The shirt he’s wearing reads “Hi I'm Tom Pynchon.” And the Upper West Side setting is right. But somehow we pictured the magisterial author of Gravity’s Rainbow and Against the Day as being older. And with a little more intellectual gravitas.
But this video was released today by Penguin Press, Pynchon’s publisher, to promote his new novel Bleeding Edge which hits stores two weeks from today. It's real departure for Pynchon: an almost contemporary tale spun during the dotcom boom in Manhattan, referred to in the book as "Silicon Alley".
Itt would be quite a coup if the video is genuine, because Pynchon is the most famously, hermetically reclusive American novelist ever. There hasn’t been a photograph of him since like the ‘60s. He makes J.D. Salinger look like a social butterfly.
So who is this glib mystery man who starts his day doing yoga stretches in Zabar’s and trying to filch cheese samples? He does seem to know a good deal about Maxine Tarnow, the heroine of Bleeding Edge. But the sunglasses and the self-promoting Tshirt? Pretty sure that's not our Tommy.