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Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49, like Eric Dolphy's improvisational jazz, and the paintings of Jackson Pollock, seem to have a random and free form appearance but almost deceptively are highly structured, much like the deception of Oedipa is hidden underneath a confusing shell of irrelevant details. Pynchon crafts a stark and unrelenting portrayal of Lacan's real order and a search for for a phantasmal postal service representing an Objet petit a in Oedipa's life.
When Oedipa first discovers the foreign symbol on a bath room stall she knows it only as a "loop, triangle and trapezoid thus". The discovery is in fact the first small step into a convoluted world of disorientation, deception and adventure. Oedipa learns however that this composition of shapes is the muted post horn of Trystero's W.A.S.T.E. underground postal system.
Composition plays a large part in this novel, unlike a traditionally written book, The Crying of Lot 49 suspends key facts in a matrix of literary filler. Just as Pollock's Blue Poles suspends large blue pillers in a matrix of paint on a canvas, Oedipa is adrift in the endless urban sprawl of a southern Californian nightmare started by her now demised ex boyfriend and his will. Appointed to be the executrix of the will, Oedipa must go through Pierce Inveriarity's worldly possessions including one rare stamp collection, which like a jazz head leads to near endless improvisation. This too will draw Oedipia into a frenzied search.
Oedipa travels from one strange character to another, starting with her lawyer and leading to countless people that until the end seem to have no bearing on anything regarding the thread like plot. Most of the innumerable characters are there simply to illustrate the complexity of ordinary life in an abstract and rhapsodical way that Pynchon masers to a high degree of perfection. Oedipa is served a glass of dandeline wine by Gengis Cohen. "She could, at this stage of things, recognize signals like that as the epileptic is said toan odor, color, pure piercing grace note announcing his seizure. Afterward it is only this signal, really dross, this secular announcement and never what is revealed during the attack, that he remembers. Oedipa wondered whether, at the end of this if it were supposed to end, she too might not be left with only compiled memories of clues, announcemnets, intimations, but never the central truth itself, which must somehow be too bright for her memory to hold".
Of course this high perfection and accuracy is needed to correctly and poignantly convey Lacan's model of the human psyche. Like such great orchestrators and composers like John McLaughlin's progressive rock and Helmut Lachenmann's cutting edge classical music, Pynchon can make the planned seem improvised. Like the model Oedipia is separated from her home and husband and therefor enters into the the real order, her life becomes fractured like a broken mirror on the floor. "For it was now like walking among matrices of a great digital computer, ther zeros and ones twinned above hanging like balanced mobiles right and left, ahead, thick, maybe endless. Behind the hieroglyhic streets there would either be a transcendent meaning, or only the earth." Oedipa desires as does the reader an end to this odyssey, to go back to her home and husband. But once she visits back, every thing has changed and has become a zoo of chaos and yet again proves back tracking in Lacan's model futile and impossible.
The beauty lies in the composition of The Crying of Lot 49. The way Pynchon juxtaposes the truth with meaningless filler which gains its importance from being filler. In the end of the novel, "The auctioneer cleared his throat. Oedipa settled back, to await the crying of lot 49". The story ends as it beganwith the title, in a circular fashion. Oedipa is hanging on the verge, but not necessarily of truth. Pynchon portrays so well the real order according to Lacan and the fragmentation of our existence. All these points make The Crying of Lot 49 such an accurate and highly structured vision of our modern world.