Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Gravity's Rainbow” as Want to Read:
Gravity's Rainbow
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Gravity's Rainbow

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  25,262 Ratings  ·  2,111 Reviews
Winner of the 1974 National Book Award

“A screaming comes across the sky...” A few months after the Germans’ secret V-2 rocket bombs begin falling on London, British Intelligence discovers that a map of the city pinpointing the sexual conquests of one Lieutenant Tyrone Slothrop, U.S. Army, corresponds identically to a map showing the V-2 impact sites. The implications of th
Paperback, Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition, 776 pages
Published October 31st 2006 by Penguin Books (first published February 28th 1973)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Gravity's Rainbow, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

John Maberry No. It's among the worst books I ever read (or should I say, attempted [3 or 4 times] without success, to finish).
John Maberry Yes, extraordinarily so. There are more allusions packed into each page than any other book I have ever read. If you want to read it, do so near a…moreYes, extraordinarily so. There are more allusions packed into each page than any other book I have ever read. If you want to read it, do so near a computer where you can look them all up as you read. It is turgid prose.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
May 16, 2007 Bill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: novels
Advice for a first time reader of Gravity's Rainbow:

Gravity's Rainbow is a book you either love or hate, and if you hate it it's probably because you couldn't finish the damn thing. Though by no means impenetrable, the novel is daunting enough to merit a list of tips for those wishing to tackle it for the first time. Below is my advice on how new readers can get over the hump. Trust me, it's a small hump, and the masterpiece that lies on the other side is worth the effort.

1. Read V first ... Pyn
Sep 09, 2010 Greg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, favorites

Jan 14, 2014 s.penkevich rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Paranoids, Preterits and Pornographers
What is the real nature of control?

From the first sentence of Pynchon’s National Book Award winning novel, Gravity’s Rainbow, the Reader is transplanted into a threatening world where death strikes first, the cause second. It is a world of frightening realism and comic absurdity, all fueled through drug induced hallucinations, paranoid ramblings, and psychological investigations that is not all that unlike our own reality once you remove yourself to view it from afar as if it were some painti
Paquita Maria Sanchez
It took three months, but I finally pinned this sucker down to the count of ten. Three months is kinda perfect if you think about it, though. That's my typical honeymoon period in most relationships, the enthusiastic "I can still more than tolerate you" part, so great timing, yeah? Sure, I cheated on him on about 15 separate occasions in that time-frame, but hell, nobody's perfect. The library card in my wallet is like a condom just begging to be used.

So yeah, I can now say I've "read" this book
Gather ‘round, everyone, and hear the tale of why the reasoning (not the rejection itself, mind you) behind the rejection of this novel for the Pulitzer Prize of ’74 fucking pisses me off.

Their reason? Obscenity. I would hope that they at least wrote an essay justifying their decision that went beyond an insipid mix of morally outraged blatherings and oblique mentions of coprophilia (he ate what? Poop? Oh, we cannot stand for this we simply must not accept this and god forbid we even think for a
Dec 18, 2015 Geoff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I don’t know why exactly you folks out there read, or why you feel compelled to then seek out a community in which you might share your thoughts, impressions, reactions etc. about the books you’ve read… But me myself, I read for many reasons - among them the opportunity to transcend the narrow window of my own point of view; the chance to learn by a leap, however minimally, over the subjective walls of my own stupid existence; also and especially to inhabit for a few moments the warm pulse of
Ian Grayejoy

"A screaming comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now."


In the beginning was the earth, and above the earth was the sky.

The earth consisted of land and water. The sky consisted of air, the moon, the sun and the stars in the heavens.

The land consisted of rock. Water was everywhere, but still precious.

