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Spanning the period between the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 and the years just after World War I, this novel moves from the labor troubles in Colorado to turn-of-the-century New York, to London and Gottingen, Venice and Vienna, the Balkans, Central Asia, Siberia at the time of the mysterious Tunguska Event, Mexico during the Revolution, postwar Paris, silent-era Hollywood, and one or two places not strictly speaking on the map at all.
With a worldwide disaster looming just a few years ahead, it is a time of unrestrained corporate greed, false religiosity, moronic fecklessness, and evil intent in high places. No reference to the present day is intended or should be inferred.
The sizable cast of characters includes anarchists, balloonists, gamblers, corporate tycoons, drug enthusiasts, innocents and decadents, mathematicians, mad scientists, shamans, psychics, and stage magicians, spies, detectives, adventuresses, and hired guns. There are cameo appearances by Nikola Tesla, Bela Lugosi, and Groucho Marx.
As an era of certainty comes crashing down around their ears and an unpredictable future commences, these folks are mostly just trying to pursue their lives. Sometimes they manage to catch up; sometimes it's their lives that pursue them.
Meanwhile, the author is up to his usual business. Characters stop what they're doing to sing what are for the most part stupid songs. Strange sexual practices take place. Obscure languages are spoken, not always idiomatically. Contrary-to-the-fact occurrences occur. If it is not the world, it is what the world might be with a minor adjustment or two. According to some, this is one of the main purposes of fiction.
Let the reader decide, let the reader beware. Good luck.
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Thomas Pynchon is the author of V., The Crying of Lot 49, Gravity's Rainbow, Slow Learner, a collection of short stories, Vineland and, most recently, Mason and Dixon. He received the National Book Award for Gravity's Rainbow in 1974.From AudioFile:
Listeners navigating Pynchon's latest magnum opus could easily be thrown off by the multitude of characters, themes, and events in this novel that spans several decades around the cusp of the twentieth century. From bomb-throwing anarchists to greedy capitalists, from miners to "pavement nymphs," from adventurers to mystics, reader Dick Hill works wonders as he portrays this cast of hundreds who wend their way through a dense yet always intriguing story. With a palette of voices that not only capture the unique traits of each character but make them all stand out, and with narration that keeps the story flowing, listeners who persevere through this long novel will find both the story and the performance immensely rewarding. K.M. © AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
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Book Description Tantor Audio, 2006. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M140013370X
Book Description Tantor Audio, 2006. Audio CD. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P11140013370X