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Bleeding Edge (Anglais) Relié – 17 septembre 2013

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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?

This morning, all up and down the streets, what looks like every Callery Pear tree on the Upper West Side has popped overnight into clusters of white 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. “Awesome, Mom.”

“Doesn’t suck,” Zig agrees. The boys keep going, Maxine regards the tree half a minute more before catching up. At the corner, by 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 east-facing apartment windows has begun to show up in blurry patterns on the fronts of 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. Unsheltered 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 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.

Revue de presse

***A New York Times Notable Book of 2013***

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 affection 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

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

Pynchon's prose is irresistible. It's playful and bustling — cheesy puns rub elbows with Big Ideas.  A-” Entertainment Weekly

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.” —

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

Bleeding Edge may be the book Thomas Pynchon was born to write.” New York Daily News, “Page Views” 

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 

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

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 entertainingBleeding 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
"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 Reviews (STARRED)

"Truly your most important reading for the fall... darkly hilarious." —Library Journal

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38 internautes sur 40 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Hooray for Pynchon 20 octobre 2013
Par P. Mccaffrey - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
I really enjoyed this book. I read it right after finishing Against The Day. I feel that there are very few authors today who write as well as Pynchon. He uses metaphor beautifully, which few writers today do. This book contains a few of his wonderful long wild Faulkner-Kerouac-Coltraneish sentences (check out pages 311-312 in the hardcover edition)and great place descriptions. I wonder if "DeepArcher" is not in part an allusion to Lew Archer, the (anti) hero of Ross MacDonald's wonderful series of detective novels. I think that maybe this book needs to be approached as you approach those novels- not all of the plot twists themselves are so important, rather they serve as a frame for mood, description, language and characterization. (Here I need to give a plug to "The Doomsters" and "Black Money", in my opinion MacDonald's greatest books and a must reads for anyone interested in American literature.)I disagree with those who say that Pynchon's writing has not evolved. His early work saw characters as confluences of historical forces which I feel made his work kind of "chilly", however beginning with "Vineland" he still places his characters in a historical context but there is more of a traditional sense of characterization, I think. Maxine is a fully drawn, living character. I feel that this lends more depth and warmth to his work. Finally, as one who was living in the New York City area on 9/11, I feel that I can say that Pynchon's description of that time is completely accurate and describes the tragedy of that time in a very real, non-sensationalized way.
12 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
rock 'n roll literature 20 octobre 2013
Par Heidireader - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
the writing swings, rollicks, rolls, is darkly humorous and lacks nothing of Pynchon's normal brilliance. The story takes us back to the post dot-com bubble and for the main portion exists in that pre-9/11 world that seems so distant now. Fresh and lively, a pleasure to sit down with
45 internautes sur 56 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
So Forth 24 octobre 2013
Par JB - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Oh, man, what a disappointment. Inherent Vice was accurately dismissed as 'Pynchon Lite'; Bleeding Edge can be disregarded as Virtual Pynchon: looks like the real thing but has no soul. All of his trademark elements - paranoia, wacky names, conspiracies and subconspiracies, acronyms, lefty politics, drug use - are present in spades. What's missing are compelling characters, a narrative, a purpose, something to say. What's worse, this is an incredibly unfunny book. Pynchon seems more interested in demonstrating how hip he still is (do we really want grandpa name-checking Bad Brains and the Bunnymen?) than developing a plot. Pynchon's heroes and villains are always cartoonish, but in this novel the schtick-factor is relentlessly tiresome. Nearly every sentence of dialogue is meant to be a punch line. The characters, regardless of sex or age, all sound alike, dropping unhilarious bugs bunnyisms in the exact same voice. Instead of getting on with the story, Pynchon simply adds new boring characters with each chapter, until the book is crammed with wise-crackin' geeks, freaks and sneaks, none of whom have anything to say. What comes through most strongly is Pynchon's glowering contempt - for modern NYC, the government, techno-society - basically everything. It's upsetting, and a bit insulting for his readers, for this author to waste his gifts on what is essentially a lengthy hate letter disguised as a 'comedic' detective story.

It is interesting how authors of Pynchon's vintage, say Roth, DeLillo, Barth, are unable to write from a woman's perspective. The book's protagonist, Maxine, is basically a middle-aged NY yenta version of Doc Sportello or Zoyd Wheeler. None of the characters are supposed to be realistic, but if I was a woman I might be pretty offended at how one-dimensionally Pynchon's female characters are presented. Actually, the whole cast of Bleeding Edge is lame and unlikeable, but it's especially noticeable with the women that populate the book.

