This week we celebrated Thomas Pynchon's birthday, so it feels like a good time to mention that Pynchon fans can look forward to the publication of his first novel in four years, Bleeding Edge (Penguin Press), on September 17.

The famously reclusive author's latest is set in New York City just after 9/11, a time "not that distant in calendar time but galactically remote from where we’ve journeyed to since," as the publisher puts it. Of course, this being Pynchon, there's plenty of offbeat characters and situations to go around:

Maxine Tarnow is running a nice little fraud investigation business on the Upper West Side, chasing down different kinds of small-scale con artists. She used to be legally certified but her license got pulled a while back, which has actually turned out to be a blessing because now she can follow her own code of ethics—carry a Beretta, do business with sleazebags, hack into people’s bank accounts—without having too much guilt about any of it. Otherwise, just your average working mom—two boys in elementary school, an off-and-on situation with her sort of semi-ex-husband Horst, life as normal as it ever gets in the neighborhood—till Maxine starts looking into the finances of a computer-security firm and its billionaire geek CEO, whereupon things begin rapidly to jam onto the subway and head downtown.

The catalog also includes a first-page excerpt:


What do you think? Looking forward to this one?


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