25 Books to Read Before You Die
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Q&A | August 19, 2014

Richard Kadrey: IMG Powell’s Q&A: Richard Kadrey



Describe your latest book. The Getaway God is the sixth book in the Sandman Slim series. In it, the very unholy nephilim, James Stark, aka Sandman... Continue »
  1. $17.49 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$7.50
Used Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
5 Hawthorne Literature- A to Z

Mason and Dixon

by

Mason and Dixon Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

From Powells.com:

Laura Miller possibly put it best when she wrote of Thomas Pynchon's Mason & Dixon: "There is so much...to this rich, endlessly inventive and thoughtful book...that reviewing it is a bit like reviewing the Atlantic Ocean." Pynchon, who won the 1974 National Book Award for Gravity's Rainbow, reputedly spent almost twenty years on what many have called the greatest work of his career. Here, Pynchon tells the story of Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, the British pair who marked the famous 244-mile boundary between Pennsylvania and what one-hundred years later became known simply as "The South." A modern classic masquerading as an 18th-century novel, Mason & Dixon tells the story of two surveyors trapped between an overseas authority and an unspoiled wilderness, only vaguely understanding the consequences of the imposition they place upon the land. The story stretches across twenty-five years and lands as distant as South Africa and the Appalachians, but with a postmodern wink and lyrical grace Pynchon also manages to skip and skim across cultural and historical boundaries. Combining, as only Pynchon can, the philosophical with the bawdy, this sprawling saga provokes and challenges as it entertains. Sarah, Powells.com

Publisher Comments:

Charles Mason (1728-1786) and Jeremiah Dixon (1733-1779) were the British surveyors best remembered for running the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland that we know today as the Mason-Dixon Line. Here is their story as re-imagined by Thomas Pynchon, featuring Native Americans and frontier folk, ripped bodices, naval warfare, conspiracies erotic and political, major caffeine abuse. We follow the mismatch'd pair — one rollicking, the other depressive; one Gothic, the other pre-Romantic — from their first journey together to the Cape of Good Hope, to pre-Revolutionary America and back, through the strange yet redemptive turns of fortune in their later lives, on a grand tour of the Enlightenment's dark hemisphere, as they observe and participate in the many opportunities for insanity presented them by the Age of Reason.

Review:

"Reputedly two decades in the works, this masterful, polymathic saga begins in the stars and ends at home, in the aftermath of the Revolutionary War....For all the verve of its dramatis personae...this is Pynchon's most restrained novel, and his most unabashedly literary. Echoes of Kipling, Kafka, Lawrence, and Conrad resonate alongside Hawthorne, Melville, Twain, and the post-Revolutionary poet Joel Barlow. Pynchon's customary wordplay is here (in spades); the novel's jokes rely less on the cartoonish slapstick of V. or Gravity's Rainbow, or the broad satire of The Crying of Lot 49 or Vineland, than on tricks of voice: Pynchon peppers Cherrycoke's 18th-century prose with heroic verse and bawdy serial novels, anachronistic popular songs (Tin-Pan Alley, folk, country-western) and equally anachronistic cultural references....Even at their goofiest, these time-warped tidbits serve a clear purpose: they are omens of the disorientation, and the dispossession, ushered in by the heroes' famous trek West....In the British, French, and Dutch naval empires Pynchon has at last discovered historical powers — historical legacies — worthy of his paranoia; in this novel he has found his way back to the great American tradition of history-writing — nine parts ghost story, one part fable..." Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Review:

"A novel that is as moving as it is cerebral, as poignant as it is daring...a book that testifies to Pynchon's remarkable powers of invention and the sheer power of storytelling." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Review:

"Splendid....Mason & Dixon — like Huckleberry Finn, like Ulysses — is one of the great novels about friendship in anybody's literature." John Leonard, The Nation

Review:

"Pynchon vividly recounts the dangers and struggles Mason and Dixon endure in carrying out their assignment. And it slowly becomes clear that this story is not about a triumph of 18th century scientific methods, which Pynchon explains in elaborate detail, but rather about a tragic desecration, a deadly abstraction imposed upon land once natural and truly free. Mason and Dixon cannot foresee the bloodshed that will rage across their line a century later, during the U.S. Civil War, but both men, in Pynchon's telling, come to believe that they did something wrong to the wilderness....At its most eloquent, Mason & Dixon becomes an epic of loss." Paul Gray, Time

