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V. Cover

ISBN13: 9780060930219
ISBN10: 0060930217
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

It's Christmas Eve, 1955, and ex-seaman Benny Profane — a schlemihl and human yo-yo — is back in Norfolk, Virginia, with some old Navy buddies and Paola Maijstral, the enigmatic barmaid from Valletta, Malta. By January, he and Paola are in New York City with a group of wastrels self-styled The Whole Sick Crew; and Profane roams the streets and the sewers (hunting alligators) of a city that seems to just bounce him back and forth.

In the meantime, Herbert Stencil — questing son of a dead British Foreign Office man — has been, since 1945, hunting for the utterly mysterious V., an unknown (perhaps unknowable) woman whom Stencil knows only from an entry in his late father's journals: "Florence, April, 1899...There is more behind and inside V. than any of us had suspected. Not who, but what: what is she?" And he knows, he has intuited," that she'd been connected...with one of those grand conspiracies or foretastes of Armageddon which seemed to have captivated all diplomatic sensibilities in the years preceding the Great War. V. and a conspiracy."

By January 1956, Stencil's search has brought him to New York City, where his and Benny Profane's paths inevitably cross. From that point of crossing, Thomas Pynchon's first novel takes readers on a wild and wonderful tour of the twentieth century and of contemporary America. Record-company and armaments executives (Roony Winsome and Clayton " Bloody" Chiclitz) jostle on these pages with British spies and Nazi rocket builders (Eric Bongo-Shaftsbury and Kurt Mondaugen), dentists and plastic surgeons (Dudley Eigenvalue and Shale Shoenmaker) rub metaphoric elbows with street gangs and jazzmusicians (the Playboys and McClintic Sphere). And all the while, the world has either run down into meaninglessness or is run by a vast conspiracy that imposes a single absolute meaning on everyone.


"[L]eaves the imagination spent and the mind reeling." New York Herald Tribune


"[A] brilliant and turbulent first novel." George Plimpton, New York Times Book Review


The wild, macabre tale of the twentieth century and of two men — one looking for something he has lost, the other with nothing much to lose — and "V.," the unknown woman of the title.

About the Author

Thomas Pynchon was born in 1937. His books include The Crying of Lot 49, Gravity's Rainbow, Vineland, and Mason & Dixon.

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

greengills, November 21, 2010 (view all comments by greengills)
I was riding the max the other day and I had the strangest flashback, hunting alligators in the sewers. Then I remembered it was from a book, this book and I think it was then that V. finally made a bit of sense. Ask me what it's about...ask anyone, and I'm sure they'll tell you it's great, and I agree but that mad man, pynchon, he's out to get us all.
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Product Details

Pynchon, Thomas
Harper Perennial Modern Classics
Milward, Richard
New York
American fiction (fictional works by one author)
Missing persons
American fiction (fictional works by one auth
Psychological fiction
General Fiction
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
TradeION DESC: Trade PB
Perennial Classics
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.11x5.30x1.31 in. .90 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

V. New Trade Paper
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Product details 560 pages HarperCollins Publishers, Incorporated - English 9780060930219 Reviews:
"Review" by , "[L]eaves the imagination spent and the mind reeling."
"Review" by , "[A] brilliant and turbulent first novel."
"Synopsis" by , The wild, macabre tale of the twentieth century and of two men — one looking for something he has lost, the other with nothing much to lose — and "V.," the unknown woman of the title.
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