The Crying of Lot 49 is Pynchon's most accessible work; consequently, it is the one most widely read and taught. Nonetheless, the novel poses many challenges, owing especially to its impressive range of references to contemporary popular and material culture, history and geography, and slang and technical jargon. In addition, as J. Kerry Grant notes in his introduction, Lot 49, like all of Pynchon's work, is so receptive to endless interpretations that it ultimately defies any unified, comprehensive accounting of its major preoccupations, much less its overall meaning. The more than 480 notes comprising the guide are keyed to the 1986 Harper Perennial and 1967 Bantam editions of Lot 49. The majority of notes are interpretive, although some are designed to provide a historical context to what Pynchon has written or to recover the meaning of a reference that, over time, has proved to be ephemeral. An entree into Pynchon's complex fictional world, this guide is also a tribute to his imposing genius. With the companion in hand, curious, apprehensive newcomers to Pynchon's work and seasoned scholars alike will approach Lot 49 with an enhanced appreciation of the book's richness and inventiveness. - Publisher.