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Mason & Dixon

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Mason & Dixon Cover

ISBN13: 9780312423209
ISBN10: 0312423209
Condition: Standard
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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:

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.

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.

Thomas Pynchon is the author of V., The Crying of Lot 49, Gravity's Rainbow, Slow Learner (a collection of stories), and Vineland. He received the National Book Award for Gravity's Rainbow in 1974. He lives in New York.

A New York Times Best Book of the Year

A Time Magazine Best Book of the Year

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 told by the celebrated contemporary novelist Thomas Pynchon, in an updated 18th-century saga featuring Native Americans and frontier folk, ripped bodices, naval warfare, conspiracies both erotic and political, and major caffeine abuse.

Unreflectively entangled in crimes of demarcation, Mason and Dixon take us along on a grand tour of the Enlightenment's dark hemisphere, from their first journey together to the Cape of Good Hope, to pre-Revolutionary America, and back to England; into the shadowy yet redemptive turns of their later lives; through incongruities in conscience, parallaxes of personality, and tales of questionable altitude told and intimated by voices clamoring not to be lost.

Along the way they encounter a plentiful cast of characters, including Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Samuel Johnson, as well as a Chinese feng shui master, a Swedish irredentist, a talking dog, and a robot duck. The quarrelsome, daring, wholly mismatched pairMason as melancholy and Gothic as Dixon is cheerful and pre-Romanticpursue a linear narrative of irregular lives, observing (and managing to participate in) the many and varied occasions of madness presented them by the Age of Reason.

"A novel that is as moving as it is cerebral, as poignant as it is daring . . . A book that testifies to Pynchons powers of invention and his sheer power as a storyteller."Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"A dazzling work of imaginative re-creation, a marvel-filled historical novel . . . Exceptionally funny."Michael Dirda, The Washington Post Book World

"The style is playful, a pastiche redolent of the musty journal and the capitalomania of the day, bumptiously Fieldingesque, and yet as pumped-up and heightened and chock-full of late-20th-century references as the dernier cri from the street. It is wonderfully subversive. In fact, almost all the book's humor is balanced on the razor edge of anachronism, creating a rich stew of accepted and invented history, anecdote, myth and hyperbole. There are precedents hereJohn Barth, Robert Coover, Günter Grass, Gabriel García Márquez, E.L. Doctorow and, of course, the Thomas Pynchon of Gravity's Rainbow and V."T. Coraghessan Boyle, The New York Times Book 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

"It is the vision itself that one takes away from this remarkable book: a wilderness America, peopled as much by European hopes and longings as by the interlocking kingdoms of the indigenous; a virgin, undivided land. Until, one morning, two ordinary men appear, charged with cutting a perfectly straight line, eight yards wide, westward into its heart . . . It is a moment of surpassing beauty and sadness, a glimpse of something whose sense we can never take for granted or be lastingly done witheven when, as here, it has occasioned a masterpiece."Ted Mooney, Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review

"With Mason & Dixon we're again in the generous hands of one of American literature's true masters."Rick Moody, The Atlantic Monthly

"An astonishing and wonderful book."The New York Review of Books

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

"Mason & Dixon is an amazing achievement, certainly the novel of the year, possibly the novel of our time."Robert L. McLaughlin, Review of Contemporary Fiction

"Awash with light and charm, rich with suggestion and idea, stuffed with the minutiae of another time and world. Mason & Dixon is less a book to read through than to read in, to savor paragraph by paragraph."Paul Skenazy, San Francisco Chronicle

"Mason & Dixon will make you want to curse American history, then turn around and bless it, because nowhere else but America would you find a zany literary genius like Thomas Pynchon."Malcolm Jones, Jr., Newsweek

"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. Though I'm sure it won't be, I must admire its sense of the bright farewell, the clear passing overseas of the torch that Peacock, Dickens, Lawrence, and Conrad bore. You'll not find a better, this next time around."John Fowles, The Spectator