Review:

"This is the old Pynchon, the true Pynchon, the best Pynchon of all. Mason & Dixon is a groundbreaking book, a book of heart and fire and genius, and there is nothing quite like it in our literature, except Maybe V. and Gravity's Rainbow." T. Coraghessan Boyle, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"As Pynchon chronicles [Mason and Dixon's] cultural and scientific adventures...he considers such complex issues as colonization, slavery, the massacre of American Indians, and the conflicts between religion and science. But he also has fun, gleefully improvising on the assertive language of the time, taking sly liberties with the lives and personalities of the melancholy Mason and carefree Dixon, reveling in the buzz of pubs and coffeehouses, and animating a great cast of whimsical secondary characters....Pynchon transforms their world into a fun-house-mirror reflection of our own, reminding us that we still search for meaning in celestial events, that racism is still alive and virulent, and that friendship and love can and do transcend the dividing lines of prejudice and politics." Booklist

Review:

"I read the first fifty pages and then gave up, having found nothing in the plot, the characters, or the style to warrant my reading seven hundred pages more....Ostensibly [Mason & Dixon] is an 'historical novel' about those two surveyors who achieved immortality by dividing the continental United States into North and South. If that sounds like an unpromising premise for a novel, it is indeed. Things are not helped by the fact that Mr. Pynchon's idea of character consists in making everyone sound vaguely piratical, with cutesy period punctuation that is certain to defeat most readers' efforts at decipherment." James Gardner, National Review

Review:

"As a fellow-novelist I could only envy it and the culture that permits the creation and success of such intricate masterpieces. This almost feels like the last great fiction of our dying era." John Fowles, The Spectator

Review:

"Mason & Dixon is not only the most stunning novel I've read in the last twenty years, but one of the most stunning novels I've read, comma, period. At this point I think we can safely argue that the radiant center of American fiction is inhabited by only three characters, Melville, Faulkner, and Pynchon, and I'm not too sure about Melville, and I left out the unapproachable Henry James only because he didn't really want to be American. So am I telling you that if you don't read Mason & Dixon your life will be, by that measure, impoverished? You bet. But of course most of you won't — or at least you won't finish it. It's long, by which I mean long; it's involuted, convoluted, self-referential — it's Thomas Pynchon and it has, as all of Pynchon's novels, virtually no plot. It is, simply, magnificent." Frank McConnell, Commonwealth

Review:

"Pynchon always has been wildly inventive, and gorgeously funny when he surpasses himself: the marvels of this book are extravagant and unexpected." Harold Bloom, Bostonia

Review:

"Here's a 784-page head-scratcher, a massive novel on a fascinating topic written by one of our most brilliant and beloved authors, a tome loaded with highbrow razzle-dazzle and raffish low comedy, deep thoughts and dizzy riffs — yet the whole thing is painfully inaccessible. If Vineland, the 1990 flop that broke 17 years of cult-nurturing silence, forced us to face the possibility that the author of V. and Gravity's Rainbow had exhausted his talent as a writer, Mason & Dixon proves that Thomas Pynchon still has the stuff but no longer knows what to do with it." Adam Begley, New York Observer

Synopsis:

The New York Times Best Book of the Year, 1997

Time Magazine Best Book of the Year 1997

Charles Mason (1728-1786) and Jeremiah Dixon (1733-1779) were the British surveyors best remembered for running the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland that we know today as the Mason-Dixon Line. Here is their story as re-imagined by Thomas Pynchon, featuring Native Americans and frontier folk, ripped bodices, naval warfare, conspiracies erotic and political, major caffeine abuse. We follow the mismatch'd pair--one rollicking, the other depressive; one Gothic, the other pre-Romantic--from their first journey together to the Cape of Good Hope, to pre-Revolutionary America and back, through the strange yet redemptive turns of fortune in their later lives, on a grand tour of the Enlightenment's dark hemisphere, as they observe and participate in the many opportunities for insanity presented them by the Age of Reason.

