If you’re at all like me, when you saw the cover of Thomas Pynchon’s forthcoming novel you cringed, and then reminded yourself that dust jackets were made to be removed.
Well, it seems that Pynchon himself is to blame for this image. ThomasPynchon.com has the details:
The cover illustration is by Maui artist Darshan Zenith. The piece is called "Cadillac Hearse" or, perhaps, "Eternal Summer" — "A ‘Retired’ Caddy Hearse Greets Daybreak at a Beach Surf Shop" — and is one of many prints available on his Cruiser Art website. The 1959 Cadillac Hearse is parked in front of the "Endless Summer Surf Shop" (namechecking the Beach Boys Greatest Hits collection and Bruce Brown’s 1966 surfing documentary!). (Thanks to the Pynchon List for identifying the image.)
Apparently, Pynchon was searching the Web for the right image for the Inherent Vice cover, found the Cruiser Art website
and the "Caddy Hearse" piece, and wanted to use it. Penguin contacted
Cruiser Art and obtained the appropriate permissions. Darren Haggar is
Penguin’s art director for this project.
They also note that the font has been updated, from the bodice-ripper
cursive to a more modern blocky neon (above). A vast improvement, in my opinion.
The book now has an Amazon page (albeit, sans cover). The street date is August 4, but as yet there’s no snappy marketing copy by Pynchon.