Why do I rate Bleeding Edge two stars when it's such a dud? Because Pynchon can still write rings around anyone else when he feels like it. Note that many of the readers who rated the book 3 stars also called it 'disappointing', 'not so great' and 'a let down' or observed that it 'falls flat'. (In fact, nearly all of the 3 star reviews are more critical than this one.) Occasionally he'll serve up some terrific paragraphs that remind you of what he is or was capable of. It's not a bad book; it's a bad Pynchon book. You can't really compare him to anyone else. For those readers that are unfamiliar with this author's works, do yourself a favor and read everything he wrote through Mason & Dixon. (Maybe take on Against the Day, too, if you're in prison for a while.) Pynchon is a brilliant author and his previous work is among the best of the last 50 years. A bit challenging at times, sometimes very challenging, but usually worth it, until now. Bleeding Edge is simply an okay novel that Pynchon phoned-in, for lack of a better expression. I tried like hell to like this book but it just never delivered.
78 internautes sur 100 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Sorting Things Out 18 septembre 2013
Par Shubha Ghosh - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié

Sorting Things Out (On Pynchon's Bleeding Edge)

September 14, 2013

It's here. Nine months after an Internet rumor that gestated into details ever more elusive and a glimpse of the first couple of paragraphs, Penguin Press has delivered Thomas Pynchon's Bleeding Edge, a historical romance about 9/11, the dot com bust, and New York City. Four hundred and seventy-seven pages spanning the period from March, 2001, to February, 2002, it's a Pynchon novel about a time and place most of his readers will have lived through. Yet, the events seem as far away as Malta in 1919 or Peenemunde in the 1940's. That's what Pynchon does best: show us how our memories are made to cast shadows on the fleeting and evanescent present.

And Bleeding Edge is almost certainly about the present, the here and now. Pynchon's use of the present tense throughout the novel, except for the frequent flashbacks, is reminiscent of the opening of Gravity's Rainbow--hallucinatory and ominous. The present tense turns some parts into one of those interactive text-based games from the late 1970's--unadorned and urgent. Other parts of the book read like a film treatment, a gentle nudge to some bold director. If Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice (2014) is half as popular as I expect, filmmakers take notice of Bleeding Edge. Let me suggest Mary Herron for the job. Maxine Tarnow (nee Loeffler and to be portrayed, IMHO, by Catherine Keener), Pynchon's fraud investigating heroine off the licensure grid, is as interesting as Betty Paige or Valerie Solanas and could take on Patrick Bateman, a prototypical yuppie similar to the ones encountered in Bleeding Edge, although with more homicidal tendencies.

But the present tense is not just a gimmick. Although set twelve years ago, the narrative is about the unfolding of 9/11, a portal into a new world as uncertain as the many links and urls that Maxine follows in her quest within the Deep Web. Pynchon describes the Web as the eternal present, time flattened, measured, if at all, by clicks. After 9/11, Heidi, Maxine's Rhoda, says that everyone has been infantilized, and Maxine feels the regressive force of that tragedy on a New York City street, where she feels in a time warp. Maxine finds comfort in recognizing her surroundings as what had to be "the present" and "the normal." The present of the Bleeding Edge may be shell shock or the desire to set to zero the delta-t's Pynchon wrote earnestly about once.

Quests for Pynchon have always been about sorting things out. Maxine searches for answers both before and after 9/11. The tease is whether the quest changes with the attacks. For those who poo-poo conspiracies and paranoia, the fall of the towers may have been a wake-up call. Or it may have been a random event not connected to broader plots or schemes. We are reminded early on about another 9/11, in Chile, 1973, when the CIA assassinated Allende. While the connectedness of all history into plot is presented in bold operatic style in Gravity's Rainbow, the tensions are given a more human scale in Bleeding Edge. How to make sense of things? Does the explanation for the Event explain everything? Or is it just one of the many mysteries, mundane and quotidian?

Maxwell's Demon is a metaphor that appears in The Crying of Lot 49 explicitly, but also pervades all of Pynchon's work. Imagine a box filled with particles of gas moving at different speeds. Partition the box and place a trap door on the partition. Maxwell's Demon stands guard at the door, letting particles of certain speed go through while slower particles stay behind. Eventually the particles are sorted out into high speed, high temperature ones and low speed, low temperature ones. The entropy in the box has decreased without any work on the part of the Demon except for the mental work of sorting. Magically, the Demon defies the Second Law of Thermodynamics by allowing less disorder with no expenditure of energy.