0"A contemporary Don Quixote or Canterbury Tales or more accurately the Iliad and Odyssey, with heavy splashes of Woody Allen and the Marx Brothers. Pynchon's not only back, but he's left us all in the dust again, with only the sound of his laughter echoing far in front of us."Jim Knipfel, New York Press

"Pynchon, an elusive, erudite, and manic satirist, has weighed in with another big book, another romp through the wild frontier of his imagination. As he did in his most celebrated work, Gravity's Rainbow (1973), and in Vineland (1990), Pynchon explores the paradoxes of a transitional era, this time harking back to the mid-eighteenth century and the so-called Age of Reason. His heroes are the English astronomers Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, the men responsible for establishing the Mason-Dixon line, and who, in his magic-making hands, embody their time's eager devotion to logic and precision even in the face of life's daunting chaos. As Pynchon chronicles their cultural and scientific adventures from their first meeting in London through their journey to Sumatra and the arduous surveying of the famous boundary line that carries their names, 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

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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

lukas, September 2, 2014 (view all comments by lukas)
"But it's America, Sir! Competition is of her Essence!" Since his debut with "V." in 1963, Thomas Pynchon has enjoyed a reputation as perhaps our greatest post-modern fabulist (or whatever you want to call him, he defies categorization), as well as a recluse to rival the late Salinger. Unlike Salinger, he never gave up writing and seems content to let his massive, sprawling, and sometimes hermetic novels to speak for him. His output is small (but his books are not), 8 novels and one collection spread out over 5 decades. He's been on somewhat of a run lately, releasing three books in the past 10 years. "Mason & Dixon" ranks with his masterpiece "Gravity's Rainbow" as an exhausting, exhaustive, difficult book. It's something of an American "Ulysses," embracing as much as it can and standing as a hyper-novel, an "everything" novel. The story of the British surveying team, it is a historical novel that also is written in the style, vernacular, and syntax of an 18th century novel. It touches on everything from politics to astronomy to religion to American identity. Franklin and Washington have cameos. It is ambitious and impressive? Yes, it stands with "Infinite Jest" as the most demanding American novel of the 90s? Is it enjoyable to read? Hardly. It wears you out without giving much back and it is one of the more difficult books I've read. Am I glad I read it? Yeah, sure, but I'll never pick it up again.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Alex, February 16, 2007 (view all comments by Alex)
This is Pynchon's best book and perhaps the best book I've ever read. Where Gravity's Rainbow seemed propelled by the thrust of its big concepts and themes, Mason & Dixon serenely glides on gusts of human touch and emotion. The character relationships, especially between the eponymous duo, are beautifully rendered and located in a sweeping historical context of flux and confusion. For fans of Pynchon's other books, M&D displays all the cerebral headiness and hilarity TRP is known for, here woven into his tightest, most mature narrative yet.

I simply can't recommend this one enough.
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(6 of 10 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780312423209
Author:
Pynchon, Thomas
Publisher:
Picador USA
Subject:
General
Subject:
History
Subject:
Frontier and pioneer life
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
Biographical fiction
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20040131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
784
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.50 in

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Mason & Dixon Used Trade Paper
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$7.50 In Stock
Product details 784 pages Picador USA - English 9780312423209 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 ,
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.

"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.

Thomas Pynchon is the author of V., The Crying of Lot 49, Gravity's Rainbow, Slow Learner (a collection of stories), and Vineland. He received the National Book Award for Gravity's Rainbow in 1974. He lives in New York.

A New York Times Best Book of the Year

A Time Magazine Best Book of the Year

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 told by the celebrated contemporary novelist Thomas Pynchon, in an updated 18th-century saga featuring Native Americans and frontier folk, ripped bodices, naval warfare, conspiracies both erotic and political, and major caffeine abuse.

Unreflectively entangled in crimes of demarcation, Mason and Dixon take us along on a grand tour of the Enlightenment's dark hemisphere, from their first journey together to the Cape of Good Hope, to pre-Revolutionary America, and back to England; into the shadowy yet redemptive turns of their later lives; through incongruities in conscience, parallaxes of personality, and tales of questionable altitude told and intimated by voices clamoring not to be lost.

