Thomas Pynchon’s new novel, “Bleeding Edge,” more than confirms his standing as the most important postmodern American novelist.
When the novel opens, the protagonist, Maxine Loeffler-Tarnow, drops her kids, Ziggy and Otis, at school on a beautiful first day of spring 2001. Her husband does not seem to be around. The timeframe and location evoke the calm before the storm, for the narrative carries us through the 9/11 terrorist destruction of the World Trade Center and the new “abnormal” to follow.
Throughout the novel, we experience Pynchon’s perfectly controlled prose with its mix of outrageous puns, catalogs of people and places in an almost epic manner, and allusions to high and low culture both real and invented. Thus the long-established Pynchon themes quickly accumulate: paranoia, dismay over the greed and fraud that characterize late American capitalism, technology and its misuse, human manipulation, to name a few.
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