“Brilliantly written… a joy to read…Full of verbal sass and pizzazz, as well as conspiracies within conspiracies, Bleeding Edge is totally gonzo, totally wonderful. It really is good to have Thomas Pynchon around, doing what he does best.” —Michael Dirda, The Washington Post
“Are you ready for Thomas (Screaming Comes Across the Sky) Pynchon on the subject of September 11, 2001?… Exemplary…dazzling and ludicrous….Our reward for surrendering expectations that a novel should gather in clarity, rather than disperse into molecules, isn’t anomie but delight. Pynchon himself’s a good companion, full of real affectation for his people and places, even as he lampoons them for suffering the postmodern condition of being only partly real.” —Jonathan Lethem, New York Times Book Review
“Surely now Pynchon must be in line for the Nobel Prize?… Thomas Pynchon, America’s greatest novelist, has written the greatest novel about the most significant events in his country’s 21st century history. It is unequivocally a masterpiece.” —The Scotsman (UK)
“A book that fights mightily against the landfill by taking all the random pieces of that wastrel-conman era and putting them into a plot that is both ridiculous and far too close to reality to laugh at without a back-draft of dread.” —The Boston Globe
“It’s fitting that Pynchon is tackling the near-present, because the real world has all but overtaken his elaborate, far-out fictions. Paranoia, conspiracy, electronic connection, government surveillance—there’s nothing like reading a Pynchon novel while new revelations about the NSA are popping up on your cellphone.” —Los Angeles Times
“Pynchon’s prose is irresistible. It’s playful and bustling—cheesy puns rub elbows with Big Ideas. A-”—Entertainment Weekly
“Bleeding Edge takes the messy, funny, and sad all-at-once world we live in and reflects it back to us in a way that I can only call consoling—somebody else out there gets it. No matter how crazy things became in this book, I felt safe as long as I was inside its pages. So of course as soon as I finished it, I started over again.” —Malcolm Jones, Daily Beast/Newsweek
“The ingeniously whimsical, accessible story of a New York City fraud investigator who becomes entangled with some very sketchy characters as she tries to get to the bottom of a case involving a tech billionaire.” —O: The Oprah Magazine
“The book’s real accomplishment is to claim the last decade as Pynchon territory, a continuation of the same tensions—between freedom and captivity, momentum and entropy, meaning and chaos—through which he has framed the last half-century… As usual, Pynchon doesn’t provide answers but teases us with the hint of closure, leaving us ultimately unsure whether the signals add up to a master plot or merely a series of sinister and unfortunate events. The overall effect is one of amused frustration, of dying to find that one extra piece of information that will help make sense of this overwhelming and vaguely threatening world. It feels a lot like life.” —Wired magazine
“The truth is, Pynchon writes like no one else. He somehow injects love and humanity as the antidote to the dehumanization he fears and obsesses about. He convincingly warp-speeds from one setting and characters to another within the same sentence. Even in his hyper-narrative ways, he remains the master of phrasing—cool, hip, explosive narrative fragments overstuffed with meaning…. If you’re willing to enter this bleeding-edge (def: more advanced and riskier than cutting-edge) novel, figure to come out the back page a different reader, probably better off.” —USA Today
“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.” —New York Observer
“Brilliant and wonderful… Bleeding Edge chronicles the birth of the now—our terrorism-obsessed, NSA-everywhere, smartphone Panopticon zeitgeist—in the crash of the towers. It connects the dots, the packets, the pixels. We are all part of this story. We are all characters in Pynchon’s mad world. Bleeding Edge is a novel about geeks, the Internet, New York and 9/11. It is funny, sad, paranoid and lyrical. It was difficult to put down. I want to read it again.” —Salon
