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Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
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Gravity's Rainbow (original 1973; edition 1974)

by Thomas Pynchon

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7,46882463 (4.12)1 / 347
Member:tiffin
Title:Gravity's Rainbow
Authors:Thomas Pynchon
Info:Bantam
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:Modern American Lit.

Work details

Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (1973)

  1. 80
    Ulysses by James Joyce (Jen7r)
  2. 60
    Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (AndySandwich)
    AndySandwich: Books that cause neuroses.
  3. 52
    House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (AndySandwich)
    AndySandwich: Gravity's Rainbow = paranoia House of Leaves = claustrophobia
  4. 10
    The Atrocity Exhibition by J. G. Ballard (StevenTX)
  5. 00
    Ratner's Star by Don DeLillo (rickyrickyricky)
    rickyrickyricky: Like Pynchon? Like DeLillo? Here we gots DeLillo's enthusiastic and goofy response to his own, favorable experience with Pynchon's most famous monsterwork. Wit, mathematical math and DeLillo dialogue.
  6. 00
    Crash Gordon and the Mysteries of Kingsburg by Derek Swannson (jasbro)
  7. 00
    Insatiability by Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (StevenTX)
  8. 34
    Moby Dick by Herman Melville (ateolf)
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English (81)  Italian (1)  All languages (82)
Showing 1-5 of 81 (next | show all)
Bowed out half way, hit a point of diminishing returns. ( )
  DavidCLDriedger | Apr 22, 2015 |
Infinite Jest's cranky uncle - the hardest book I've ever read. There are 900 pages and 400 characters, and far more casual paedophilia than I'm used to, but despite my difficulties, it's obviously a work of (mad) genius. I even managed to enjoy some passages - the Anubis orgy, Ilse's impostors - but am mainly relieved to be finished. ( )
1 vote alexrichman | Mar 24, 2015 |
Well I suppose you could say "this is rocket science", but this is a very difficult book to summarise. On one hand you could see it as obscene, rambling and unfocused, but on the other full of humour, ideas and fantasy, pitching the reader into a learned disturbed picaresque dream story of rockets, chemistry, psychological experiments and conspiracy, set during the confusion at the end of World War II. I enjoyed parts of it and found it very intriguing, but found the whole somewhat confusing (which is probably intended). ( )
  bodachliath | Feb 24, 2015 |
I have bachelor's degrees in psychology and chemical engineering, and am currently working on a PhD in chemical engineering focused on polymers. Most of the humor in this book (and it is *hilarious*) seems to require some advanced knowledge of the above mentioned topics. That said, the only way to get through this book, even if you are highly educated, is to give up on trying to understand everything. ( )
  fishasaurus | Feb 4, 2015 |
I read Gravity's Rainbow within a few months of William T. Vollmann's equally dense and WW2-focused Europe Central, and it made for interesting comparative reading (the former focused on the forces behind war and the later more on the personalities involved and how it shapes them).

Anyway..... Gravity's Rainbow doesn't make it onto my favourite's list, but it's undeniably a great book and, without having read Mason & Dixon or Against the Day, is the best thing I've read by Pynchon. It takes a lot of the themes of The Crying of Lot 49 and magnifies them to great effect. Some passages of the novel are better than others - Part 3 in the zone gets a little tedious at times - but overall the suffocating atmosphere of this is brilliant. Dense, dark days of war apply their weight and the sense of paranoia is palpable. Like in 2666, another mammoth tome of postmodern literature, the atmosphere is all important and brilliantly evoked. Slothrop might not end the novel a particularly rounded, or even that interesting character, but the world he inhabits pulls you in and is hard to escape. ( )
1 vote DRFP | Jan 19, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 81 (next | show all)
Those who have read Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow know that those 700+ pages add up to more than just a novel; it’s an experience. The hundreds of characters are difficult to follow, the plot is nonsensical, sex is graphically depicted, drugs are smoked out of a kazoo and a poor light bulb goes through many humiliating experiences. But the brilliance of Gravity’s Rainbow is not in spite of its oddness but because of it.
 
Like one of his main characters, Pynchon in this book seems almost to be "in love, in sexual love, with his own death." His imagination--for all its glorious power and intelligence--is as limited in its way as Céline's or Jonathan Swift's. His novel is in this sense a work of paranoid genius, a magnificent necropolis that will take its place amidst the grand detritus of our culture. Its teetering structure is greater by far than the many surrounding literary shacks and hovels. But we must look to other writers for food and warmth.
 

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pynchon, Thomasprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bergsma, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Britto, Paulo HenriquesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Doury, MichelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fučík, ZdeněkTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gryzunovoĭ, AnastasiiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jelinek, ElfriedeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koshikawa, YoshiakiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lindholm, JuhaniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, FrankCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Natale, GiuseppeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nemt︠s︡ova, MaksimaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nilsson, Hans-JacobTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ondráčková, HanaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pigrau i Rodríguez, AntoniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Piltz, ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sudół, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zabel, IgorTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"Nature does not know extinction; all it knows is transformation. Everything science has taught me, and continues to teach me, strengthens my belief in the continuity of our spiritual existence after death." - Wernher von Braun (Beyond the Zero)
"You will have the tallest, darkest leading man in Hollywood." - Merian C. Cooper to Fay Wray (Un Perm' au Casino Hermann Goering)
"Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas any more...." - Dorothy, arriving in Oz (In the Zone)
"What?" - Richard M. Nixon (The Counterforce)
Dedication
For Richard Farina
First words
A screaming comes across the sky.
Quotations
This classic hustle is still famous, even today, for the cold purity of its execution: bring opium from India, introduce it into China - howdy Fong, this here's opium, opium, this is Fong - ah, so, me eatee! - no-ho-ho, Fong, you smokee, [smokee], see? pretty soon Fong's coming back for more and more, so you create an inelastic demand for the shit, get China to make it illegal, then sucker China into a couple-three disastrous wars over the right of your merchants to sell opium, which by now you are describing as sacred. You win, China loses. Fantastic.

A former self is a fool, an insufferable ass, but he's still human, you'd no more turn him out than you'd turn out any other kind of cripple, would you?
They'll always tell you fathers are 'taken,' but fathers only leave - that's what it really is. The fathers are all covering for each other, that's all.
If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answer.
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0143039946, Paperback)

Tyrone Slothrop, a GI in London in 1944, has a big problem. Whenever he gets an erection, a Blitz bomb hits. Slothrop gets excited, and then (as Thomas Pynchon puts it in his sinister, insinuatingly sibilant opening sentence), "a screaming comes across the sky," heralding an angel of death, a V-2 rocket. The novel's title, Gravity's Rainbow, refers to the rocket's vapor arc, a cruel dark parody of what God sent Noah to symbolize his promise never to destroy humanity again. History has been a big trick: the plan is to switch from floods to obliterating fire from the sky.

Slothrop's father was an unwitting part of the cosmic doublecross. To provide for the boy's future Harvard education, he took cash from the mad German scientist Laszlo Jamf, who performed Pavlovian experiments on the infant Tyrone. Laszlo invented Imipolex G, a new plastic useful in rocket insulation, and conditioned Tyrone's privates to respond to its presence. Now the grown-up Tyrone helplessly senses the Imipolex G in incoming V-2s, and his military superiors are investigating him. Soon he is on the run from legions of bizarre enemies through the phantasmagoric horrors of Germany.

That's just the Imipolex G tip of the shrieking vehicle that is Pynchon's book. It's pretty much impossible to follow a standard plot; one must have faith that each manic episode is connected with the great plot to blow up the world with the ultimate rocket. There is not one story, but a proliferation of characters (Pirate Prentice, Teddy Bloat, Tantivy Mucker-Maffick, Saure Bummer, and more) and events that tantalize the reader with suggestions of vast patterns only just past our comprehension. You will enjoy Pynchon's cartoon inferno far more if you consult Steven Weisenburger's brief companion to the novel, which sorts out Pynchon's blizzard of references to science, history, high culture, and the lowest of jokes. Rest easy: there really is a simple reason why Kekulé von Stradonitz's dream about a serpent biting its tail (which solved the structure of the benzene molecule) belongs in the same novel as the comic-book-hero Plastic Man.

Pynchon doesn't want you to rest easy with solved mysteries, though. Gravity's Rainbow uses beautiful prose to induce an altered state of consciousness, a buzz. It's a trip, and it will last. --Tim Appelo

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:51 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Winner of the 1973 National Book Award, Gravity's Rainbow is a postmodern epic, a work as exhaustively significant to the second half of the twentieth century as Joyce's Ulysses was to the first. Its sprawling, encyclopedic narrative and penetrating analysis of the impact of technology on society make it an intellectual tour de force.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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