Thomas Pynchon, known for his complex novels with an edge, has come up with his latest novel “Bleeding Edge,” chosen in this year’s National Book Awards for fiction. Pynchon won the award in 1974, for his novel “Gravity Rainbow,” based on a plot after World War II on V-2 rockets made by the German military.
Wikipedia reported Gravity Rainbow was up for a Pulitzer Prize; however it was not received due to this –
Although selected by the Pulitzer Prize jury on fiction for the 1974 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, a single passage involving coprophilia offended the other members of the Pulitzer board, who rejected the selection. No Pulitzer Prize was awarded for fiction that year.The novel was nominated for the 1973 Nebula Award for Best Novel
The article about this piece was in the New York Times called “Publishing: Pulitzer Controversies" on May 11, 1984 by Edwin McDowell.
Pynchon, 76, though popular, has been described as a “recluse” by media sources and has kept his privacy intact for many years. Bleeding Edge is his seventh novel, but he also wrote a collection of short stories called “Slow Learner” which was published in 1984.
The edginess and mystery in his novels is apparent, as in the novel “Inherent Vice” about private eye Doc Sportello. Here is a critic’s review on his latest from Booklist -
*Starred Review* Pynchon’s debut novel, V., appeared 50 years ago, and ever since he’s been tracking dubious covert actions and the arc and consequences of technology in novels of labyrinthine complexity, impish wit, and open-armed compassion. Of late, his inquiry has taken the form of rambunctious and penetrating crime novels. Inherent Vice (2009), currently being adapted for film, is set in 1960s Los Angeles and features a pothead PI and the launch of the digital revolution. In his latest, a hilarious, shrewd, and disquieting metaphysical mystery, Pynchon expresses love for New York City and leeriness of the seemingly boundless reach of the Internet. In spring 2001, the dot-com bubble has burst and 9/11 looms. Maxine Tarnow, a fraud investigator gone rogue, is unflappable, wise-cracking, Beretta-toting, and Jewish. Devoted to her young sons, she is embroiled in an amorphous case involving a sinister techie billionaire, diverted funds, Islamic terrorists, hip-hop-spouting Russian gangsters, a black-ops agent, a cosmic bike messenger, and a “Deep Web” virtual reality. Fearless, caustic, lightning-witted Maxine (sister to characters created by Sara Paretsky and Cynthia Ozick) instigates some of the funniest banter ever scripted. But amid the sharp hilarity of this exuberantly maze-like, pop-culture-peppered, deeply informed tale, Pynchon incisively and cuttingly broaches unanswered questions surrounding the tragedy of 9/11 and elucidates just how profoundly life has changed in its wake.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Pynchon is a magnet for media attention and reader fervency, and this New York mystery will exert a powerful pull. --Donna Seaman
Vulture.com gives an absorbing view on Pynchon latest, describing in the article “On the Thomas Pynchon Trail: From the Long Island of His Boyhood to the ‘Yupper West Side’ of His New Novel” by Boris Kachka this –
But no book is closer to home than Bleeding Edge. It’s impossible not to read into it a grizzled wanderer’s wary truce with New York, conformity, and life in public. It’s there in the teasing epigraph, a quote from crime writer Donald Westlake that describes the city as “the enigmatic suspect who knows the real story but isn’t going to tell it.”
It’s a fun-filled, pun-filled thriller, close in spirit to Inherent Vice and surprisingly blasé about its own conspiracy theories. Maxine jokes that “paranoia’s the garlic in life’s kitchen, right, you can never have too much.” September 11, the putative turning point, is treated with the distance and numbness a local feels today—as a catastrophe quickly drowned out by the noise of pop culture and unjust wars and the city’s endless appetite for construction.
More on this article can be read below.
The MSNBC program “Morning Joe” was the first to broadcast the 2013 finalists of the National Book Awards for fiction, non-fiction, poetry and children’s books on Oct. 16. David Steinberger announced the books and gave a brief description of each. View the video below; when going to site, look between videos 40-42 while scrolling.
Bleeding Edge has received many rave reviews. The winners of the award will be announced Nov.20.