Birthplace: Glen Cove, New York
Typewriter: Olivetti portables*
Pynchon is noted for his imagination and wild sense of humor. He is often grouped with authors of black humor (such as Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller), who have turned from realism to fantasy to depict 20th-century American life. His early novels include V. (1963) and The Crying of Lot 49 (1966). His masterpiece is Gravity's Rainbow (1973, National Book Award), which displays his diverse erudition. Set in London during World War II, it is a discursive rumination on war and death. In 1984, he published a collection of early writings, Slow Learner. His later novels are Vineland (1990) and the witty and encyclopedic Mason & Dixon (1997).