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Die Versteigerung von No. 49 (1966)

von Thomas Pynchon

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10,180180575 (3.72)1 / 415
Quite unexpectedly, Mrs. Oedipa Maas finds herself the executor of the estate of Pierce Inverarity, a man she used to know in a more-or-less intimate fashion. Oedipa leaves her home and her husband and heads to Southern California to sort through Pierce's affairs. Pierce, however, did not intend for the job to be an easy one for Oedipa, and soon she becomes ensared in a surreal, hilarious, and puzzling world-wide conspiracy centered around Pierce's strange business partners and dealings.… (mehr)
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» Siehe auch 415 Erwähnungen/Diskussionen

A truly aspirational novel. Left me dreaming of moving to California and losing my mind.

Alternate review: This is why you don't go to therapy!!! ( )
  bluestraveler | Aug 15, 2022 |

Oedipa Maas takes leave of her husband, Mucho (groan), to execute the will of her wealthy but slightly unhinged former lover, Pierce Inverarity. Some bathroom graffiti in a bar called the Oscilloscope puts her idle mind on the trail of a centuries-old conspiracy involving rival courier companies. Has she stumbled upon a bonafide postal conspiracy overlooked by modern scholars? Or is this all a hoax dreamed up by Inverarity, with the help of a local theater troupe and a rock group called The Paranoids?

Over the course of her investigation, Oedipa meets many men eager to assist and sleep with her. As she digs more deeply, uncovering more and more evidence, the conspiracy fights back, and the males disappear or lose interest. "They are stripping away, one by one, my men", she notes in despair. Is a secret cabal killing off all possible support? Are the seemingly chance meetings actually an elaborate revenge by a spurned ex-lover, intended to leave her seduced and abandoned? Is her increasing paranoia simply making her more and more unattractive?


Perhaps the most important detail of the novel is the Jacobean play, The Courier's Tragedy, whose performance starts Oedipa on the trail of the conspiracy. This play provides an excuse, of sorts, for the ridiculous character names: Oedipa, Mucho Maas, Dr Hilarius, Mike Fallopian, Genghis Cohen. Ben Jonson was fond of such character names in his own satires: Lovewit, Littlewit, Dapper, Epicure Mammon, Winwife, Purecraft, and Justice Overdo are examples. Jonson, however, uses such names as thumbnail sketches of the characters themselves; for Pynchon, they are simply throwaway gags.

The play itself seems to be a stand-in for Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Revenge Tragedy, judging both by its plot and by its grouping in a modern edition with plays by Ford, Webster, and Tourneur. I found some elements of the plot to be unconvincing for a Jacobean play, and the quoted verse even more so -- but I realize that I'm a tough audience for this sort of thing, and Pynchon's effort is certainly well-informed. His familiarity with, and perhaps disdain for, the period is shown when Oedipa is exposed to Jacobean writing, which "was full of words ending in e's, s's that looked like f's, capitalized nouns, y's where i's should've been." Oedipa's reaction? "I can't read this." Chaucer shakes his head sadly and mopes his way to Cantebury.


The book ends with the 'crying', or auctioning, of Lot 49, a stamp collection from Inverarity's estate which contains proof of the existence of the conspiracy. As Oedipa waits for the hammer to fall, she has come to accept that, hoax or not, her investigation has provided her "A real alternative to the exitlessness, to the absence of surprise to life, that harrows the head of everybody american you know."


Ultimately, does it work? As a masterpiece of conspiracy and paranoia, it does not hold a candle to The Illuminatus Trilogy or Sewer, Gas, and Electric, let alone Foucault's Pendulum. It works well as a novel, and turns out to be quite entertaining for a post-modern novel. Pynchon himself seems eager to disown the work, though, so perhaps one should be wary about applying too much analysis to it.
( )
  mkfs | Aug 13, 2022 |
My first and probably last Thomas Pynchon. ( )
  SarahMac314 | Aug 12, 2022 |
i guess you need a phd to understand some of this stuff. ( )
  btbell_lt | Aug 1, 2022 |
This is one of the funniest books I have ever read. From the opening page the names, the events, the plot, all serve to provide humor in many ways. The story is disjointed by an abundance of ideas that only loosely hang together.
What impressed me the most, the moments that had me laughing out loud instead of just smiling (which I did on almost every page), were some of the most outrageous names like that of the protagonist Oedipa Maas and her husband Mucho Mass (!); but also Dr. Hilarious, Mike Fallopian, Arnold Snarb, Genghis Cohen, and many others on almost every page - there were no John Smiths in this book.

There were also the connections, at least those that I noted, that seemed to occur without warning. One connection that I found most exciting was when I remembered a passing reference to Cornell University on the opening page of the novel when I noted, on the first page of the final chapter, a song written by one of the characters Oedipa had only recently met which included the name "Humbert Humbert" in the lyrics. (I hope the connection requires no explanation.)

But that leads to the best aspect of the narrative, for it is surreal, having an absurd quality like it was a perpetual dream sequence. The events do not seem to follow any pattern, although there is the arc of the story based on Oedipa's nomination to be executor of the will of one Pierce Inverarity, which event did not seem to be explained by anything she could think of -- a letter from his law firm "said Pierce had died back in the spring, and they'd only just now found the will. . . She tried to think back to whether anything unusual had happened around then" (when she had been designated in a codicil the previous year). That is the event that sets her on her wild journey. It's one that involves unexpected events that tumble after each other culminating in a denouement that connects with the opening in an unexpected, perhaps bizarre, way. I will not attempt to explain the plot which involves bone charcoal, an Elizabethan drama, named "The Courier's Tragedy" which at least seems appropriate given other aspects of the plot, a modern megacorporation (wonderfully named Yoyodyne), and a mystery about an ancient symbol that is somehow connected to a valuable postage stamp. That list should be enough to whet any reader's appetite while suggesting how outrageously surreal the narrative becomes.

Needless to say I could not put the book down, for it was an exciting read in addition to being hilarious on almost every page. I would highly recommend this to readers who enjoy the works of authors like Sterne, Joyce or, in a more contemporary vein, Haruki Murikami. ( )
  jwhenderson | Jun 20, 2022 |

» Andere Autoren hinzufügen (31 möglich)

AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
Pynchon, ThomasHauptautoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Albahari, DavidNachwortCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Albahari, DavidÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Angell, OlavÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Bocchiola, MassimoÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Chalupský, RudolfÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Doury, MichelÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Jeffs, NikolaiVorwortCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Jonkers, RonaldÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Kim, Sang-guÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Lawrie, BobUmschlagillustrationCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Lundgren, CajÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Moya, Antonio-PrometeoÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Penberthy, MarkUmschlagillustrationCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Petersen, Arne HerløvÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Potokar, JureÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Shimura, MasaoÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Shorer, ʻIditÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Siemion, PiotrÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Teichmann, WulfÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Valkonen, TeroÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
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One summer afternoon Mrs Oedipa Maas came home from a Tupperware party whose hostess had put perhaps too much kirsch in the fondue to find that she, Oedipa, had been named executor, or she supposed executrix, of the estate of one Pierce Inverarity, a California real estate mogul who had once lost two million dollars in his spare time but still had assets numerous and tangled enough to make the job of sorting it all out more than honorary.
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The author of "The Crying of Lot 29" is Thomas Pynchon, not Kurt Vonnegut. If this is your copy, please correct the author.
https://www.librarything.com/work/4918...
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Quite unexpectedly, Mrs. Oedipa Maas finds herself the executor of the estate of Pierce Inverarity, a man she used to know in a more-or-less intimate fashion. Oedipa leaves her home and her husband and heads to Southern California to sort through Pierce's affairs. Pierce, however, did not intend for the job to be an easy one for Oedipa, and soon she becomes ensared in a surreal, hilarious, and puzzling world-wide conspiracy centered around Pierce's strange business partners and dealings.

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Durchschnitt: (3.72)
0.5 13
1 73
1.5 29
2 179
2.5 49
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