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Gravity's Rainbow (1973)

by Thomas Pynchon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
9,065113573 (4.09)1 / 434
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)
  1. 80
    Ulysses by James Joyce (Jen7r)
  2. 70
    Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (AndySandwich)
    AndySandwich: Books that cause neuroses.
  3. 42
    House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (AndySandwich)
    AndySandwich: Gravity's Rainbow = paranoia House of Leaves = claustrophobia
  4. 10
    Ratner's Star by Don DeLillo (alaskayo)
    alaskayo: 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.
  5. 44
    Moby Dick by Herman Melville (ateolf)
  6. 00
    Crash Gordon and the Mysteries of Kingsburg by Derek Swannson (jasbro)
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English (107)  Italian (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (109)
Showing 1-5 of 107 (next | show all)
I dallied with the idea of writing a very short review, saying pithy things like:

"I'm glad that's over."

or:

"Fuck."

OR should I go more eloquent: "I'm going to set this day as an anniversary to commemorate why I'll never read this book again."

But I think I'll just state that I think I just got post-moderned in the ass.


Or I could say some wonderful things about the novel, too, of which there are many, many wonderful things, such a great and funny commentary on WAR, Operant Conditioning, Drug Fiends, Erections, Scatophagy, Porn, Dirty Limericks, Porn, the Physics of rocketry and drug making, Porn, Orgasmo, Porn, and a great scene near the beginning that brought to mind Pink Floyd's The Wall movie with the buttcheeks over London mixed with a sampling of the BLOB and Bananas.

Do you think this was an easy book to read? You might think so with all the Porn. But no. It's a drug-trip with funny scenes that's very smart and it goes way beyond my tolerance level for being smug. Maybe all this 60's and 70's thing about making sure every penis and vagina is getting it on to shock the straights just isn't for me. I'd like a little story with my porn. Fortunately, there's a lot of story hidden right beneath the surface, here. It might be hiding right beneath all the SS or a few more Nazis or just behind that other Nazi, or is it behind this one?

Golly, it's kinda hard to find it. I know it's there. But at least there's yet another erection and girls everywhere are flocking to this inexplicable sex symbol... but wait! Yeah... I have to admit the nasal erection bit was funny as hell.

*sigh*

I've read better bricks. I've even had better bricks slam across my head.

Alas, this one was not a solid gold brick with a slice of lemon wrapped around it, but it *might* be just as crazy. (Thank you, Pan-Galactic Gargle-Blaster. I need you so bad right now.)

( )
1 vote bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Yikes. A major achievement for the writer and for anyone who managed to finish reading all 770 pages. It takes political incorrectness to new heights - an equal opportunity offender. I need a shower. ( )
  Ed_Schneider | Apr 19, 2020 |
Gravity's Rainbow is the essence of bizarre. A stream of consciousness rant, bringing the universe together under the umbrella of paranoia. ( )
  S.C._Beam | Mar 24, 2020 |
I hated this book - couldn't make it all the way through. And I know Pynchon is supposed to be one of the "great" authors. And I can count on one hand the books I have been unable to finish in my life - but I couldn't finish this one. ( )
  Phyllis.Mann | Mar 18, 2020 |
Tried to read this back around 2002 or so (maybe even foolishly chose to take it as my book for camping?), but didn't make it very far into the rambling, self-impressed noodling. A fine entry in the post-ironic cannon. ( )
  reg_lt | Feb 7, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 107 (next | show all)
There’s a dirty secret tucked away in Thomas Pynchon’s novels, and it’s this: beyond all the postmodernism and paranoia, the anarchism and socialism, the investigations into global power, the forays into labor politics and feminism and critical race theory, the rocket science, the fourth-dimensional mathematics, the philatelic conspiracies, the ’60s radicalism and everything else that has spawned 70 or 80 monographs, probably twice as many dissertations, and hundreds if not thousands of scholarly essays, his novels are full of cheesy love stories.
 
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
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jelinek, ElfriedeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koshikawa, YoshiakiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kunz, AnitaCover artistsecondary 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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