Thomas Pynchon is 76 and has published novels since his debut noel “V” in 1963. His third Book, “Gravity’s Rainbow” won the 1974 National Book Award and though recommended for the Pulitzer Price, the board over ruled the recommendation believing the book to be unreadable and overwritten, among other negative comments.
He is called, like J. D. Salinger, reclusive, and like Salinger is frequently known to lunch with friends in town, but unlike Salinger, who has been photographed and filmed, the last know photograph of Pynchon is a black and white and an old one at that, possibly from hos college days at Cornell. CNN once had him on video walking down the street, but they did not identify him as requested by Pynchon himself.
My point it there might not ever be a writer of his repute who has escaped the media. He does not like being photographed, nor does he do interviews, preferring his work to speak for himself. He likes privacy and, no doubt, secretly likes the mystique built up around him, which has taken on its own mythology. In today’s world of social media and will growing sales of e-Books can an author remain invisible? Authors need a platform we are told. They must market, socialize, promote, do interviews, become branded; in other words, a commodity.
Pynchon gained his reputation and fame as a writer before the digital age, something that surely must make him smile, knowing he comes from the old world of writing and publishing. He may be the last of his kind. The future is digital and perhaps there will be a writer who succeeds without the hoopla of jumping through e-World hoops. That remains to be seen.
The best invisible writer in terms of secrecy was B Traven who wrote, among other books, “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” and “Death Ship.” No one knows his real name. It may have been Ret Marut, but he once claimed his real name was Otto Feige. Or he could have been Berick Traven Torsvan, or perhaps Hal Croves.
I will do my best to be invisible even if each of you buy one of my books.
Cemetery Tales and other Phantasms: http://www.amazon.com/Cemetery-Tales-other-Phantasms-Nelson-ebook/dp/B00G9JND9Q/ref=la_B00EEVHN38_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1394524689&sr=1-3