Brow Beat

Read the First Page of Thomas Pynchon’s Next Novel

Thomas Pynchon on The Simpsons.


It’s been four years since Thomas Pynchon published Inherent Vice (which, by the way, Paul Thomas Anderson may start filming within the next few weeks, with Joaquin Phoenix in the lead as Doc Sportello, the stoner Los Angeles P.I.). That’s not a long time for Pynchon, who often takes several years in between books. But his next one, Bleeding Edge, arrives this fall, and you can read the first page of it below.

First, some context: Bleeding Edge is set in New York City, “in the lull between the collapse of the dotcom boom and the terrible events of September 11,” and concerns Silicon Alley, New York’s community of high-tech companies. It centers on Maxine Tarnow, “your average working mom” who runs “a nice little fraud investigation business on the Upper West Side, chasing down … small-scale con artists.” She’s had her license revoked, and “now she can follow her own code of ethics—carry a Beretta, do business with sleazebags, hack into people’s bank accounts.” Maxine “starts looking into the finances of a computer-security firm and its billionaire geek CEO,” and “soon finds herself mixed up with a drug runner in an art deco motorboat, a professional nose obsessed with Hitler’s aftershave, a neoliberal enforcer with footwear issues, plus elements of the Russian mob and various bloggers, hackers, code monkeys, and entrepreneurs, some of whom begin to show up mysteriously dead. Foul play, of course.”

Sounds like a Pynchon novel. The book’s publisher, Penguin, calls it “a historical romance of New York in the early days of the internet, not that distant in calendar time but galactically remote from where we’ve journeyed to since,” and hints that Jerry Seinfeld may “make an unscheduled guest appearance.” The book comes out September 17.