Bleeding Edge

( 25 )

Overview

The Washington Post
“Brilliantly written… a joy to read… Bleeding Edge is totally gonzo, totally wonderful. It really is good to have Thomas Pynchon around, doing what he does best.” (Michael Dirda)

It is 2001 in New York City, in the lull between the collapse of the dot-com boom and the terrible events of September 11th. Silicon Alley is a ghost town, Web 1.0 is having adolescent angst, Google has yet to IPO, Microsoft is still considered the ...

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Overview

The Washington Post
“Brilliantly written… a joy to read… Bleeding Edge is totally gonzo, totally wonderful. It really is good to have Thomas Pynchon around, doing what he does best.” (Michael Dirda)

It is 2001 in New York City, in the lull between the collapse of the dot-com boom and the terrible events of September 11th. Silicon Alley is a ghost town, Web 1.0 is having adolescent angst, Google has yet to IPO, Microsoft is still considered the Evil Empire. There may not be quite as much money around as there was at the height of the tech bubble, but there’s no shortage of swindlers looking to grab a piece of what’s left.

Maxine Tarnow is running a nice little fraud investigation business on the Upper West Side, chasing down different kinds of small-scale con artists. She used to be legally certified but her license got pulled a while back, which has actually turned out to be a blessing because now she can follow her own code of ethics—carry a Beretta, do business with sleazebags, hack into people’s bank accounts—without having too much guilt about any of it. Otherwise, just your average working mom—two boys in elementary school, an off-and-on situation with her sort of semi-ex-husband Horst, life as normal as it ever gets in the neighborhood—till Maxine starts looking into the finances of a computer-security firm and its billionaire geek CEO, whereupon things begin rapidly to jam onto the subway and head downtown. She soon finds herself mixed up with a drug runner in an art deco motorboat, a professional nose obsessed with Hitler’s aftershave, a neoliberal enforcer with footwear issues, plus elements of the Russian mob and various bloggers, hackers, code monkeys, and entrepreneurs, some of whom begin to show up mysteriously dead. Foul play, of course.

With occasional excursions into the DeepWeb and out to Long Island, Thomas Pynchon, channeling his inner Jewish mother, brings us a historical romance of New York in the early days of the internet, not that distant in calendar time but galactically remote from where we’ve journeyed to since.

Will perpetrators be revealed, forget about brought to justice? Will Maxine have to take the handgun out of her purse? Will she and Horst get back together? Will Jerry Seinfeld make an unscheduled guest appearance? Will accounts secular and karmic be brought into balance?

Hey. Who wants to know?

Slate.com
"If not here at the end of history, when? If not Pynchon, who? 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… a necessary novel and one that literary history has been waiting for."

The New York Times Book Review
Exemplary… dazzling and ludicrous... Our reward for surrendering expectations that a novel should gather in clarity, rather than disperse into molecules, isn’t anomie but delight.(Jonathan Lethem)

Wired magazine
The book’s real accomplishment is to claim the last decade as Pynchon territory, a continuation of the same tensions — between freedom and captivity, momentum and entropy, meaning and chaos — through which he has framed the last half-century."

***A New York Times Notable Book of 2013***

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Thomas Pynchon's first novel about New York since 1963's V transports us back to 2001 when the internet was still in its infancy and the World Trade Center had yet to fall. Inhabiting this strange in-between time is small-time fraud investigator Maxine Tarnow who rapidly finds herself over her head as she searches into the machinations of a giant computer-security firm. The discovery lands her into very Pynchonesque predicaments that are often simultaneously dangerous and bizarre. Bleeding Edge displays a master satirist of our time and our social history at his riotous best. Editor's recommendation.

