The novel ‘Bleeding Edge’ by Thomas Pynchon is a thrilling masterpiece, one that falls in the genre of detective narratives, portraying a prolific, literary, fictional, and creative writer, whose interest in humanistic and societal life in general actually transcends the fame and money accrued. The novel presents life in New York City before the September 11 attacks cleverly brought out by Maxine Tarnow and other characters in the novel. It is actually an apocalypse that emerges from the end of dot-com era which was a culture full of jokes, alcohol, casual sex, dope, and so forth into an era of bloggers, hackers, mobsters, and terror where society fights with an unknown enemy, or if known, a couple of September 11 theories of conspiracy takes center stage. In an extract from the novel, the narrator describes a context after September 11 attacks and says, “A hole has quietly opened up in American history, a vacuum of accountability into which assets human and financial begin to vanish.” This statement carries the tone of despair and paranoia with it that seemed to befall the entire American society after the terror attack.
The degree of the attack and its unforeseen nature perplexed many, and the ‘hole’ Pynchon is trying to describe partly that of fault and perhaps defeat. From the context of the statement, the author explains that Americans used to blame various security organs such as CIA and FBI in case of an attack. However, the nature of September 11 attacks did not have room for such blames, and the new enemy of terror seemed un-locatable, unnamable, and fierce to an extent of quietly opening a hole into American history. The statement seems to suggest that no one should be held accountable for having slept on the job or not using the correct technology to prevent the attack. The attack was so invisible and the entire society was now akin to the fact that everyone had a responsibility to deter such terror whenever possible. The hole the September 11 incident opened in America was one that made every citizen accountable to security concerns and to protect own country. One could not blame the CIA or any other secret security operatives because terrorism was now an enemy of America.
The hole Pynchon describes is one that could be continually written in American history about September 11 attacks. The incident made a mark in American history that will be read, and perhaps future generations will wonder whether the country had no option to prevent the attack. It is a hole that the incident punched into American life, and more significantly, one that gave Americans a course to act and defeat the enemy. The enemy, according to the narrator, seemed unbeatable and even CIA might be scared of the enemy. However, in the author’s speculation of the enemy, the narrative opens a new hole that projected the extensity to which security of Americans was fundamental. Such an enemy indeed seems unbeatable, but Pynchon’s description intends to indicate the essence of fighting back. Albeit existing many ways to fight back according to the extract, the gap or hole created so far is non concealable until Americans defeat the enemy. Further, from the extract, there is no time that America felt defeated such as being attacked on its own soil. The experience seemed to suggest failure by the government to protect its people, although it also ushered a time of vacuum when one could not blame any human incapacity or financial unavailability. The issue of terrorism was a collective affair that actually awakens the dot.com age into an era of reawakening.
Pynchon, Thomas. Bleeding Edge. New York: Penguin Press, 2013. Print.