The Thomas Pynchon Myth


Thomas Pynchon is a reclusive author—or so we are told. Vice unearths the origins of Pynchon’s famous isolation, attributing the legend to the Paris Review‘s George Plimpton:

It all started 51 years ago, in 1963, when George Plimpton in the New York Times published the line: “Pynchon is in his early twenties; he writes in Mexico City—a recluse.” It is doubtful if Plimpton, who helped create the Paris Review, knew at the time that he was accidentally kicking off the largest and longest game of Where’s Waldo? ever conceived. Nevertheless, the label has stuck.

Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2022). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at More from this author →