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New Thomas Pynchon book exists, and that’s it for now

Yeah, so the apocalypse didn’t happen after all and we’re back for 2013, and hello again, and [SEASONAL PLEASANTRY NOT FOUND]. In even more Earth-shaking news than the Mayans anticipated, however, the end of 2012 has brought with it word of an occurrence almost as rare as a planet-destroying cataclysm: A new novel from Thomas Pynchon, the iconic, near-mythic American author whose output over the past fifty years has, until now, averaged slightly fewer than one and a half novels per decade, publishing seven in total since 1963. (If you’re keeping track, that means that he’s averaged more guest appearances on The Simpsons over the past decade than he has published novels per decade over his entire career.)

Penguin Press, Pynchon’s long-time publishers, announced on Friday that a book entitled The Bleeding Edge is forthcoming and… that’s it. No synopsis. No cover. No release date. No word on whether it will join the rest of Pynchon’s recently digitised back catalogue on e-readers. Not even confirmation that the novel will, in fact, see publication in 2013. Simply confirmation that the book exists.

Given Pynchon’s usual work rate, though, even this should be enough to delight fans, this announcement coming as it does less than four years since the publication of 2009’s Inherent Vice – a gap between titles that almost matches the record-setting three years separating his debut, V. (1963), and The Crying of Lot 49 (1966) and, more recently, Against The Day (2006) and Inherent Vice. A potential three novels in seven years, however, would be unprecedented from the man who took seventeen years to follow up Gravity’s Rainbow (1973) with Vineland (1990), and a further seven after that to release Mason & Dixon (1997). Pynchon is altogether too strange and idiosyncratic to win commercial plaudits, but if past form holds, expect The Bleeding Edge to prop up a lot of critics’ year-end best-of lists come December.

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Chris Ward

Chris Ward

Chris Ward writes and says things about books and music and films and what have you, even when no one is reading or listening.
He was chief hack and music editor of webzine Brazen from 2006 to 2010, and hosted Left of the Dial on Subcity Radio from 2008 to 2011.
He can be heard semi-regularly on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae ('20th best website in Scotland!' - The List), and in 2011 founded Seen Your Video, a film and music podcast and blog based in Glasgow. He has a Masters degree in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow that will never have any practical application. You are on a hiding to nothing if you follow him on Twitter expecting any kind of hot publishing scoop.

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