The sky was light by day and dark by night. By day, the light came from the sun and sometimes the moon. At night, a lesser light came fro
Barry Pierce
You know that very brief moment after you wake up in the morning? That moment when you're not sleeping but you're not yet awake. You kind of know what's going but you're not fully aware. You're in conciousness limbo. When you read Gravity's Rainbow you fall into this conciousness limbo. You read the words on the page but they don't all make sense. You're confused, you don't know what's going on but... you love it. You're floating through this syntactical Pandora's Box fully unaware of your surro ...more
Apr 03, 2010 Kyle rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I know history is rarely kind to harsh criticisms about super nebulous or "difficult" authors , but dig this --

This book is horrible. After reading The Crying of Lot 49, Slow Learner and now this, I'm convinced that Thomas Pynchon is a hack, and the reason we don't hear from him is because he has nothing to say and knows that if we gave him a microphone and fifteen minutes he'd be found out.

90% of the people who pick up this novel won't finish it, and 90% of those who do won't like it. But 100%
Jun 15, 2012 Jenn(ifer) rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: degenerates
Recommended to Jenn(ifer) by: the literati

First off, a song: this was supposedly influenced by Gravity's Raibow. HA!

This one's for you Slothrop & Bodine (I had no idea that there actually were zoot suit riots! Everything I've learned, I've learned from reading books. Crappy public school education...)

Where to begin?!

Regarding the creation of this novel, it has been said, “ Pynchon sequestered himself in a room, writing the novel out by hand, filling sheet after sheet of graph paper with the precise script of an Engineer. Perched at
Nov 14, 2012 Manny rated it liked it
Aug 03, 2009 Bram rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
I think reading and reviewing this book requires taking on some extra baggage because it...well, I don't actually need to explain why or else Gravity’s Rainbow wouldn't have this baggage in the first place. It's Gravity's Rainbow, and that makes me feel like I need to read it, preferably without thinking too much about why exactly I feel this way. But at the same time I feel like I should avoid it so I don't look like a damn hairdo, which I'm told is British slang for someone who “tries too hard ...more
Aug 10, 2007 Conrad rated it it was amazing
This might be my favorite novel. I read it over the course of around three months, on my fourth attempt, when I was living in Tallinn, Estonia. Something about residence in a very small European country heightens one's sense of the absurd. I would bring it to lunch at the bars where I dined and start crying into my club sandwich when the book was sad and laughing into my kebabs when it was funny (which is nearly always) and there are a lot of bartenders who probably thought I was crazy.

The first
Jul 06, 2012 Steve rated it liked it
Recommended to Steve by: A brainy but sadistic Goodreads group
An Approach for Simulating Text Consistent With Gravity’s Rainbow

Technical Report issued 6 July 2012 by the Simulation Lab Originating Text-based Handiwork (SLOTH)

While the exact algorithm used by Pynchon (1973) to produce Gravity’s Rainbow (henceforth GR) was never documented, we contend that the method proposed in this paper is, on average, in a repeated sampling context, observationally equivalent. As is true of any simulation, there is a deterministic component and a random component. Sim
Aug 30, 2015 Mona rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review of Gravity's Rainbow

Brilliant, Frustrating, Falls Short of Greatness, and not for the Faint of Heart

Really Frustrated Man Screaming and Pulling his Hair

I don't usually use images in my reviews. But this review screamed for one.

Several caveats for anyone attempting to read this.

1. You most likely won't get through it on your first attempt. I didn't.

2. Reading this is a project! The book is nearly 800 pages, and pretty convoluted. It's like reading Joyce's "Ulysses" (although I think "Ulysses" is the better book). You need to allocate more
Nov 18, 2013 knig rated it it was ok
GR is a cult rite of passage. You have literary aspirations? Want a literary badge of honour? Voila. Expire Perspire aspire on this. So the bon ton do. And having circumnavigated this literary Everest, victorious, but a little delirious and oxygen deprived, the finish liners now take positions for a whole new battle. The Battle of the Bulge, PoMo style. The trenches are drawn, and to the left of the house we have the Disbelievers, the Lost, the ones who just ‘don’t get it’. To the right: the rig ...more
Feb 22, 2011 Szplug rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took me a couple of tries to make it through Pynchon's Great Thing; the first time I began it eagerly enough, only to smash headfirst into an impenetrable wall of thick, viscous prose that so entangled and bewildered me that—after some seventy-odd pages—I said Enough! and moved on. However, the book nibbled away at my mind, and about three weeks later I gave it another try. Determined this time to see it through, I hit the ground running to match pace with A screaming comes across the sky...; ...more
Arthur Graham
Jul 04, 2015 Arthur Graham rated it really liked it

1 star for readers who require things like "plot" and "accessibility" in their books — silly readers!

