Bleeding Edge

Bleeding Edge

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Thomas Pynchon brings us to New York in the early days of the internet

It is 2001 in New York City, in the lull between the collapse of the dot-com boom and the terrible events of September 11th. Silicon Alley is a ghost town, Web 1.0 is having adolescent angst, Google has yet to IPO, Microsoft is still considered the Evil Empire. There may not be quite as much money around as there was at the height of the tech bubble, but there’s no shortage of swindlers looking to grab a piece of what’s left.

Maxine Tarnow is running a nice little fraud investigation business on the Upper West Side, chasing down different kinds of small-scale con artists. She used to be legally certified but her license got pulled a while back, which has actually turned out to be a blessing because now she can follow her own code of ethics—carry a Beretta, do business with sleazebags, hack into people’s bank accounts—without having too much guilt about any of it. Otherwise, just your average working mom—two boys in elementary school, an off-and-on situation with her sort of semi-ex-husband Horst, life as normal as it ever gets in the neighborhood—till Maxine starts looking into the finances of a computer-security firm and its billionaire geek CEO, whereupon things begin rapidly to jam onto the subway and head downtown. She soon finds herself mixed up with a drug runner in an art deco motorboat, a professional nose obsessed with Hitler’s aftershave, a neoliberal enforcer with footwear issues, plus elements of the Russian mob and various bloggers, hackers, code monkeys, and entrepreneurs, some of whom begin to show up mysteriously dead. Foul play, of course.

With occasional excursions into the DeepWeb and out to Long Island, Thomas Pynchon, channeling his inner Jewish mother, brings us a historical romance of New York in the early days of the internet, not that distant in calendar time but galactically remote from where we’ve journeyed to since.

Will perpetrators be revealed, forget about brought to justice? Will Maxine have to take the handgun out of her purse? Will she and Horst get back together? Will Jerry Seinfeld make an unscheduled guest appearance? Will accounts secular and karmic be brought into balance?

Hey. Who wants to know?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611762334
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/17/2013
Edition description: Unabridged
Pages: 17
Product dimensions: 5.34(w) x 5.74(h) x 2.12(d)

About the Author

THOMAS PYNCHON is the author of V.; The Crying of Lot 49; Gravity’s Rainbow; Slow Learner, a collection of short stories; Vineland; Mason & Dixon; Against the Day; and, most recently, Inherent Vice. He received the National Book Award for Gravity’s Rainbow in 1974.


New York, New York

Date of Birth:

May 8, 1937

Place of Birth:

Glen Cove, Long Island, New York


B. A., Cornell University, 1958

Read an Excerpt

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. Yes 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?

Excerpted from "Bleeding Edge"
by .
Copyright © 2014 Thomas Pynchon.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

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

“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, ever since it went to bed early on innocent Sept. 10 with a copy of The Corrections and stayed up well past midnight reading Franzen into the wee hours of his novel’s publication day.”

“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)

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

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.”

"A hilarious, shrewd, and disquieting metaphysical mystery." --Booklist (STARRED)