Publishers Weekly
08/19/2013
Reviewed by 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. Almost all Pynchon's books are historical novels, with this one no exception. Where Vineland slyly set a story of Orwellian government surveillance in 1984, Bleeding Edge situates a fable of increasingly sentient computers in, naturally, 2001. Of course, the year 2001 means something besides HAL and Dave now, and Pynchon spirits us through "that terrible morning" in September--and its "infantilizing" aftermath--with unhysterical grace. Our heroine throughout is Maxine Tarnow, a defrocked fraud investigator and daftly doting Manhattan mom, still stuck in that early, "my husband...ex-husband" stage of an unwanted divorce. Maxi soon becomes embroiled in the mysterious case of one Lester Traipse, a superannuated Silicon Alley veteran who, along with the dotcom bubble, has just gotten popped. The plot's dizzying profusion of murder suspects plays like something out of early Raymond Chandler, under whose bright star Bleeding Edge unmistakably unreels. Shoals of red herrings keep swimming by, many of them never seen again. Still, reading Pynchon for plot is like reading Austen for sex. Each page has a little more of it than the one before, but you never quite get to the clincher. Luckily, Pynchon and Austen have ample recourse to the oldest, hardest-to-invoke rule in the book --when in doubt, be a genius. It's cheating, but it works. No one, but no one, rivals Pynchon's range of language, his elasticity of syntax, his signature mix of dirty jokes, dread and shining decency. It's a peculiarity of musical notation that major works are, more often than not, set in a minor key, and vice versa. Bleeding Edge is mellow, plummy, minor-key Pynchon, his second such in a row since Against the Day (2006)--that still-smoking asteroid, whose otherworldly inner music readers are just beginning to tap back at. But in its world-historical savvy, its supple feel for the joys and stings of love--both married and parental--this new book is anything but minor. On the contrary, Bleeding Edge is a chamber symphony in P major, so generous of invention it sometimes sprawls, yet so sharp it ultimately pierces. All this, plus a stripjoint called Joie de Beavre and a West Indian proctologist named Pokemon. Who else does that?David Kipen is the former director of reading initiatives at the National Endowment for the Arts and is the founder of Libros Schmibros, a nonprofit lending library and used bookstore in Los Angeles.
Vogue Magazine
A pitch-perfect portrait of pre-9/11, pre-social media New York that's both seductive and impossibly innocent.
The Washington Post - Michael Dirda
Brilliantly written...a joy to read...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.
New York Times Book Review - Jonathan Lethem
Exemplary...dazzling and ludicrous...Our reward for surrendering expectations that a novel should gather in clarity, rather than disperse into molecules, isn't anomie but delight. Pynchon himself's a good companion, full of real affectation for his people and places, even as he lampoons them for suffering the postmodern condition of being only partly real.
Slate.com
Brilliant and wonderful...Bleeding Edge chronicles the birth of the now — our terrorism-obsessed, NSA-everywhere, smartphone Panopticon zeitgeist — in the crash of the towers. It connects the dots, the packets, the pixels. We are all part of this story. We are all characters in Pynchon's mad world. Bleeding Edge is a novel about geeks, the Internet, New York and 9/11. It is funny, sad, paranoid and lyrical. It was difficult to put down. I want to read it again.

A precious freak of a novel, glinting rich and strange, like a black pearl from an oyster unfathomable by any other diver into our eternal souls. If not here at the end of history, when? If not Pynchon, who? 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...a necessary novel and one that literary history has been waiting for.

USA Today
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...If you're willing to enter this bleeding-edge (def: more advanced and riskier than cutting-edge) novel, figure to come out the back page a different reader, probably better off.
Wired magazine
The book's real accomplishment is to claim the last decade as Pynchon territory, a continuation of the same tensions — between freedom and captivity, momentum and entropy, meaning and chaos — through which he has framed the last half-century...As usual, Pynchon doesn't provide answers but teases us with the hint of closure, leaving us ultimately unsure whether the signals add up to a master plot or merely a series of sinister and unfortunate events. The overall effect is one of amused frustration, of dying to find that one extra piece of information that will help make sense of this overwhelming and vaguely threatening world. It feels a lot like life.
Los Angeles Times
It's fitting that Pynchon is tackling the near-present, because the real world has all but overtaken his elaborate, far-out fictions. Paranoia, conspiracy, electronic connection, government surveillance — there's nothing like reading a Pynchon novel while new revelations about the NSA are popping up on your cellphone.
The Boston Globe
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.
The Scotsman (UK)
Surely now Pynchon must be in line for the Nobel Prize?... Thomas Pynchon, America's greatest novelist, has written the greatest novel about the most significant events in his country's 21st century history. It is unequivocally a masterpiece.
Library Journal
★ 09/01/2013
Once again, Pynchon delivers an extraordinary sense of the zeitgeist. As the book opens, Maxine Tarnow—sort of separated from staid Horst—gets her sons off to school in an artfully rendered Upper West Side directly before 9/11. A fraud investigator who's lost her license, which makes for scuzzy clients but lets her pack a Beretta, Maxine is on the case when filmmaker friend Reg contacts her about his suspicions regarding hashslingrz, the computer security firm he's been asked to document. Maxine's investigations lead her to hashslingrz monomaniac Gabriel Ice; Igor, a Russian mafioso with a conscience; and two rap-spouting sidekicks named Misha and Grisha; government agent Windust, a murderer and torturer with whom Maxine exchanges information and a carnal moment; and many more. Then there's friend Vyrva, whose husband has helped create the virtual escape site DeepArcher, emblem of the turn-of-the-21st-century techno-angst, -greed, and -possibility that is the book's thematic context. VERDICT A theory is voiced here about CIA involvement in 9/11 to get funding from anti-Islamic sources. But 9/11 is not ultimately the point. Nor is Maxine's page-turning, occasionally dense, high art-low art mystery trail. What matters is the creation of a time, a place, and authentic, deeply connected characters, all heightened by Pynchon's darkly hilarious way with language and located on the "bleeding edge" as the world changed. [See Prepub Alert, 5/6/13.]—Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-09-01
Pynchon (Inherent Vice, 2009, etc.) makes a much-anticipated return, and it's trademark stuff: a blend of existential angst, goofy humor and broad-sweeping bad vibes. Paranoia, that operative word in Pynchon's world ever since Gravity's Rainbow (1973), is what one of his characters here calls "the garlic in life's kitchen." Well, there's paranoia aplenty to be had in Pynchon's sauté pan, served up in the dark era of the 9/11 attack, the dot-com meltdown and the Patriot Act. Maxine Tarnow is, on the face of it, just another working mom in the city, but in reality, after she's packed her kids' lunches and delivered them at school, she's ferreting around with data cowboys and code monkeys, looking into various sorts of electronic fraud. Her estranged husband, apparently a decent enough sort, "to this day has enjoyed a nearly error-free history of knowing how certain commodities around the world will behave," but Maxine has a keen sense of how data flows and from whom to whom. One track she follows leads to a genius billionaire and electronic concoctions that can scarcely be believed--but also, in a customarily loopy way, to organized crime, terrorism, big data and the U.S. government, with the implication, as Horst later will ponder, that all are bound up in the collapse of the Twin Towers. ("Remember the week before this happened, all those put options on United and American Airlines? Which turned out to be exactly the two airlines that got hijacked?") If you were sitting in a plane next to someone muttering about such things, you might ask to change seats, but Pynchon has long managed to blend his particularly bleak view of latter-day humankind with a tolerant ability to find true humor in our foibles. If he's sometimes heavy-handed, he's also attuned precisely to the zeitgeist, drawing in references to Pabst Blue Ribbon longnecks, Mamma Mia, the Diamondbacks/Yankees World Series, Office Space, and the touching belief of young Zuckerbergs in the age before Zuckerberg that their bleeding-edge technology--"[n]o proven use, high risk, something only early-adoption addicts feel comfortable with"--will somehow be put to good use rather than, as Pynchon assures us, to the most evil applications. Of a piece with Pynchon's recent work--not quite a classic à la V. but in a class of its own--more tightly woven but no less madcap than Inherent Vice, and sure to the last that we live in a world of very odd shadows.
The Barnes & Noble Review

