge combines apparently unserious, even puerile, means with deadly serious ends. It is nearly 500 densely packed pages long, and carries a clear message about America's current direction: about the "emerging technopolitical order"; about the "hole" that "opened up in American history" after 9/11 and about the "global pyramid racket" of "late capitalism" ... . Inevitably, the outline of a conspiracy looms up – involving a Bond-villainous character named Gabriel Ice, international hawala networks, shell companies in the Middle East, various sinister government agencies and men with Stinger missiles on Manhattan rooftops. Eventually, it spreads its tentacles to 9/11; though, as often in Pynchon, it is left uncertain what is conspiracy and what is paranoia." Entire review »

09/13/13 The Nervous Breakdown - Sean Carswell: "The complexity within Bleeding Edge extends far beyond Pynchon’s explorations of late capitalism into the unexplored and perhaps rapidly-shrinking potential of the internet, into gender issues, meta-commentary on the role of the novel itself, and numerous other fields. There is plenty of fodder for scholars to aim their cannons at here." Entire review »

09/13/13 Valley News - Troy Patterson: "Reading Bleeding Edge , tearing up at the beauty of its sadness or the punches of its hilarity, you may realize it as the 9/11 novel you never knew you needed. Who else but Pynchon can indict the sins of power while giving the sinner noogies of love? Who else could invent, as the name for a Queens strip club, Joie de Beavre? Who you gonna call when a screaming comes across the sky?" Entire review »

09/12/13 The Los Angeles Times - Carolyn Kellogg: "But with Bleeding Edge, Pynchon is drawing new attention to himself. Long a Manhattan resident who, according to the cognoscenti, walked his son to school and otherwise lived a quiet but not hermetic life there, Pynchon has set this novel in his own territory. It is full of lived-in details of pizza parlors and bars and delis and where to get a turkey for Thanksgiving that could serve almost as a road map to the author himself. In this way, the book is an unexpected coming together: He has brought his fictions into the (almost) present day, into what appears to be very close to his own stamping grounds. It's as if with Bleeding Edge Pynchon is ready to acknowledge that he lives in this world with the rest of us." Entire review »

Image by Mario Wagner
09/12/13 The New York Times - Jonathan Lethem: "Despite the lack of personal information supplied about the author, it’s plain, from the sweep and chortle of his sentences, from the irascible outbreaks of horniness, from the pinpoint rage at popular hypocrisy and cant, that young Pynchon is a writer of boundless promise, sure to give us a long shelf of entrancing and charismatic novels. I believe he has a masterpiece or three in him. I look forward to seeing what he’ll do next." Entire review »

09/11/13 The New Republic - Adam Kirsch: "The best thing that can be said about Bleeding Edge is that Pynchon seems to recognize the unseriousness of his own mystery-making, and so doesn't insist on taking the novel's paranoia too seriously. All those comic names, all those puns and references, keep the tone playful and the pace quick. However odd it may seem, this is a September 11 novel that is light reading—a genre parody, genial and rambunctious. Its very portentousness is a kind of game, and so it remains safe, like Maxine Tarnow, even as it wanders down the darkest of alleys." Entire review »

09/11/13 Washington Post - Michael Dirda: "Full of verbal sass and pizzazz, as well as conspiracies within conspiracies, “Bleeding Edge” is totally gonzo, totally wonderful. It really is good to have Thomas Pynchon around, doing what he does best." Entire review »

09/09/13 - New York Times - Michiko Kakutani: "The result, disappointingly, is a scattershot work that is, by turns, entertaining and wearisome, energetic and hokey, delightfully evocative and cheaply sensational; dead-on in its conjuring of zeitgeist-y atmospherics, but often slow-footed and ham-handed in its orchestration of social details." Entire review » — What? You expected praise? HAH!

09/09/12 - Wired - Jason Tanz: "Thomas Pynchon Returns as a Prophet of the Post-Snowden Era". Entire review »

09/08/13 - Phily.com - Andrew Ervin: "Line by line, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, Bleeding Edge reveals the workings of an uncommonly humane thinker and uniquely American voice working at the peak of his talents." Entire review »

09/06/13 - Slate - Troy Patterson: "His view of the tech world is captivating. Though he doesn’t attempt any grand-scale Balzacian social analysis of Silicon Alley, he gives the full Fitzgerald swoon to passages describing the ritual sacrifice of innocence on the altar of IPO ambition..." Entire review »

09/05/13 - The Paris Review - Gary Lippman: "More than any other recurring Pynchonian concept, paranoia receives nuanced treatment in the novelist’s work. A tendency toward the “p” word would seem to color his personal life as well: although he reputedly lives in plain sight on New York’s Upper West Side, he keeps his private life more private than that of any other major American artist. And, after being a stone Pynchonophile for nearly thirty years, I’ve finally started feeling a bit paranoid myself. It’s not the dot-com “hashslingrz,” Pynchon’s latest fictional conspiracy, that’s freaking me out, but the author himself." Entire review »

09/03/13 - Berfrois - Albert Rolls. Originally published in Orbit: Writing Around Pynchon: "The lightness, like that of Pynchon’s other short novels, is deceptive. Bleeding Edge is not simply the tale of Maxine’s investigation but an examination of the cultural direction America is headed in..." Entire review »

08/19/13 - Publishers Weekly - David Kipen: "Published 50 years ago by long-gone J.B. Lippincott & Co., Thomas Pynchon's V. wasn't just the best first novel ever, it was a blueprint for his entire career. Much as that book yoyo-ed between an international femme fatale and a feckless contemporary klutz, the Pynchon shelf has alternated between globe-trotting, century-spanning bricks like Gravity's Rainbow (1973), and impish, only slightly historical, California-set bagatelles like Inherent Vice (2009). Now comes Bleeding Edge, a lovably scruffy comedy of remarriage, half-hidden behind the lopsided Groucho mask of Pynchon's second straight private-eye story. Like Ornette Coleman's riff on The Rite of Spring, it starts out strong, misplaces the melody amid some delightfully surreal noodling, and finally swans away in sweet, lingering diminuendo." Entire review »

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