Crying of Lot 49

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  • Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)


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Novel by Thomas Pynchon, published in 1966.

When Mrs. Oedipa Mass learns that the will of her onetime lover, a real estate mogul, Pierce Inverarity, has made her an executor of his estate, she leaves her husband Mucho to investigate Inverarity's property. The investigation leads to the discovery of what she takes to be a conspiratorial underground communications system dating from the 16th century. As she travels through California on her new quest she encounters the system's symbol, the Tristero, a muted post horn, in many odd places and meets such curious people as Professor Bortz, editor of a 17th-century drama that treats the Tristero. Finally she believes she will solve the enigma through a mysterious bidder eager to buy Inverarity's stamp collection, but the novel concludes as Oedipa awaits the crying out at the auction of the salient lot numbered 49.

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards).

Reference entries

Thomas Pynchon (b. 1937) American novelist