Synopsis:

Charles Mason (1728-1786) and Jeremiah Dixon (1733-1779) were the British surveyors best remembered for running the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland that we know today as the Mason-Dixon Line. Here is their story as re-imagined by Thomas Pynchon, featuring Native Americans and frontier folk, ripped bodices, naval warfare, conspiracies erotic and political, and major caffeine abuse. We follow the mismatched pair--one rollicking, the other depressive; one Gothic, the other pre-Romantic--from their first journey together to the Cape of Good Hope, to pre-Revolutionary America and back, through the strange yet redemptive turns of fortune in their later lives, on a grand tour of the Enlightenment's dark hemisphere, as they observe and participate in the many opportunities for insanity presented them by the Age of Reason.

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), and Vineland. He received the National Book Award for Gravity's Rainbow in 1974.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805037586
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Pynchon, Thomas
Publisher:
Henry Holt and Co.
Location:
New York :
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
United states
Subject:
American fiction (fictional works by one author)
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Frontier and pioneer life
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
British
Subject:
Surveying
Subject:
Pennsylvania
Subject:
Maryland
Subject:
Biographical fiction
Subject:
Surveyors.
Subject:
Surveyors -- United States -- Fiction.
Subject:
General Fiction
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
1321
Publication Date:
19970415
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
784
Dimensions:
8.2 x 5.4 x 1.4 in

Other books you might like

  1. The Public Burning Used Trade Paper $9.00
  2. Underworld
    Used Hardcover $5.50
  3. Everyman's Library #0007: Tristram... Used Hardcover $18.50
  4. Sot Weed Factor Used Mass Market $4.95
  5. Girl with Curious Hair: Stories Sale Trade Paper $7.98
  6. The Last Samurai Used Trade Paper $8.00

