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 Deep Web 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?
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A fine wine in a dirty and cracked glass
Ever since V in 1963 Thomas Pynchon has written superb novels and Bleeding Edge does not disappoint in anyway. He spins a dazzling web of a plot populated with engaging characters and conveying a powerful message for our times. An excellent read
Its hard to imagine a worse selection of narrator than this. She was presented with excellent material to perform but delivers it in a croaking monotone with no discernible sensitivity for timing or inflection rendering a fine novel almost unbearable. Its hard to understand how this performance escaped the studio. This narration made me buy my first hard copy novel for years.
Well, obviously, I didn't read the reviews before downloading this...and, I still haven't read the book, so those ratings are purely notional. (Though I will certainly read it, having read all Pynchon's other novels.) All I can say is that, after 15 minutes, I decided that the reader was utterly insufferable. Not only have I never heard a book read this badly, I never imagined a book could be read so badly. Avoid, avoid, avoid.