In 1973, in the cult film Soylent Green — a science fiction thriller in which global warming has thrown the earth's ecosystem disastrously off balance, panic pervades society, and New York streets teem with the poor and dispossessed — humans choose the moment when they wish to die, which they call "going home." The process for making this final exit is lullingly benign — and, at the present cultural moment, hauntingly familiar. The departed-to-be willingly enters a surround-sound video chamber and, while slipping into drugged oblivion, drinks in an ecstatic screenscape of color- saturated vistas whose theme he has himself pre-selected, accompanied by a soundtrack of his favorite sort of music (picture the iconic '80s Maxell TV ad, but with the enraptured armchair listener etherized upon a table). In Thomas Pynchon's showstopping Bleeding Edge (his ninth novel), this visual means of escape has been made everyday by the technological progress of the last forty years: what once was virtual death now has become a virtual reality. His setting is New York City in 2001 — a place that will soon endure a catastrophe that will feel like science fiction but isn't: the 9/11 attacks. In his futuristic (recent) present, at a time when New Yorkers are still recovering from the bursting of the dot-com bubble, anyone who has access to a computer screen and knows where to look can find refuge from the post-tech- boom doldrums in a parallel digital universe called "DeepArcher" (get it?), and secede from "meatspace" reality-with or without doing what we once thought of as dying. During one foray into this enveloping cyber universe, Pynchon's protagonist, a vigilante fraud inspector and separated Upper West Side mom named Maxine (Maxi) Tarnow, thinks of her young sons, Ziggy and Otis, who gleefully obliterate targets in violent video games at every opportunity. As she roves a pixellated online desert, interacting with avatars of her friends and foes (who may or may not be who they claim they are, if in fact they are alive at all), she asks herself how DeepArcher differs from her children's play. "Does anybody get extra lives," she wonders. "Does anybody even get this one?"

In New York in 2001, the line between imagined life and actual existence has dissolved to such an extent that Maxi cannot be sure. As she stalks her online labyrinth hunting for proof of the dubious dealings of a computer security firm called hashslingerz, which seems to have ties with Mossad, the Russian mob, CIA spooks, and Middle East terrorists, she senses DeepArcher's awesome synthesizing power. "Latent, maybe it's geometric," she reasons, this app may have the capacity to resurrect the pre-9/11 world and its inhabitants: "a sacred city all in pixels waiting to be reassembled, as if disasters could be run in reverse, the towers rise out of black ruin, the bits and pieces and lives, no matter how finely vaporized, become whole again." There's only one flaw to Maxi's consoling scenario: any hacker who can crack the DeepArcher code can warp the storyline to suit his own purposes — which may be as venal as guiding users to shop and gamble, or may be far more sinister. And unlike her sons, Maxi is not in control of the joystick. "We're being played," her techie friend Eric warns her. "The game is fixed, and it won't end till the Internet's destroyed." But how do you destroy something that does not in the physical sense exist; which is, nonetheless, ubiquitous; and whose participants urgently wish for it to continue? Pynchon has converted age-old dilemmas of life and death into encrypted mysteries of the "Deep Web," which operate without a master programmer, on- or offscreen. What is coded, what is uncoded; and by extension, what is intentional and what is random, anymore? Maxi calls this vertiginous blur "virtuality creep." Anyone who reads this book can look out the window — or into a computer screen — and instantly know what she's talking about.

Ever since he began writing fiction, Pynchon has eerily anticipated the state of polytropic whir and leap-frogging associations that marks today's status quo. In 1963, when he published his brilliant, convoluted, boisterous first novel, V. (it won the Faulkner Prize), the twenty-six-year-old novelist electrified and mystified the reading public. His language and vision were decades ahead of his time; and his fervid, farcical, gymnastic imagination beguiled the kind of readers who were susceptible to what Yeats called "the fascination of what's difficult" — and infuriated everyone else. Ten years later, his macabre, despairing, erotic, and wickedly funny masterpiece, Gravity's Rainbow (it came out the same year as Soylent Green) clinched his reputation, but inflamed Pollyannaish critics who were so horrified by the book's louche preoccupations — sex, Hitler Jugend, and phallic projectiles — that they missed the author's visionary philosophy and even questioned his sanity.

