Berfrois

Did Pynchon publish a novel under the pseudonym ‘Adrian Jones Pearson’?

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The Simpsons, 20th Television

From Harper’s:

Is it possible that the literary sensibility—person—that produced a clutch of novels under the name Thomas Pynchon has had a fat new novel out since April, under a different name, only to encounter a virtual vacuum of notice? That relative anonymity may have been expected, or might even have been among its aspirations, to prove a point?

Yes and yes. The book in question is called Cow Country, a 540-pager that came out of the chute from Cow Eye Press, 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, one of which is a centennial reprint of a 1916 eugenicist tract by Madison Grant, tying Americanism—patriotism—to racial purity. (Surely that is a stunt up someone’s sleeve.) Cow Eye Press sports a street address in Cheyenne, Wyoming, that is occupied by a registrar agent for company incorporation in the state, a firm that offers virtual offices in a locale “known for business-friendliness and respect for privacy.”

The progenitor of this novel, its faux leather back cover attests in urine-yellow type (a hue and liquid one finds in the narrative as well), “is an independent author of idiosyncratic fiction. His work has been published under multiple pseudonyms. Including this one.” Adrian Jones Pearson. He is on Facebook, of course.

The book looks like the kind of flotsam that arrives at literary-review offices (the surviving ones) across the country with numbing regularity. But we will ignore for the moment aesthetic issues, such as the elongated car that looms on the novel’s front cover like something out of the film Repo Man, to consider some of Pearson’s opinions regarding authorship and literary culture. If Pearson proves enough of a curiosity, we might condescend to examine some of Cow Country’s literary qualities.

“The Fiction Atop the Fiction”, Art Winslow, Harper’s