The Crying of Lot 49
Oedipa Maas is surprised to find that she has been named executor of the will of California real estate mogul Pierce Inverarity. Upon beginning her duties as executor she discovers what appears to be a strange conspiracy to deliver mail through Tristero, a centuries old rebel postal service. This organization is represented by a diagram of a horn which begins to turn up everywhere Oedipa looks.
The Crying of Lot 49 is a bizarre novel. It is by far Pynchon’s shortest novel, but is certainly not short on peculiarity. The conspiracy is quite convoluted and sometimes hard to follow for Oedipa and the reader. The book is anything but transparent, it twists the mind. This is sometimes a weakness, as is its lack of an obvious conclusion for those who need one. Pynchon has a knack for unique, almost stream of consciousness prose as well. Though this type of writing is not too dominant in this outing.
If you’re looking for a good introduction to Thomas Pynchon this is the best option. But if clarity and straightforward narrative is what you’re after you would be wise to look elsewhere.