In the 50 years since the publication of his first novel, V, in 1963, Thomas Pynchon has established himself as the foremost paranoiac of American fiction, balancing absurdist slapstick with the obsessive conviction of the most sincere (or deranged) conspiracy theorist. Though their settings have varied wildly, from colonial America to 1970s Los Angeles, Mr. Pynchon’s basic themes have remained remarkably consistent: the dark underside of technological progress, the hidden networks of power that bind corporate interests and government control, the inability of a single narrative to neatly contain the messy complexities of a given event. In this sense, the New York of late 2001 was a Pynchon novel waiting to happen, in which the failures of “late capitalist” speculation, in the form of the recently deflated tech bubble, meet 9/11 to form the 21st century’s Year Zero. Read More
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