"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

Customer Reviews

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Bleeding Edge 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What we learn from Thomas Pynchon: the world is a dangerous place, but also one filled with strange wonders. That many of those wonders, beautiful and horrifying, come from the human imagination. We have waited just long enough for the contours of 9/11 to blur ever so slightly, and then they are molded back into sharper relief than ever in the simultaneously exuberant and knowing hands of a master magician. We read this book not for a history lesson, but for something deeper, an understanding of the human psyche, in all its intricate and compelling compelxities. Can we read this book without becoming mesmerized, shocked and moved, deeply moved? It is in the humanity of the author and his capacity to make gorgeous (and sometimes cranky) music through his language that gives this book its brilliant, compelling luster. This book is listed as a historical mystery, which is a bit like listing Moby-Dick as a fisherman's tale of the one that got away. This is a book about our souls, and the dark tinge that edges into our hearts. This marks the third Pynchon-related book of the year, each idiosyncratic in its exceptional beauty (the other two carrying blurbs from Pynchon): Tenth of December by George Saunders, working with a post-maximalist music in ten strange stories, each posing a cocked ear and a knowing eye toward our addled times; and The Glass Ocean by Lori Baker, an extended tone poem, that conjures a world of art, science, abandonment and longing. These are, to my mind, the best three works of fiction of 2013. The shared aspect: Pynchon, Saunders and Baker are not following anyone else's path -- they are writing art, not commerce.
blueridgebard More than 1 year ago
Following Inherent Vice, the master just keeps on rolling with this one. Stream of consciousness catch the wave you never want to get off. Terrific humor, though I wonder if anyone is erudite enough to get all the jokes. It helps a lot to have some understanding of the internet, computer programming and associated jargon, New York city, Jewish culture, and too many other things to list here. The heroine is fantastic, sez I. Enough conspiracy theory to make one think again about who knew what and when in the Bush administration. I recommend this book highly. I have read most of Pynchon's books and enjoyed them all. I hope the mysterious Old Dude has several more in him.
mothslayer More than 1 year ago
Thomas Pynchon. You like his style or you don't.  I love it.  Bleeding Edge is humorous, nerdy, insightful, poignant, and thrilling.  He handles the post "11 September" with grace, illustrating the malaise and social/national fallout that followed, all without being insensitive or gushy.  It's quirky and weird, and definitely unconventional when compared with the majority of narratives in popular literature.  Kudos to Pynchon for another wild ride!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I know Thos. Pynchon is a great writer but I didn't get a third of the way through this work before I ditched it. I don't find his style funny. I don't care about his characters. I found the number of characters introduced to be confusing and without merit. The rambling style of the dialog is boring and meaningless. Sorry. I know he has a lot of fans but I'm not among them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It seems that the majority of the postings here are by people who have never read Pynchon or even know anything about his writing.  HIs plots aren't obvious, they never have been in any book.  Once you think you have it, you discover it changes paths.  You end up finding that with Pynchon it's not about the destination, it's about the journey.   "Confusing narrative. Crude sex which adds nothing to the plot, but shows the base characters of the main persons."   Sorry, but maybe the Twilight series is more for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Bleeding Edge. to me, is analogous to the Seinfeld sitcom. The latter was a self-proclaimed show about nothing – nevertheless we found it amusing and enjoyable. I got many chuckles and laughs reading this fast-paced novel about nothing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A lot of the humor is reliant on Yiddish and Russian cognates. The book pokes fun at and points out how endlessly discomfitted we are by technology and its course to change us. An important if at times frustrating read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazingly intelligent, bitingly satirical and culturally literate, this novel works on so many levels. Another breathtaking novel from one of America's finest writers.
Freedom_to_Read More than 1 year ago
This book never leaves the starting gate. There is so much emphasis by the author to embellish every sentence that most of the paragraphs have no more than two sentences. It is a very tough read when all it has going for it are the author's over indulgence of compound sentence after compound sentence. The Yiddish is very hard to follow. The verse it cluttered with ethnic in-jokes that only the author can comprehend. Don't ask me about the ending because that to was awful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
gramercypolice More than 1 year ago
Very evocative of a time and place -- NYC in the year falling from Spring 2001 to Spring 2002, the remnants of the dotcom bust, the rise of the security state, and the tension between the necessary sense of community and the need for some to grab whatever they can. A story of the many meanings of family, masquerading as a detective novel. It rewarded my time, and sometimes my patience, with a huge story brilliantly told, revolving around a small family in a big city.
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I always finish what I start to read except this time. I couldn't follow the plot and I didn't get his abbreviations. I would look up words I didn't understand and they weren't in the dictionary. I kept ready thinking that things would become understandable--they didn't. I'm not stupid, I have a MBA. I lost interest quickly.
Phyllie More than 1 year ago
I bought the Audio CD and could not get past the reader, Jennie Berlin. Her voice was like a sleeping pill while scratching the chalkboard with nails, I listened to the first CD and could not finish
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pynchon got lost on the Upper West Side and hasn't found his way out. Vaguely resembles Crying but misses many fine points of novelistic determinism. It rambles.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Confusing narrative. Crude sex which adds nothing to the plot, but shows the base characters of the main persons.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There is no plot, to speak of, to spoil...all character driven...all the characters and dialogue are just too ironic and sooo clever and cutsey...willful suspension of disbelief is abandoned in favor of an exercise in authorial bravura......if you like implausibility and deus machina interveners, you'll love this tour de egomanical author farce....the whole premise of the book excruciatingly builds to predictable cliche 9/11 an UN-denouement... IMO, not even worthy for consideration of a National Book Award...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
flat characters, little plot and hard to read...not worthy of a book award...
bonemike More than 1 year ago
I think if you were a New Yorker, this novel would not be as incomprehensible as I found it. I stopped reading 1/3 of the way through.
guitaoist3 More than 1 year ago
Havent read it but this book deserves better ratings than what these numbskulls are posting, though i have faith this book'll be a great experience like his always tend to be.