Along the way they encounter a plentiful cast of characters, including Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Samuel Johnson, as well as a Chinese feng shui master, a Swedish irredentist, a talking dog, and a robot duck. The quarrelsome, daring, wholly mismatched pairMason as melancholy and Gothic as Dixon is cheerful and pre-Romanticpursue a linear narrative of irregular lives, observing (and managing to participate in) the many and varied occasions of madness presented them by the Age of Reason.

"A novel that is as moving as it is cerebral, as poignant as it is daring . . . A book that testifies to Pynchons powers of invention and his sheer power as a storyteller."Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"A dazzling work of imaginative re-creation, a marvel-filled historical novel . . . Exceptionally funny."Michael Dirda, The Washington Post Book World

"The style is playful, a pastiche redolent of the musty journal and the capitalomania of the day, bumptiously Fieldingesque, and yet as pumped-up and heightened and chock-full of late-20th-century references as the dernier cri from the street. It is wonderfully subversive. In fact, almost all the book's humor is balanced on the razor edge of anachronism, creating a rich stew of accepted and invented history, anecdote, myth and hyperbole. There are precedents hereJohn Barth, Robert Coover, Günter Grass, Gabriel García Márquez, E.L. Doctorow and, of course, the Thomas Pynchon of Gravity's Rainbow and V."T. Coraghessan Boyle, The New York Times Book 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

"It is the vision itself that one takes away from this remarkable book: a wilderness America, peopled as much by European hopes and longings as by the interlocking kingdoms of the indigenous; a virgin, undivided land. Until, one morning, two ordinary men appear, charged with cutting a perfectly straight line, eight yards wide, westward into its heart . . . It is a moment of surpassing beauty and sadness, a glimpse of something whose sense we can never take for granted or be lastingly done witheven when, as here, it has occasioned a masterpiece."Ted Mooney, Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review

"With Mason & Dixon we're again in the generous hands of one of American literature's true masters."Rick Moody, The Atlantic Monthly

"An astonishing and wonderful book."The New York Review of Books

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

"Mason & Dixon is an amazing achievement, certainly the novel of the year, possibly the novel of our time."Robert L. McLaughlin, Review of Contemporary Fiction

"Awash with light and charm, rich with suggestion and idea, stuffed with the minutiae of another time and world. Mason & Dixon is less a book to read through than to read in, to savor paragraph by paragraph."Paul Skenazy, San Francisco Chronicle

"Mason & Dixon will make you want to curse American history, then turn around and bless it, because nowhere else but America would you find a zany literary genius like Thomas Pynchon."Malcolm Jones, Jr., Newsweek

"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. Though I'm sure it won't be, I must admire its sense of the bright farewell, the clear passing overseas of the torch that Peacock, Dickens, Lawrence, and Conrad bore. You'll not find a better, this next time around."John Fowles, The Spectator

0"A contemporary Don Quixote or Canterbury Tales or more accurately the Iliad and Odyssey, with heavy splashes of Woody Allen and the Marx Brothers. Pynchon's not only back, but he's left us all in the dust again, with only the sound of his laughter echoing far in front of us."Jim Knipfel, New York Press

"Pynchon, an elusive, erudite, and manic satirist, has weighed in with another big book, another romp through the wild frontier of his imagination. As he did in his most celebrated work, Gravity's Rainbow (1973), and in Vineland (1990), Pynchon explores the paradoxes of a transitional era, this time harking back to the mid-eighteenth century and the so-called Age of Reason. His heroes are the English astronomers Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, the men responsible for establishing the Mason-Dixon line, and who, in his magic-making hands, embody their time's eager devotion to logic and precision even in the face of life's daunting chaos. As Pynchon chronicles their cultural and scientific adventures from their first meeting in London through their journey to Sumatra and the arduous surveying of the famous boundary line that carries their names, 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

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