Thomas Ruggles Pynchon, Jr. is an American novelist. He is a MacArthur Fellow noted for his dense and complex novels, and both his fiction and non-fiction writings encompass a vast array of subject matter, styles and themes, including (but not limited to) the fields of history, science, and mathematics.
Thomas Pynchon's big book quickly confirmed as one of the few novelists of unprecedented genius to emerge in the postwar era. Here was the Great American Novel at last. The reviewers' favorite comparisons were to Moby Dick and Ulysses.
His public appearances are, at best, like skyrockets: brief, brilliant, unexpected, consisting in a few jacket blurbs, letters, introductions to his own and others' work, and a (short and very crotchety) cover essay for the New York Times Book Review.
The fictional characters in most of Pynchon-land have names that sound either too cartoonish or too earnest (viz. Benny Profane, Oedipa Maas, Zoyd and Prairie Wheeler), so we are from the git go delved into an absurdist landscape where nothing or everything is as it seems.
1966's 'The Crying of Lot 49' is perhaps Pynchon's most accessible tome. This book plays some more with entropy, but mainly concerns itself with main character Oedipa Maas, a Southern Californian whose adventures lead her into an evil conspiracy
V. was published in 1963 and won a William Faulkner Foundation Award for best first novel of the year.
Although Pynchon's minor work received some popular and academic attention, his reputation rests largely on five major works: V. (1963), The Crying of Lot 49 (1966), Gravity's Rainbow (1973), Vineland (1990), and Mason & Dixon (1997).
The novel is a journey through the idea of what literature could be if we just let ourselves go and write what is within us. Pynchon demolishes the concept of what a novel should be, he tears the towering edifice that began with Cervantes and ended with Joyce - even if only a temporary ending - and rebuilds it in his image.
Mason & Dixon garnered wide critical praise when it was published in 1997. In addition to displaying Pynchon's patented multiple plots and encyclopedic knowledge in a dozen disciplines, it was generally recognized that this novel was at once darker and more humane than the novelist's previous work.
Set in Europe at the end of the second world war, Gravity's Rainbow combined and elaborated on many of the themes of his earlier work, including paranoia, conspiracy, and entropy. It is an incredibly dense and allusive novel that requires considerable erudition simply to follow the plot.
Thomas Ruggles Pynchon, Jr was born to Thomas Ruggles Pynchon, Sr. and Katherine Frances Bennett Pynchon on May 8, 1937 in Glen Cove, Long Island, New York.