Hard Cover. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1966. First Edition. Near Fine.
First edition, first printing. Publisher’s yellow cloth-backed gray boards, with three muted post horn symbols in blind to front board, titles in black to spine, black topstain, brown endpapers with “w.a.s.t.e.” in gray lettering, book designed by William Gray; original dust jacket with muted post horn symbol to front panel, titles lettered in orange and blue, jacket designed by Milton Charles. About fine book with a tiny scratch to bottom of rear board, a hint of soiling to fore edge, and a very minor dent to tail edge of text block; near fine unclipped dust jacket with very light wear to edges and foot of spine, a hint of rubbing to rear panel, and lightly nicked bottom rear corner. Overall, a very handsome and fresh copy of Pynchon’s masterpiece. Set in 1960s California, The Crying of Lot 49 begins with Oedipa Maas learning that she has been appointed as the executor of her recently deceased ex-lover’s large estate. As Maas learns more about her ex-lover, she slips further down a conspiracy rabbit hole that centers around an underground postal service, w.a.s.t.e., whose muted post horn symbol begins popping up everywhere. The Crying of Lot 49 is Pynchon’s shortest novel and the follow-up to his debut, V., which also features a protagonist attempting to get to the bottom of a conspiracy theory. Lot 49 is filled with cultural references, including The Beatles (satirized in the novel as a band called The Paranoids) and the novel Lolita-- so many that J. Kerry Grant wrote A Companion to The Crying of Lot 49 to catalog as many of them as possible. Time magazine, which originally called the book a “metaphysical thriller in the form of a pornographic comic strip” in its 1966 review, included the book on its list of 100 Best English-Language Novels from 1923 to 2005. Item #TP008