Mortality and Mercy in Vienna

By Thomas Pynchon

90 ratings - 3.91* vote

Objavljena u 1959, "Smrt i milost u Beču" je Thomas Pynchonova druga knjiga priča.Originally published in Epoch, issue #9, Spring 1959. Objavljena u 1959, "Smrt i milost u Beču" je Thomas Pynchonova druga knjiga priča.Originally published in Epoch, issue #9, Spring 1959.

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Book details

, 24 pages
1976 by Aloes

(first published 1959)

Original Title
Mortality and Mercy in Vienna
0856520233 (ISBN13: 9780856520235)

Community Reviews

Nikola Pavlovic

Jako dobra prica! Potpuno u Pinconovom stilu, haoticna, luda i pre svega inteligentna.

Kirk Smith

I had previously read all of Pynchon's novels. This is now the last of the easily available chapbooks and that completes all of them. Always good in his own way.

tortoise dreams

The story of a late Fifties Washington D.C. party in which cultures clash.

Story Review: "Mortality and Mercy in Vienna" was Thomas Pynchon's second published work, appearing in Cornell University's formal literary journal, Epoch, in Spring of 1959. Written while still in college, for some reason he did not include the story in his short fiction collection, Slow Learner (1984). Which is a shame because it's easily as good as any piece in that company. The title comes from a line in an early speech in Shakespeare's Measure for Measure referring both to the powers of life and death and of mercy. Apt and lovely title for this story. Unlike so much of Pynchon's work "Mortality and Mercy in Vienna" is written in a straightforward, quick-reading style. A story that encompasses the carousel of an "absurd, surrealist" party consisting of a fetal pig, Chianti, Kurtz, Seconal, T.S. Eliot, Peter Arno, a Bartok Concerto, and a Klee original. The sort of party in which "you might give absolution or penance, but no practical advice." A party which you want to attend, but might not stay till the end. Apparently written quickly, it's all the better for that as it exists in its natural state before Pynchon had time to gild it with myriad additional layers of his encyclopedic and many-lives-lived knowledge. Available for sale or in PDF on-line, "Mortality and Mercy in Vienna" is well worth seeking out for anyone with an interest in Thomas Pynchon and an entertaining story. [5★]

Stephen Roberts

Not sure if this was his first or second published story but I think this might be his best. Heart of Darkness, Flowers of Evil, The Wasteland, dopplegangers, Windigo psychosis - they are all in there.Faulknerian length sentences too.

Chibyke shade

There is all you've expected from P.

Roberto Pinchas

Absolute garbage. I like Pynchon but this is an incredibly short story that can be found for free online, already appeared in certain editions of Slow learner, and just isn't good. There's some mild amusement to be had with the story, but like Pynchon's other early stories, it's a deeply flawed prototype of things he later perfected in books like V. and Gravity's Rainbow.

Making people pay over 10 dollars for this story on its own is highway robbery.

Variaciones Enrojo

Reinterpretación pynchona de la obra mannesca.

Маx Nestelieiev

Tiny masterpiece! There is all you've expected from P. - absurd situations, intertextuality, some Jewish, some French, some German, some Spain and Bartok and pig foetus, of course))


Singleton short story. Great beginning.