Charles Mason (1728 -1786) and Jeremiah Dixon (1733-1779) were the British Surveyors best remembered for running the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland that we know today as the Mason-Dixon Line. Here is their story as re-imagined by Thomas Pynchon, in an updated eighteenth-century novel featuring Native Americans and frontier folk, ripped bodices, naval warfare, conspiracies erotic and political and major caffeine abuse. We follow the mismatch'd pair - one rollicking, the other depressive; one Gothic, the other pre-Romantic - from their first journey together to the Cape of Good Hope, to pre-Revoluntionary America and back, through the stange yet redemptive turns of fortune in their later lives, on a grand tour of the Enlightenment's dark hemisphere, as they observe and participate in the many opportunities for insanity presented them by the Age of Reason.
"Pynchon's finest work yet...if anyone is still looking for the Great American Novel...then this may well be it" Brian Morton Scotland on Sunday
Thomas Pynchon is the author of V., The Crying of Lot 49, Gravity's Rainbow, Slow Learner, a collection of short stories, Vineland and, most recently, Against the Day. He received the National Book Award for Gravity's Rainbow in 1974.
"Pynchon's finest work yet...if anyone is still looking for the Great American Novel...then this may well be it" -- Brian Morton Scotland on Sunday "A rollicking, picaresque tale... playful, erudite and funny" New York Times "Very grand and mad and beautiful...I can't remember ever having reviewed a more original novel... and if America produces a novel to come near this marvellous, proliferating thing this decade, I promise to eat it" -- Philip Hensher Spectator "Pynchon offers readers a trip as long and full of yearning as that of his heroes" New Yorker "A hugely ambitous epic...show cases all of Mr Pynchon's gifts as a writer: his magical abilty to fuse history and fable, science and science fiction; his Swiftean grasp of satire and his vaudevillian's sense of farce. It's a book that testifies to his remarkable powers of invention and his sheer power as a storyteller... as moving as it is cerebral, as poignant as it is daring" New York Times