Thomas Pynchon, novelist, writer of Gravity’s Rainbow, lived the true, secluded writer’s life…in the middle of Manhattan, New York City. One of the ways he kept to himself, avoided notoriety was by not having a picture taken of him for 40+ years.
“Since 1963, when Pynchon’s first novel, V., came out, the writer—widely considered America’s most important novelist since World War II—has become an almost mythical figure, a kind of cross between the Nutty Professor (Jerry Lewis’s) and Caine in Kung Fu. There has never been a confirmed Pynchon sighting published before this one, but there have been plenty of wild theories about his whereabouts, advanced by gonzo fans and serious scholars. People have said that Thomas Pynchon is “really” J. D. Salinger; that he travels around by bus, crisscrossing the country and leaving little clues as to his identity; that he’s posed as a literary-minded bag lady who writes letters to an obscure Northern California newspaper (there’s a new book out about that, The Letters of Wanda Tinasky). There was even a rumor, hotly debated on the Pynchon Websites on the Internet, that Thomas Pynchon was the Unabomber.”
Weird, cool story from New York Magazine, 1996: