Bleeding Edge

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Thomas Pynchon

Narrated By: Jeannie Berlin

Publisher: Penguin Audio

Date: September 2013

Duration: 18 hours 42 minutes


Thomas Pynchon brings us to New York in the early days of the internet.

It is 2001 in New York City, in the lull between the collapse of the dot-com boom and the terrible events of September 11th. Silicon Alley is a ghost town, Web 1.0 is having adolescent angst, Google has yet to IPO, Microsoft is still considered the Evil Empire. There may not be quite as much money around as there was at the height of the tech bubble, but there's no shortage of swindlers looking to grab a piece of what's left.

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. She 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.

With occasional excursions into the DeepWeb and out to Long Island, Thomas Pynchon, channeling his inner Jewish mother, brings us 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.

Will perpetrators be revealed, forget about brought to justice? Will Maxine have to take the handgun out of her purse? Will she and Horst get back together? Will Jerry Seinfeld make an unscheduled guest appearance? Will accounts secular and karmic be brought into balance?

Hey. Who wants to know?


  • Art Pinsof

    So much fun! Maybe Pynchon's most enjoyable novel, especially if you're 20-35, I think. The pop culture and tonal detail of 2000era NYC in the poetry and noir maze of Pynchon's expertise is something more delicious than you can imagine. The narration is excellent! Expect to get lost at parts, but remember the #1 rule to get through a Pynchon novel, "Keep going." You can always re-read/listen again, and find more connections, details, themes, and puns...

  • Nicolas Valle

    Lesser Pynchon. Not as much fun as Inherent Vice or a masterful as Gravitys Rainbow. Berlin is an amusing narrated but not great