“A precious freak of a novel, glinting rich and strange, like a black pearl from an oyster unfathomable by any other diver into our eternal souls. If not here at the end of history, when? If not Pynchon, who? Reading Bleeding Edge, tearing up at the beauty of its sadness or the punches of its hilarity, you may realize it as the 9/11 novel you never knew you needed… a necessary novel and one that literary history has been waiting for.” —Slate
“Bleeding Edge is vintage Pynchon, a louche yarn of rollicking doomism. Pynchon is the master of technology-as-metaphor. In previous books—particularly “V.” and “Gravity’s Rainbow”—there is a persistent, shadowy suggestion of an unseen system, mechanisms that underlie the perceived reality of events. And these mechanisms are often manifest in the vagaries of things like rocket science and radio broadcasting tools. In those old books, however, the obscure schema was cast as an almost magical or mystical force, but as Bleeding Edge appears, we have the real thing.” —Seattle Times
“Fabulously entertaining … Bleeding Edge is stuffed with gorgeous passages that sing their longing for all we’ve lost, in trashing the land and ourselves. But such writing is also a stirring call to arms, making clear that the history we’ll make depends on what and how we remember. As Pynchon has been reminding us for 50 years, there’s always more than one way to tell that story.” —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Pynchon’s Bleeding Edge is a masterpiece of post- and pre-9/11 paranoia.” —Las Vegas Weekly
“Showstopping…The future that [Pynchon] so precociously, disturbingly foresaw long ago now surges around us. With Bleeding Edge, he shows that he has mastered the move from the shock of the new to the shock of the now, while cushioning the blow.”—Leisl Schillinger, Barnes & Noble
“A hilarious, shrewd, and disquieting metaphysical mystery.” —Booklist (starred)
“Bleeding Edge may be the book Thomas Pynchon was born to write.”—New York Daily News, “Page Views”
“No one, but no one, rivals Pynchon’s range of language, his elasticity of syntax, his signature mix of dirty jokes, dread and shining decency….Bleeding Edge is a chamber symphony in P major, so generous of invention it sometimes sprawls, yet so sharp it ultimately pierces.” —Publishers Weekly
“A much-anticipated return, and it’s trademark stuff: a blend of existential angst, goofy humor and broad-sweeping bad vibes.” —Kirkus (starred)
“Truly your most important reading for the fall… darkly hilarious.” —Library Journal
It’s the first day of spring 2001, and Maxine Tarnow, though some still have her in their system as Loeffler, is walking her boys to school. Maybe they’re past the age where they need an escort, maybe Maxine doesn’t want to let go just yet. It’s only a couple blocks, it’s on her way to work, she enjoys it, so?
This morning, all up and down the streets, what looks like every Callery Pear tree on the Upper West Side has popped overnight into identical white clouds of pear blossoms. As Maxine watches, sunlight finds its way past rooflines and water tanks to the end of the block and into one particular tree, which all at once is filled with light.
“Mom?” Ziggy in the usual hurry. “Yo.”
“Guys, check it out, that tree?”
Otis takes a minute to look.
“Doesn’t suck,” Zig agrees. The boys keep going, Maxine enjoys the tree half a minute more before catching up. At the corner by long-implanted reflex she drifts into a pick so as to stay between them and any driver whose idea of sport is to come around the corner and run you over.
Sunlight reflected from apartment windows has begun to show up in blurry patterns on the fronts of the buildings across the street. Two-part buses, new on the routes, creep the crosstown blocks like giant insects. Steel shutters are being rolled up, early trucks are double-parking, guys are out with hoses cleaning off their piece of sidewalk. Unhoused people sleep in doorways, scavengers with huge plastic sacks full of empty beer and soda cans head for the markets to cash them in, work crews wait in front of buildings for the super to show up. Runners are bouncing up and down at the curb waiting for the lights to change. Cops are in coffee shops dealing with bagel deficiencies. Kids, parents, and nannies wheeled and afoot are heading in all different directions for schools in the neighborhood. Half the kids seem to be on new Razor scooters, so to the list of things to keep alert for, add ambush by rolling aluminum.