Short, straightforward in narrative, and relatively linear in plot, The Crying of Lot 49 is considered by many to be Pynchon`s most accessible novel, and is therefore the one most commonly read, whether to fulfill the syllabus of a literature course or simply for pleasure. Nevertheless, it remains an enigmatic book that has been analyzed, discussed, and dissected almost as much as Gravity`s Rainbow. Even thirty years after publication it is still considered quite open to interpretation: some critics feel that it is ultimately meaningless and impossible to interpret, while others have found it to be rather cohesive, and even possessed by a set of ethical directives. Others, as J. Grant remarks, perhaps mindful of Oedipa`s notion that 'excluded middles' are 'bad shit,' have worked to find a functional interface between book and reader. All, however, agree that it is a vital work and a postmodern classic.
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