But even at their most willfully abstruse, Pynchon's fictions have always seethed with metaphysical purpose. In V. (his last novel before Bleeding Edge to make New York City its main setting ) he wrote that life has only a "single lesson: that there is more accident to it than a man can admit to in a lifetime and stay sane." He tacitly dedicated Gravity's Rainbow, via epigraph, to Dr. Wernher von Braun — the German scientist who invented the V-2 rocket, which played a damnable role in the Second World War and a starring role in the novel. "Nature does not know extinction; all it knows is transformation," Pynchon quoted. Science, von Braun's aperçu continued, "strengthens my belief in the continuity of our spiritual existence after death." A decade after Bleeding Edge's 2001 timestamp, the twin forces of history and technology have allowed Pynchon to look back, rather than forward, to unite these two epiphanies without any need for a great logical leap from the reader. His message is delivered against cyber-inflected contemporary backdrop that even a decade ago might have seemed like comic-book fantasy, but now is simple documentary. He does not presume to answer the existential questions he raises: like Maxi's nonjudgmental filmmaker friend Reg Despard, who has intuited the coming YouTube era, he records everything his lens takes in, knowing that millions will soon throw their own footage on the web for all to see, and to analyze the images as they see fit. "Everybody'll be shootin everything, way too much to look at," Reg tells Maxi. "Think of me as the prophet of that." It is Pynchon, of course, who was and is the prophet of that; and whose eyes were and are his camera.

As the story begins, in the spring of 2001, Maxi Tarnow innocently walks her kids to their artsy-fartsy Upper West Side private school, admiring the blossoming Callery pear trees, planning, perhaps, a grocery run to Fairway or Zabar's. In those comparatively halcyon days, the biggest problem faced by Maxi and her friends — members of the "nerdistocracy" — was the slipping of their fortunes as Silicon Alley's fortunes rolled into the gutter. At a nostalgic revel on September 8th , thrown to celebrate hashslingerz's newest acquisition, Maxi and her cronies dance on a wave of "nineties irony, a little past its sell-by date," as they recall their recently retreated security: "the day jobs with meetings about meetings and bosses without clue, the unreal strings of zeros, the business models changing one minute to the next, the start-up parties every night of the week?" Three days later everything will change, as the sanity-challenging "accident" of 9/11 will at last snap them out of complacency and awaken them to the precariousness of their fates. Meanwhile, the ongoing Internet beta-test of Wernher von Braun's dream of life after death (of a kind) will acquire new urgency. Pynchon couches these perceptions in a rollicking, zesty, easy-to-follow story that's as warm and recognizable as any Upper West Side brownstone block — even if his heroine packs a Beretta and pole dances as she tracks the dastardly doings of Gabriel Ice, the villainous "entreprenerd" who heads hashslingerz.

Literary trends and popular speech have caught up with Pynchon between the publication of V. and Bleeding Edge; such that his style no longer confounds the nimbler reader, while his language, even at its saltiest, no longer outrages anyone who's ever skimmed a blog. Today's readers, accustomed to web surfing and channel hopping, are more used to thinking associatively than they were in the '60s and '70s; while many other authors — Jonathan Lethem, Don DeLillo, and Richard Price, to name three — have deepened and widened the dystopic, cinematic path that Pynchon was the first to break. The future that he so precociously, disturbingly foresaw long ago now surges around us. 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?

Liesl Schillinger is a New York–based writer and translator. Her Penguin Classics translation of The Lady of the Camellias, by Alexandre Dumas Fils, came out this summer. Her illustrated book of neologisms, Wordbirds, appears in Fall 2013, from Simon & Schuster.

Reviewer: Liesl Schillinger

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594204234
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 9/17/2013
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 120,972
  • Product dimensions: 6.56 (w) x 9.36 (h) x 1.51 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Pynchon

THOMAS PYNCHON is the author of V.; The Crying of Lot 49; Gravity’s Rainbow; Slow Learner, a collection of short stories; Vineland; Mason & Dixon; Against the Day; and, most recently, Inherent Vice. He received the National Book Award for Gravity’s Rainbow in 1974.

Biography

Thomas Pynchon was born in 1937. His books include The Crying of Lot 49, Gravity's Rainbow, Vineland, and Mason & Dixon.

Author biography courtesy of HarperCollins.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Thomas Ruggles Pynchon Jr. (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 8, 1937
    2. Place of Birth:
      Glen Cove, Long Island, New York
    1. Education:
      B. A., Cornell University, 1958

Read an Excerpt

It’s the first day of spring 2001, and Maxine Tarnow, though some still have her in their system as Loeffler, is walking her boys to school. Yes maybe they’re past the age where they need an escort, maybe Maxine doesn’t want to let go just yet, it’s only a couple blocks, it’s on her way to work, she enjoys it, so?

