cover image Bleeding Edge

Bleeding Edge

Thomas Pynchon, read by Jeannie Berlin. Penguin Audio, unabridged, 17 CDs, 18.5 hrs., $39.95 ISBN 978-1-61176-233-4

Pynchon’s new novel captures the time after the dotcom bubble burst and before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Maxine Tarnow, a fraud investigator and mother of two living on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, begins to look into a big-time computer security firm and its billionaire CEO. As one might expect from a Pynchon novel, Tarnow’s investigation plunges her into a chaotic world that involves hackers, bloggers, mobsters, commodities traders, as well as the various men that occupy Tarnow’s life. Jeannie Berlin, who is set to appear in the upcoming film adaptation of Pynchon’s Inherent Vice, narrates this slick audio production. While she boasts a crotchety, sardonic tone that works for some of Pynchon’s characters, she lacks the vocal variety to convincingly portray the author’s complicated world in its entirety. Although her approach is perfect at times, when the novel delves into the early years of the Internet, Berlin sounds strangely out of place. A Penguin hardcover. (Sept.)