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by Thomas Pynchon
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At 9,000 words strong and encompassing 86 titles, this is the only second-half 2013 book preview you will ever need.
It's probably its hospitality to debate that makes the "Best Of" list so popular in the first place. One can agree - yes! great list! - or dissent - Where is x? Why no y? - or inveigh against list-making itself, but in any case, the list holds up a mirror to one's own preoccupations. As with any mirror, it is fearsomely hard to look away.
What is actually novel about Pynchon's new novel? For one thing, it gives us a protagonist who is even more apt than its author to digress, to space out, to lose the thread.