This morning, all up and down the streets, what looks like every Callery Pear tree on the Upper West Side has popped overnight into clusters of white pear blossoms. As Maxine watches, sunlight finds its way past rooflines and water tanks to the end of the block and into one particular tree, which all at once is filled with light.

“Mom?” Ziggy in the usual hurry. “Yo.”

“Guys, check it out, that tree?”

Otis takes a minute to look. “Awesome, Mom.”

“Doesn’t suck,” Zig agrees. The boys keep going, Maxine regards the tree half a minute more before catching up. At the corner, by reflex, she drifts into a pick so as to stay between them and any driver whose idea of sport is to come around the corner and run you over.

Sunlight reflected from east-facing apartment windows has begun to show up in blurry patterns on the fronts of buildings across the street. Two-part buses, new on the routes, creep the crosstown blocks like giant insects. Steel shutters are being rolled up, early trucks are double-parking, guys are out with hoses cleaning off their piece of sidewalk. Unsheltered people sleep in doorways, scavengers with huge plastic sacks full of empty beer and soda cans head for the markets to cash them in, work crews wait in front of buildings for the super to show up. Runners are bouncing up and down at the curb waiting for lights to change. Cops are in coffee shops dealing with bagel deficiencies. Kids, parents, and nannies wheeled and afoot are heading in all different directions for schools in the neighborhood. Half the kids seem to be on new Razor scooters, so to the list of things to keep alert for add ambush by rolling aluminum.

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Customer Reviews

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    What we learn from Thomas Pynchon: the world is a dangerous plac

    What we learn from Thomas Pynchon: the world is a dangerous place, but also one filled with strange wonders. That many of those wonders, beautiful and horrifying, come from the human imagination. We have waited just long enough for the contours of 9/11 to blur ever so slightly, and then they are molded back into sharper relief than ever in the simultaneously exuberant and knowing hands of a master magician. We read this book not for a history lesson, but for something deeper, an understanding of the human psyche, in all its intricate and compelling compelxities. Can we read this book without becoming mesmerized, shocked and moved, deeply moved? It is in the humanity of the author and his capacity to make gorgeous (and sometimes cranky) music through his language that gives this book its brilliant, compelling luster. This book is listed as a historical mystery, which is a bit like listing Moby-Dick as a fisherman's tale of the one that got away. This is a book about our souls, and the dark tinge that edges into our hearts.

    This marks the third Pynchon-related book of the year, each idiosyncratic in its exceptional beauty (the other two carrying blurbs from Pynchon): Tenth of December by George Saunders, working with a post-maximalist music in ten strange stories, each posing a cocked ear and a knowing eye toward our addled times; and The Glass Ocean by Lori Baker, an extended tone poem, that conjures a world of art, science, abandonment and longing. These are, to my mind, the best three works of fiction of 2013. The shared aspect: Pynchon, Saunders and Baker are not following anyone else's path -- they are writing art, not commerce.

    18 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2013

    Didn't do it for me

    I know Thos. Pynchon is a great writer but I didn't get a third of the way through this work before I ditched it. I don't find his style funny. I don't care about his characters. I found the number of characters introduced to be confusing and without merit. The rambling style of the dialog is boring and meaningless. Sorry. I know he has a lot of fans but I'm not among them.

    7 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 12, 2013

    A great read as expected

    Following Inherent Vice, the master just keeps on rolling with this one. Stream of consciousness catch the wave you never want to get off. Terrific humor, though I wonder if anyone is erudite enough to get all the jokes. It helps a lot to have some understanding of the internet, computer programming and associated jargon, New York city, Jewish culture, and too many other things to list here. The heroine is fantastic, sez I. Enough conspiracy theory to make one think again about who knew what and when in the Bush administration. I recommend this book highly. I have read most of Pynchon's books and enjoyed them all. I hope the mysterious Old Dude has several more in him.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2013

    Plot spoiler

    One review and its a plot spoiler. Thank you very much for ruining the book.

