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Pynchon has won several awards for his writing. In 1963, he won a William Faulkner Foundation award for V, as the best first novel of the year. His second novel, The Crying of Lot 49, won the Richard and Hilda Rosenthal Foundation Award shortly after it was published. Gravity's Rainbow, published in 1973, is Pynchon's most celebrated novel. It is considered one of the best examples of American literary postmodernism. In 1974, it won the National Book Award for fiction. It was also recommended for the Pulitzer Prize but was vetoed by the Pulitzer board because they saw it as "overwritten" and "unreadable". In 1975, Pynchon refused the William Dean Howells Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His fourth novel, Vineland, published in 1990, was not liked by most critics. Since the early 1990s, many have mentioned Pynchon as a candidate for the Nobel Prize. One critic, Harold Bloom, felt he is one of the four major American novelists of his time. His fifth novel, Mason & Dixon, was hailed by most critics as Pynchon's greatest work up to that point. His work has been considered as a great influence upon cyberpunk fiction.
Overall, Pynchon's works have been received with wide acclaim. Sometimes, his works have been overshadowed by his desire to remain a recluse, refusing to be interviewed or photographed on numerous occasions. There are few pictures of him, and he chooses to remain private as far as his personal life is concerned.
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