Sorting things out is what folks in Pynchon novels do whether it is Oedipa uncovering the layers of America long hidden, Mason & Dixon drawing their line, Prairie Wheeler figuring out the Sixties, the Webb Children negotiating different vectors of capitalism, Doc discovering where all the sex, drugs and rock& roll went. Bleeding Edge is no different. We follow Maxine, a forensic accountant, as she examines balance sheets, web sites, financial records, in order to detect fraud and thereby find the truth. Conspiracies permeate the novel both before and after the Event, and when it occurs, it is depicted quietly but powerfully. Bleeding edge technology is one that is so untried and untested that no one knows where it might take us. Characters in Pynchon's historic romance walk the bleeding edge to an uncertain and perhaps unreachable future. They are, like the readers who take them in and define them, caught in a present sorting out the enveloping experiences.

All of which might suggest that the book has no resolutions and leaves the reader hanging. That would be a mistake. At least this reader found the process of sorting things out envigorating and moving. As readers we are not trapped in an eternal present, and Maxine and her host of comrades are moving inexorably to where we are now.

The novel begins and ends with the maternal act of tending after children. But Maxine's maternalism shifts through the novel. The conclusion is not so much about children flying the nest as about parents' guarding at a distance. One thinks about the mantra "Keep cool, but care" from V. In Bleeding Edge, that shibboleth might be "Keep distant, but help," a lesson somewhat more affirmative, more active than the earlier renunciation. Towards the end of the novel, Maxine expresses her concerns about her sons to her father: "I don't want to see them turn into their classmates, cynical smart-mouthed little bastards--but what if Ziggy and Otis start caring too much, Pop, this world, it could destroy them so easily." And as she wondered, I thought back to an earlier scene in which Maxine watches the firefighters clean up the rubble at "Ground Zero" and wonder what drives them to work as selflessly as they do. Is it possible for someone to care too much?

The novel begins with a great joke at Pynchon's expense. He describes the philosophy of a fictional Otto Kugelblitz, an errant student of Freud. Kugelblitz posits four stages for human development: the solipsism of youth, the sexual hysteria of adolescence and young adulthood, the paranoia of middle life, and the dementia of late life. These four stages culminate in death, the only form of sanity. Is Pynchon mapping his own trajectory? The truth is Pynchon in his novels seems to go through all four stages at the same time: the solipsism of the narrative voice, the erotic fetishes and urges of his characters, the ever-present and overplayed paranoia, and the demented propensities for bad puns and critical jabs. Singling up the four stages is the search for meaning and the realization that the mental quest pales before actual human contact, emotion, and connection.

Gravity's Rainbow ended in fragments as the grand paranoid schemes gave way to counterforces. The five novels after Gravity's Rainbow present different responses to the ubiquitous and oppressive System: family in Vineland, work and engagement in Mason & Dixon, social participation in Against the Day, clarity of purpose in Inherent Vice, and now simple, pure love and caring in Bleeding Edge. We have the joy to see how Pynchon tries to sort things out through the various worlds that he lovingly and carefully projects for us. Polymath as Pynchon is called, there is no pretense to have all or any answers, but his imagination has shown us possibilities that transcend labels like post-modern, or realist, or minimalist, or even historical romance.

`Now, everybody--'
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
the parts are greater than the whole 21 février 2014
Par Stanley Lippman - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
maybe it's because i lived on the upper west side for 10 years, and i was in the computer industry from the early 1980s through the years covered in the text, plus i'm jewish. i didn't believe in this book, like i did V or the crying of lot 49, or even inherent vice. there are patches of the text that are pure pynchon, and it has a sweetness to it at times -- the nicely coupled opening and closing sets. but i never for once imagined the character was actually living in the world, and it lacks the literary depth of gravity's rainbow or mason and dixon, which in opinion are both stunning works of art. i felt inherent vice could have easily been tacked on to against the day, and so this could as well. it seems to complete a historical sweep that i've never and never will have the time to work through in the entire set of pynchon's writing. andrew sarris the film critic in his auteur theory of filmmaking claimed a mediocre film by bergman is better than a great film by a director who has no real body of work. i would never ignore a book by pynchon. i was in my late teens when i picked up V. and he has defined my life in a sense by his magnificent work. i am always grateful for yet another book by pynchon, but of all his books, including vineland, i found this one the most in need of an auteur's theory. this is very accessible compared to gavity's rainbow, or even against the day, but if you haven't read pynchon at all, i would start with either inherent vice or the crying of lot 49. but his real masterpieces are gravity's rainbow, mason and dixon, V. and against the day. still, there are passages and set pieces in this that are worth the price of admission.
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