Mason & Dixon by Thomas PynchonThomas Pynchon wrote some of the most influential novels of the century. Hyper-smart (His IQ is allegedly 190, one of the highest ever recorded), intensely private (There are only 4 or 5 pictures that exist online and 2 of them don't show his face. One is just his hand and two others show him in his twenties..he's 76 now) and funny (he's been on the Simpsons with a paper bag over his head). All of his books are brilliant and hilarious.
I've read most of his books - V, The Crying of Lot 49, Slow Learner, Gravity's Rainbow, Vineland, Against the Day, Inherent Vice. But I skipped one, Mason & Dixon from 1997. It's very long.
Pynchon is known for his paranoid, big-brother, conspiracy theory stuff. But Mason & Dixon really is the story of Mason & Dixon, the guys that drew the Line. It's fictionalized and massively weird, but it doesn't seem typically Pynchonian.
It's been sitting on my shelf for 5 years so I'm just going to read it now. It's the longest book we've done on the blog. But summer is over and it's time to get real. Plus, Pynchon has a new book coming out next month and I don't want to be two books behind.
Lots of people have tried tracking down Thomas Pynchon and it has led to some great pieces of writing: