BLEEDING EDGE By Thomas Pynchon

Honey West meets The Matrix. That was my first thought while reading Thomas Pynchon’s loony new novel, Bleeding Edge. The story takes place in and around New York City in the year before the events of September 11. Maxine Tarnow operates a fraud investigation business and becomes involved in the possible terrorist conspiracy. Plenty of secret agents, drugs, computer hacking, and paranoia. For those of us who read Pynchon’s V. back in the Sixties, Bleeding Edge resembles a semi-sequel without the alligators in the sewers. I’m not sure who the audience for this book is. It’s too long–477 pages–for my students to bother with (and it doesn’t have any dwarfs or dragons). The rambling plot is sure to frustrate the casual reader who isn’t attuned to Pynchon’s tricks. Pynchon still displays his brilliance, but few and few readers are going to appreciate it. GRADE: B

16 thoughts on “BLEEDING EDGE By Thomas Pynchon

  1. RkR

    I breezed through GRAVITY’S RAINBOW in a day and a half, and had been hoping for something a littler meatier. I don’t think the great novel of September 2001 has yet been written and this doesn’t sound like it. I’ll skip.

  2. George Kelley

    Rick, I’m guessing my students (who were 7 or 8 when 9/11 happened) would not get all the references Pynchon makes to video games of that time or the current events of 2000. Some Ph.D. student will earn a doctorate annotating BLEEDING EDGE for younger readers.

  3. RkR

    Goodness, how quickly they forget. Was it always this way? Seems to me history classes taught us abut the past, ancient and recent, and we knew even if we didn’t personally remember.

  4. Richard

    Probably not… I doubt there’s much history on those blasted state mandated tests. Someone, somewhere probably thinks it doesn’t need to be taught because “they can look it up on line”. * S I G H *


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