Saturday, September 12, 2015

Is Thomas Pynchon Author of COW COUNTRY?

Art Winslow, writing for Harper's, raised the issue earlier this month in his excellent article, "The Fiction atop the Fiction."  Certainly the "publisher" raises an eyebrow; Winslow refers to Cow Eye Press as "a publishing house (if that is what it is) established in 2014 apparently for the express purpose of issuing Cow Country and perhaps related follow-ons ..." and enumerates other suspicious points about the firm.  More telling:  the presumptive author, Adrian Jones Pearson, almost tells us that this is all a gimmick.

Winslow attributes the following to Pearson:  “The reading public, and especially professional reviewers, tend to be pretty dismissive of new authors.”  This is certainly true!  He continues:  << He [Pearson] allows that "skeptical" or “indifferent” might be a better characterization than “dismissive,” for unknowns lack the benefit of the doubt reflexively ceded to well-known authors. While Pearson recognizes that he may be consigned to “an utterly disjointed and fruitless literary career” as a result, there is an upside: He will not be forced to participate in a “dishonest system that I don’t believe in. >>

Yet haven't we seen this theme before?  How does this differ from the book J. K. Rowling published under the name Robert Galbraith?  The Cuckoo's Calling garnered rather modest sales until word leaked that it had actually been written by the author of the Harry Potter books, whereupon it became a huge success.  Thus, Winslow suspects that for a variety of reasons, Pynchon may be attempting a similar ruse -- one he is perhaps more willing to maintain and also something at which he will prove more adept.  

Similarities between Pearson and Pynchon abound; the article can be accessed at:  http://harpers.org/blog/2015/09/the-fiction-atop-the-fiction/

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