12 February, 2016

V.

BY Thomas Pynchon
Book Information1/1/0/US/JPL/1963/c.4,000  •  220x160x42  •  744  •  NBA'64(F)

This is the first edition, first printing copy of "V.", Thomas Pynchon's freshman effort that established his reputation as a "young writer with staggering promise" and, 50 years later, labelled by one critic as his most earnest work written at a time when he was more adventurous and grounded, "enthralled by the vistas of both history and language, not yet limited by either". The book won the William Faulkner Foundation Award for notable first novel in 1964, one year before Cormac McCarthy would win the same award with "The Orchard Keeper", and was finalist of the 1964 National Book Award, losing to John Updike's "The Centaur".

I read the novel on and off. To be honest, I still don't know what it is really about. It is not exactly a picaresque Bildungsroman like Bellow's "The Adventure of Augie March", although there are shadows of it in in Benny Profane. It is not exactly about the ruins of human obsession exemplify by Gatsby and Ahab, but Herbert Stencil is in a relentless quest to unravel the identity of the elusive V throughout the novel. It makes numerous mentions of yo-yo and, in true Pynchonesque profundity, covers topics on physics, astronomy, jazz, and sewerage without losing a beat. Its dreamy, inventive world reads of a prime example of counter realism, and V, as a literary device, is the evanescent dream-like figure that cannot be pin down or rationalized. It is intriguing, and it is Pynchon's first novel. That's enough said for now.
This is the first edition first printing copy with first state dust jacket that is unclipped, showing the correct price of $5.95. The book is bound in purple clothed board with silver lettering on spin and blind stamps of "V" on the front board, and has blue topstain. The copyright page should state "Copyright c 1961, 1963 by Thomas Pynchon" in a triangular arrangement. It seems accepted that there were 4,000 first printing copies.

This book is somewhat rare and a VG copy of the hardbound can be purchased from eBay or Abebooks at $900 and above. This is a VG copy with a VG dust jacket that suffers from foxing to the spine and back flap, some spine sunning, and some chippings to the creases, and a VG+ book that is tight with vibrant topstain but suffers from the shadow of what is likely a removed bookplate on the flyleaf.
















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