For The Newtown Review of Books:
To hold one of Thomas Pynchon’s novels unopened is to be on the cusp of near infinite possibility. There is a dizzying scope and a staggering technical virtuosity to much of his writing, a willingness to confront historical and technological immensities, revelling in the chaos that ensues. This visceral wildness is evident in the famous first lines of his 1973 masterpiece Gravity’s Rainbow: ‘A screaming comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now.’
Pynchon’s differing ambitions for Bleeding Edge are clear from its own opening: ‘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.’ Unlike the complex Gravity’s Rainbow (or most of his other works), its plot is fairly linear, its cast of characters manageable, and its geography largely contained to New York City. This is Pynchon for the uninitiated, or for fans who’d like to read him on holiday and still be relaxed. But it is far from a trifling work.