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Gravity's Rainbow (1973)

by Thomas Pynchon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
9,533124593 (4.08)1 / 452
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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» See also 452 mentions

English (122)  Italian (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (124)
Showing 1-5 of 122 (next | show all)
Tough read. Many characters. Reading this book in 2021 presents problems as the author uses so many references to events and culture in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s that are no longer fresh in the mind, and Americanisms that I am unfamiliar with. I must admit I found more pleasure in reading the companion to the book than I did the actual story. I was expecting the book to be mostly about the V2 rocket, but probably only about 5% of it actually was. I did enjoy the behaviour of the psychologists and patients, it was obvious they were all as insane as each other. The book did make me laugh out loud sometimes. I was surprised by the amount of sex, sometimes unpleasant. The use of Pavlovian psychology and experiments in ESP was interesting. The drug use of the characters was well written and confused, reflecting the effects of the drugs. The author not only used slang and made-up words in this book, but also used puns on names I was unfamiliar with. It was a crazy read from start to end (I wonder about Byron the sentient light-bulb), and this book was probably not the best first Pynchon to read, but I will remember parts of it and am overall glad to have read it. ( )
  AChild | Sep 6, 2021 |
IMO self indulgent modernist crap
  ritaer | Jun 6, 2021 |
Don't know what I can add to what's already been said about Gravity's Rainbow except that to the people who find it hard to read, I suggest consideration of reading what Pynchon doubtlessly had read while writing it: I found the book super doable and even brilliantly instructive --one user on Goodreads has remarked that the book teaches you how to read it, and I think that's correct --because I've already read Joyce, Dos Passos, Henry Miller and Ballard. The book has some elements that remind me of Atrocity Exhibition, which Pynchon may have been aware of, and he most certainly had enjoyed the former writers. For me, Gravity's Rainbow on a technical level is basically 1919 plus crazy WW2 technology education plus a gang of hash. Hope it's just so! Maybe after 1919 and Tropic of Cancer the book will sit a little more stably on some readers' laps... ( )
  EugenioNegro | Mar 17, 2021 |
When will people finally realize that Pynchon is a hack? All of his books are entirely void of any real meaning, and his sense of humor is less developed than even a five year old's. My guess is that he's some random autistic guy who decided to make a book that's as stupid and random as possible, to see if the hippies were stupid enough to find meaning in it. So he squeezes as many different sciencey words and dumb sex joke character names as he could think of into every sentence, and because it's such an obnoxious read, this book becomes the emperor's new clothes. Nobody wants to admit that this book is awful, because they want to appear smart. But understanding this book doesn't make a person smart. Any common idiot could understand this book. Yet somehow hardly anybody understands the boy behind the writing. Imagine your average autistic guy who masturbates ten hours a day and hides behind the internet occasionally saying stupid cringey shit because he cannot face the social consequences of his awkward behavior in person. This is the author, but fifty years earlier, and just as much of a virgin.

Pynchon is a hack and I'm 100 percent sure of this. Several years prior to reading any of his books, I myself decided to write a totally nonsensical novel as a social experiment, to see if pretentious hipsters would try to find meaning in it and act like they're smart for understanding it. Ironically, the result was exactly like any Thomas Pynchon novel, except the jokes and character names were a little less cringey and autistic. I never published the novel because I moved on to better things, but the moment I opened The Crying of Lot 49 I knew immediately what Pynchon was doing. He had the same goal in mind as me, except that I could tell he actually thought his jokes were funny. This is why I despise him. Because everybody who likes him is a pseudo intellectual, and he himself is just a dork with an awful sense of humor. His books are easy to understand because he has the maturity level of a five year old, and I'm convinced that people read him because they're not smart enough to understand real stream of consciousness like William Faulkner and James Joyce.

I'm convinced he's autistic because for somebody with such a large amount of random trivial facts stored in his brain, Pynchon has absolutely no understanding of how the world works. He tries to mask this by trying to come off as entirely goofy and aimless, but it really shines through if you can read between the lines. I don't think he realizes his unconscious racism or sexism, and general lack of understanding of the female gender. I doubt he's had any real experience in interacting with women, or with sex in general. The detail of his descriptions is revealing of the fact that he's had little to no real life experience with sex, and is only capable of describing his fantasies. A lot of what he writes about sex is for shock value and is hardly erotic, but I'd argue that his obvious lack of experience makes the shock value far less shocking, nothing more than a middle school joke made by the class nerd to his buddies. ( )
2 vote celestialfarmer | Feb 1, 2021 |
L'arcobaleno della gravità è uno di quei libri che quando li si chiude, un po' storditi, ci si domanda cosa si sia veramente letto. Non si tratta solo di un romanzo, ma di un vero e proprio labirinto in cui il lettore deve necessariamente perdersi per farsi travolgere dal fascino e dalla suggestione che l'autore cerca di trasmettere. Non è un libro facile e non lo consiglio a tutti ma, ciò nonostante, penso che si tratti di un libro necessario, la versione postmoderna di quegli antichi e misteriosi libri sapienziali che custodiscono le verità nascoste sul mondo.
  JoeProtagoras | Jan 28, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 122 (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 (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pynchon, Thomasprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bergsma, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Britto, Paulo HenriquesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buckley, PaulCover designersecondary 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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"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)
For Richard Farina
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A screaming comes across the sky.
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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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.

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