    4 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 10, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Thomas Pynchon. You like his style or you don't.  I love it.  Bl

    Thomas Pynchon. You like his style or you don't.  I love it.  Bleeding Edge is humorous, nerdy, insightful, poignant, and thrilling.  He handles the post "11 September" with grace, illustrating the malaise and social/national fallout that followed, all without being insensitive or gushy.  It's quirky and weird, and definitely unconventional when compared with the majority of narratives in popular literature.  Kudos to Pynchon for another wild ride!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2013

    It seems that the majority of the postings here are by people wh

    It seems that the majority of the postings here are by people who have never read Pynchon or even know anything about his writing.  HIs plots aren't obvious, they never have been in any book.  Once you think you have it, you discover it changes paths.  You end up finding that with Pynchon it's not about the destination, it's about the journey. 

     "Confusing narrative. Crude sex which adds nothing to the plot, but shows the base characters of the main persons."   Sorry, but maybe the Twilight series is more for you.


    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2013

    It's Thomas Pynchon

    Amazingly intelligent, bitingly satirical and culturally literate, this novel works on so many levels. Another breathtaking novel from one of America's finest writers.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2014

    The Bleeding Edge. to me, is analogous to the Seinfeld sitcom.

    The Bleeding Edge. to me, is analogous to the Seinfeld sitcom. The latter was a self-proclaimed show about nothing – nevertheless we found it amusing and enjoyable. I got many chuckles and laughs reading this fast-paced novel about nothing.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2014

    Ideas trump prose

    A lot of the humor is reliant on Yiddish and Russian cognates. The book pokes fun at and points out how endlessly discomfitted we are by technology and its course to change us. An important if at times frustrating read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2013

    Not Pynchon's Best

    Pynchon got lost on the Upper West Side and hasn't found his way out. Vaguely resembles Crying but misses many fine points of novelistic determinism. It rambles.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2013

    Couldn't finish the book

    I always finish what I start to read except this time. I couldn't follow the plot and I didn't get his abbreviations. I would look up words I didn't understand and they weren't in the dictionary. I kept ready thinking that things would become understandable--they didn't.

    I'm not stupid, I have a MBA.

    I lost interest quickly.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 28, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Havent read it but this book deserves better ratings than what t

    Havent read it but this book deserves better ratings than what these numbskulls are posting, though i have faith this book'll be a great experience like his always tend to be.

    1 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 17, 2014

    Very evocative of a time and place -- NYC in the year falling fr

    Very evocative of a time and place -- NYC in the year falling from Spring 2001 to Spring 2002, the remnants of the dotcom bust, the rise of the security state, and the tension between the necessary sense of community and the need for some to grab whatever they can. A story of the many meanings of family, masquerading as a detective novel. It rewarded my time, and sometimes my patience, with a huge story brilliantly told, revolving around a small family in a big city.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 1, 2013

    Did not like this novel

    I think if you were a New Yorker, this novel would not be as incomprehensible as I found it. I stopped reading 1/3 of the way through.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2013

    Not recommended

    Confusing narrative. Crude sex which adds nothing to the plot, but shows the base characters of the main persons.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2013

    There is no plot, to speak of, to spoil...all character driven.

    There is no plot, to speak of, to spoil...all character driven...all the characters and dialogue are just too ironic and sooo clever and cutsey...willful suspension of disbelief is abandoned in favor of an exercise in authorial bravura......if you like implausibility and deus machina interveners, you'll love this tour de egomanical author farce....the whole premise of the book excruciatingly builds to predictable cliche 9/11 an UN-denouement...

    IMO, not even worthy for consideration of a National Book Award...

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2013

    tiresome read

    flat characters, little plot and hard to read...not worthy of a book award...

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 18, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Couldn't finish

    I bought the Audio CD and could not get past the reader, Jennie Berlin. Her voice was like a sleeping pill while scratching the chalkboard with nails, I listened to the first CD and could not finish

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2013

    Not a plot spolier it just shows it is not to my tasre

    Blurbs reviews customers and editor save unwanted reading this includes one star reviews we have our own tastes and this wasnt however it might have if was at library when you cant pick up a book and lesf through makes you cautious unless it is free or under three dollars mom

    0 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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