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Mason and Dixon Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.50 In Stock
Product details 784 pages Henry Holt and Co. - English 9780805037586 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Reputedly two decades in the works, this masterful, polymathic saga begins in the stars and ends at home, in the aftermath of the Revolutionary War....For all the verve of its dramatis personae...this is Pynchon's most restrained novel, and his most unabashedly literary. Echoes of Kipling, Kafka, Lawrence, and Conrad resonate alongside Hawthorne, Melville, Twain, and the post-Revolutionary poet Joel Barlow. Pynchon's customary wordplay is here (in spades); the novel's jokes rely less on the cartoonish slapstick of V. or Gravity's Rainbow, or the broad satire of The Crying of Lot 49 or Vineland, than on tricks of voice: Pynchon peppers Cherrycoke's 18th-century prose with heroic verse and bawdy serial novels, anachronistic popular songs (Tin-Pan Alley, folk, country-western) and equally anachronistic cultural references....Even at their goofiest, these time-warped tidbits serve a clear purpose: they are omens of the disorientation, and the dispossession, ushered in by the heroes' famous trek West....In the British, French, and Dutch naval empires Pynchon has at last discovered historical powers — historical legacies — worthy of his paranoia; in this novel he has found his way back to the great American tradition of history-writing — nine parts ghost story, one part fable..."
"Review" by , "A novel that is as moving as it is cerebral, as poignant as it is daring...a book that testifies to Pynchon's remarkable powers of invention and the sheer power of storytelling."
"Review" by , "Splendid....Mason & Dixon — like Huckleberry Finn, like Ulysses — is one of the great novels about friendship in anybody's literature."
"Review" by , "Pynchon vividly recounts the dangers and struggles Mason and Dixon endure in carrying out their assignment. And it slowly becomes clear that this story is not about a triumph of 18th century scientific methods, which Pynchon explains in elaborate detail, but rather about a tragic desecration, a deadly abstraction imposed upon land once natural and truly free. Mason and Dixon cannot foresee the bloodshed that will rage across their line a century later, during the U.S. Civil War, but both men, in Pynchon's telling, come to believe that they did something wrong to the wilderness....At its most eloquent, Mason & Dixon becomes an epic of loss."
"Review" by , "This is the old Pynchon, the true Pynchon, the best Pynchon of all. Mason & Dixon is a groundbreaking book, a book of heart and fire and genius, and there is nothing quite like it in our literature, except Maybe V. and Gravity's Rainbow."
"Review" by , "As Pynchon chronicles [Mason and Dixon's] cultural and scientific adventures...he considers such complex issues as colonization, slavery, the massacre of American Indians, and the conflicts between religion and science. But he also has fun, gleefully improvising on the assertive language of the time, taking sly liberties with the lives and personalities of the melancholy Mason and carefree Dixon, reveling in the buzz of pubs and coffeehouses, and animating a great cast of whimsical secondary characters....Pynchon transforms their world into a fun-house-mirror reflection of our own, reminding us that we still search for meaning in celestial events, that racism is still alive and virulent, and that friendship and love can and do transcend the dividing lines of prejudice and politics."
"Review" by , "I read the first fifty pages and then gave up, having found nothing in the plot, the characters, or the style to warrant my reading seven hundred pages more....Ostensibly [Mason & Dixon] is an 'historical novel' about those two surveyors who achieved immortality by dividing the continental United States into North and South. If that sounds like an unpromising premise for a novel, it is indeed. Things are not helped by the fact that Mr. Pynchon's idea of character consists in making everyone sound vaguely piratical, with cutesy period punctuation that is certain to defeat most readers' efforts at decipherment."
"Review" by , "As a fellow-novelist I could only envy it and the culture that permits the creation and success of such intricate masterpieces. This almost feels like the last great fiction of our dying era."
"Review" by , "Mason & Dixon is not only the most stunning novel I've read in the last twenty years, but one of the most stunning novels I've read, comma, period. At this point I think we can safely argue that the radiant center of American fiction is inhabited by only three characters, Melville, Faulkner, and Pynchon, and I'm not too sure about Melville, and I left out the unapproachable Henry James only because he didn't really want to be American. So am I telling you that if you don't read Mason & Dixon your life will be, by that measure, impoverished? You bet. But of course most of you won't — or at least you won't finish it. It's long, by which I mean long; it's involuted, convoluted, self-referential — it's Thomas Pynchon and it has, as all of Pynchon's novels, virtually no plot. It is, simply, magnificent."
"Review" by , "Pynchon always has been wildly inventive, and gorgeously funny when he surpasses himself: the marvels of this book are extravagant and unexpected."
"Review" by , "Here's a 784-page head-scratcher, a massive novel on a fascinating topic written by one of our most brilliant and beloved authors, a tome loaded with highbrow razzle-dazzle and raffish low comedy, deep thoughts and dizzy riffs — yet the whole thing is painfully inaccessible. If Vineland, the 1990 flop that broke 17 years of cult-nurturing silence, forced us to face the possibility that the author of V. and Gravity's Rainbow had exhausted his talent as a writer, Mason & Dixon proves that Thomas Pynchon still has the stuff but no longer knows what to do with it."
"Synopsis" by ,
The New York Times Best Book of the Year, 1997

Time Magazine Best Book of the Year 1997

Charles Mason (1728-1786) and Jeremiah Dixon (1733-1779) were the British surveyors best remembered for running the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland that we know today as the Mason-Dixon Line. Here is their story as re-imagined by Thomas Pynchon, featuring Native Americans and frontier folk, ripped bodices, naval warfare, conspiracies erotic and political, major caffeine abuse. We follow the mismatch'd pair--one rollicking, the other depressive; one Gothic, the other pre-Romantic--from their first journey together to the Cape of Good Hope, to pre-Revolutionary America and back, through the strange yet redemptive turns of fortune in their later lives, on a grand tour of the Enlightenment's dark hemisphere, as they observe and participate in the many opportunities for insanity presented them by the Age of Reason.

"Synopsis" by ,
Charles Mason (1728-1786) and Jeremiah Dixon (1733-1779) were the British surveyors best remembered for running the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland that we know today as the Mason-Dixon Line. Here is their story as re-imagined by Thomas Pynchon, featuring Native Americans and frontier folk, ripped bodices, naval warfare, conspiracies erotic and political, and major caffeine abuse. We follow the mismatched pair--one rollicking, the other depressive; one Gothic, the other pre-Romantic--from their first journey together to the Cape of Good Hope, to pre-Revolutionary America and back, through the strange yet redemptive turns of fortune in their later lives, on a grand tour of the Enlightenment's dark hemisphere, as they observe and participate in the many opportunities for insanity presented them by the Age of Reason.

spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.