Thomas Pynchon, ‘The crying of lot 49.’
The book starts off with an unfaithful wife being asked to execute her millionaire ex-husbands estate, but quickly turns into a story about her apparent and accidental uncovery of a secret postal system that has roots deep in medieval european history.
Pynchon makes us constantly aware that the uncovery of the conspiracy of silence is possibly the product of the lead characters paranoia and grief, and despite the involvement of other people and some unexpected digressions into historical and literary exposition, we are left with an impression of factual and coincidental overload made possible only, perhaps, through the size and state of society in 60’s America.
The depiction of mass society and its underbelly is excellent and well observed, as is the feeling of descending into a state of being where questions about the reality of ones surroundings become all consuming. Despite the drug references being somewhat uninformed and vague, the feeling of disconnection and surreal connection making through coincidence that can be one of the more unfortunate mental side effects of prolonged narcotic abuse is extremely well produced.
Is the lead character taking LSD? Is she having a mental breakdown? Is Tristero and the WASTE system real? I’m undecided. I’d like to think the latter, but suspect the former may be true.