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He is one of the most polarizing figures in world literature. No photographs of him have been published since the fifties. He is the textbook example of postmodernism, famous for his large, dense, and (according to some people) unapproachable tomes. He is Thomas Pynchon: one of America’s leading men of letters, one of the most secretive novelists the world over, a perennial Nobel Prize in Literature candidate, and according to leading book critic and editor Ron Charles, his next book will apparently soon be arriving at bookstores. Charles tweeted that two sources at Penguin Press, Pynchon’s publishing house, had confirmed the news. If it is true, no release date has been set yet.
Entitled The Bleeding Edge, details are scarce, which is not too surprising considering Pynchon’s reclusive nature. It could be another labyrinthine, doorstop-sized novel like two of Pynchon’s most acclaimed books, Gravity’s Rainbow (winner of the 1974 National Book Award) and Mason and Dixon or it could be a beach read, like his latest book, Inherent Vice.
The term ‘bleeding edge’ is usually used when talking about new technology whose use could be risky or unreliable and cause companies great expenses. It is unclear if this is what Pynchon means with the title, but his books have a history of being concerned with mathematics and technology, so it is not too unlikely a guess.
Pynchon, following the tradition of J.D. Salinger, is a notoriously reclusive novelist. Details about his life are scarce. He was raised on Long Island, where he attended Oyster Bay High School, graduating at age 16. He attended Cornell University, where he studied Electrical Engineering before taking a few years off to join the navy. Upon his reentry into the school, he switched to English and enrolled in a class taught by Vladimir Nabokov of Lolita fame. After graduation, he took a job as a technical writer at Boeing while writing his first novel, V. He soon quit his job in the early 60’s and immersed himself in the hippie culture of California, whereupon the public’s knowledge of Pynchon ends.
Inherent Vice is also due for a movie adaption, sources say. Director Paul Thomas Anderson, famous for directing movies such as ‘There Will Be Blood’ and most recently ‘The Master’, has expressed interest in directing a film adaption of the novel. Principal shooting will take place this year, and IMDB gives the movie a tentative 2014 release date. The book was met with mixed reviews, but given Anderson’s past experiences with filmmaking, it could become one of the greatest movies of the decade.
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