Thomas Ruggles Pynchon, Jr. (/ˈpɪnˌtʃɒn/; born May 8, 1937) is an American novelist. A MacArthur Fellow, he is noted for his dense and complex novels. Both his fiction and nonfiction writings encompass a vast array of subject matter, styles and themes, including (but not limited to) the fields of history, science, and mathematics. For his most praised novel, Gravity's Rainbow, Pynchon won the 1974 U.S. National Book Award for Fiction.Hailing from Long Island, Pynchon served two years in the United States Navy and earned an English degree from Cornell University. After publishing several short stories in the late 1950s and early 1960s, he began composing the novels for which he is best known: V. (1963), The Crying of Lot 49 (1966), Gravity's Rainbow (1973), and Mason & Dixon (1997). Pynchon is also known for being very private; very few photographs of him have ever been published, and rumors about his location and identity have circulated since the 1960s.Pynchon's most recent novel, Bleeding Edge, was published September 17, 2013.