2 stars for readers who just don't "get it".

3 stars for readers who probably also don't get it, but would rather not infuriate 1-star and 5-star readers by rating too low or too high.

4 stars for readers who value writing over narrative, plus more erections (both literal and figurative) than you can shake a stick at.

5 stars for TRUE masochists and/or readers who may just wish to appear hipper/smar
MJ Nicholls
May 28, 2012 MJ Nicholls marked it as dropped  ·  review of another edition
I tried sixty-nine pages for the purposes of the Group Read (a Group Read of Gravity’s Rainbow on Goodreads—a GR of GR on GR, or GR3) but tentatively closed the novel thenceforth. My first thought (I am an intellectual) was WTF?! This has over twenty five-star ratings on the first page?! Then I had to concede I simply don’t like Pynchon’s writing style, period. William raised this point in his review of The Tunnel—you’re helpless against an author’s crystalline prose if you simply can’t stomach ...more
Nov 21, 2010 Praj rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pynchon
It has been more than a month since I bunged Slothrop’s world of paranoia. Yet, the very mention of Gravity’s Rainbow sends an agonizing quiver through my spine. With a half-burnt Marlboro dangling in between my lips to preserve my sanity, I am geared up to shred Slothrop and the psychoanalytical puzzle of a disgruntled civilization.

Pynchon is a badass! He knows the poise of unbalancing the sanctuary of one’s mind. Just when you get composed with the narration, a bombshell laced with mystifying
Aug 09, 2015 Alex rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who's really into dicks
Shelves: smut, 2014, rth-lifetime
"Be sick," is the advice I got on reading Gravity's Rainbow. "Be sick and bedridden and read the whole thing through with no interruptions, and when you're done, flip back to page one and do the whole thing again."

And I get it: that would indeed be a good way to understand this drunken maelstrom of a book. But I don't care enough about it to do that, and also I don't get sick very often, so I was forced to just muddle through. Have I unlocked its many secrets? I have not. I can't tell you what G
May 07, 2015 [P] rated it liked it
One of the things that most irritates me is the idea that someone would read books like this purely in order to show off or impress people. I see comments like that all the time, have had them directed at me, things like: you didn’t actually enjoy it; you only wanted to make yourself seem intelligent. Wha? Who exactly would it impress? Some faceless dude on the internet? Well, gee. Or will some super hot girl on a train make lingering eye contact with me over the top-edge of my copy of Ulysses? ...more
Sep 08, 2007 Jordan rated it it was ok
Shelves: literature
It took me the better part of seven months, going 10 to 20 pages at a clip and excluding all other novel-reading, but I have finished. And while I'm proud of my focus and tenacity, I'm not entirely sure it was worth it.
I'm not going to bash something that obviously means a lot to so many people. It just didn't mean much to me.
I have long contended that genius isn't just having a brilliant thought, but communicating that thought to others. If this work conveyed some amazingly deep meaning to you,
Dec 16, 2015 Darwin8u rated it it was amazing
“I am Gravity, I am That against which the Rocket must struggle, to which the pre-historic wastes submit and are transmuted to the very substance of History.”
― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow


I personally enjoyed Against the Day more, liked Mason & Dixon better, but think Gravity's Rainbow is the more important. Pynchon definitely belongs on the shelf next to Joyce, Kafka, etc.. There are only a handful of modern writers who belong near him... Roth, McCarthy, DeLillo, DFW (perhaps). Anyway
Chance Maree
Oct 13, 2012 Chance Maree rated it did not like it

Years ago, the retina of my left eye detached and I underwent major surgery. Since then, the annual eye exam has brought a certain amount of anxiety, and yes, paranoia over every flash and floater. A week ago, the eye doctor identified a hole in the macular of my left eye. If a V-2 nano-rocket hit the the retina, it might look like this macular hole:


The macular hole has an interesting effect on my vision:


Fortunately, my right eye is dominant so I can read well enough, for now. The surgery is
Sentimental Surrealist
Now everybody -

How to start with Gravity's Rainbow? Well, it's tempting to start by calling it a comedy. It just might be the funniest book I've ever read (only Cat's Cradle can really challenge that claim), and it's also a gigantic, dark, uproariously funny joke at the expense of the entire literary institution. I mean, you thought Ulysses was irreverent? This is the step beyond Ulysses, this is Ulysses where seduction scenes are interrupted by octopus attacks, a man throws pies at a plane, sol
Jul 29, 2014 Erik rated it it was amazing
It's difficult to believe that a novel this strange, complicated, and subversive was ever penned, or published, or devoured by a large (cult) audience, but thankfully, for the sake of sheer literary chutzpah, all of this is so. 'Crazy,' 'exhilarating,' 'disgusting,' 'chilling' and a thousand other adjectives would be necessary in order to fully describe it, and there is a tremendous amount of intelligence on display in the intricacies of its storytelling, its thematic layerings, and its range of ...more
A.J. Howard
Selections From My Mental Commentary Upon Reading Gravity's Rainbow

Difficult my ass, I know who Werner Van Braun is.......... What a fantastic name........ Errrrr...............Maybe I need to reed that again......... Third time's a charm!.......... Shit........... Okay, who/what/when/where/why/how the fuck is going on?............... Okay, I think I get what's going on here........... Never mind.............. This whole thing is absolute rubbish............... Did Dane Cook's boner write that p
Oct 23, 2007 Aloysius rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People with a lot of time on their hands
As I was finishing Gravity's Rainbow (took me 2 months), I started kicking around an question that hadn't necessarily occured to me when I started: Am I really intended to understand everything that's going on in this book? And if approached with the answer of "no," Gravity's Rainbow is an enjoyable experience. I started off slowly in the attempt to take in every word and comprehend everything that was going on, but as I read an reread, I realized that some of this stuff was either above my head ...more
Sep 21, 2015 Suzanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Help! I feel like I’ve been trapped in a Marx Brothers movie for three months, only one with a lot of gross scatology, arcane cosmology, sexual perversions, rocket science and engineering, chemistry, digressions about the lives of light bulbs, and every other sort of weird subplot one could think of. Somebody let me out of here! With all due respect to the people, many of them very smart, who love this book, I did not like this book. And I read every word. But if appreciating this book depends o ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
2016 Reading Chal...: Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon 6 60 Apr 04, 2015 02:01PM  
Mic Breaks Only: Gravity's Rainbow: Page 0: Links & Notions 3 15 Jan 03, 2015 07:10PM  
  • A Gravity's Rainbow Companion: Sources and Contexts for Pynchon's Novel
  • JR
  • The Sot-Weed Factor
  • Underworld
  • Pictures Showing What Happens on Each Page of Thomas Pynchon's Novel Gravity's Rainbow
  • The Public Burning
  • The Field of Vision
  • At Swim-Two-Birds
  • Europe Central
  • Forty Stories (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics)
  • Women and Men
  • Wittgenstein's Mistress
  • Pale Fire
  • Herzog
  • The Waters of Kronos
  • The Man Who Loved Children
  • Dhalgren
  • Finnegans Wake
Thomas Ruggles Pynchon, Jr. is an American writer based in New York City, noted for his dense and complex works of fiction. Hailing from Long Island, Pynchon spent 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 today: V. (1963 ...more
More about Thomas Pynchon...

Share This Book

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.” 1299 likes
“They're in love. Fuck the war.” 791 likes
More quotes…