Gravity's Rainbow
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Gravity's Rainbow

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  20,088 ratings  ·  1,734 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...more
Paperback, Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition, 776 pages
Published October 31st 2006 by Penguin Books (first published 1973)
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May 16, 2007 Bill rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Jan 14, 2014 s.penkevich rated it 5 of 5 stars
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...more
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...more

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...more
Ian Paganus

"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...more
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...more

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...more
Aug 03, 2009 Bram rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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%...more
Jul 06, 2012 Steve rated it 3 of 5 stars
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. Simu...more
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
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
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
Chance Maree

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...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...more
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,...more
Oct 23, 2007 Aloysius rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
GR fits into a sui generis genre of alternative history meets non-fiction meets musical comedy. The comical and unbelievable elements are all mixed up with very hard facts about 1945 and the beginning of the post-war world. I'm beginning to get a handle on it even if the many many characters and their interrelationships are still confusing to me. I still have my battered copy, bought in high school at the (long defunct) Upper West Side Shakespeare and Company and having accompanied me all these...more

A SCREAMING comes across your skull. It is the sound of a bone saw, revved full throttle, splintering, decimating; shards of cranium shimmering to dust, falling into your eyes, blinding; hands curling into fists, drumming against matted hair charred with sweat; convulsions overtake your body, sing the body electric, vibrating upward, reaching an orifice, manipula...more
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...more
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 hose of prose -- relentless, uncompromising, uber-detailed, purposefully disorienting, godlike, puerile, silly, song-filled, wonky, wise, sexy, stupefying, audacious, ambitious to the point of OCD ADHD ickiness -- hooked to a thick rectangular pulp-based nozzle interface intended to excoriate at full-blast the reader's face off forever. "Central" thematic conflict is fate v. free will -- Pavlovian-type behaviorism v. something more than reaction to stimuli, in this case, arousal in advance of...more
Kyle Wright
Nov 26, 2008 Kyle Wright rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: nobody
Hundreds of unimportant characters, dozens of instances of pedophilia, unending passages that ramble on and on with no actions or information of consequence, drug and sexual organ obsessions, and fecal matter galore! If all of these sound like what you enjoy in literature, then this is the book for you. While a great master of vocabulary, Pynchon just doesn't know when to quit. It seems that any time there is any hint that the story might be progressing, Pynchon has to go off on a barely related...more
David Lentz
One has to admire the magnificent blend of erudition and ambition, which produced this masterwork. I have no idea why 400 characters were necessary to tell this enigmatic tale -- publishers, a scorecard, upon reprint, would help even diligent readers keep track. One suspects that passages of drafts were composed by a not altogether sober mind, although the edited drafts show discipline. However, there are places where all semblance of taste is altogether forsaken, not sure why, unless the forces...more
Aidan Watson-Morris
playing a prominent role in virtually every article on 'difficult' literature, pynchon's cult status has elevated this excellent novel to a divisive modern classic, & while pynchon's political passion & perfect panoramic prose produce potent products, don't be intimidated by those touting this as the dense, impenetrable successor to joyce on either side of the alley.

like a rainbow, this covers the full spectrum--you're not gonna be able to sort out every little detail (especially if you...more
It is difficult to say for certain if the five-star review will withstand a second reading--but we won't know that until I subject myself to it that second time. Fortunately for me, it has gone back to its "last in line" position for at least a little while.

First, the obvious stuff: this is the kind of novel that makes "Top N" lists of all kinds (formal and less so) and is widely regarded as a masterpiece among postmodern masterpieces. It's transgressive in a number of different ways--fucking wi...more
Edit, 14 Sep. 2012: So. I've been thinking and talking about this book literally all year now while my Pynchonian love has been growing exponentially. Four stars it is for this maddening, wonderful, frustrating and surprising masterpiece of American literature because it has done nothing but endear itself to me the more I dwell on it. I'm leaving my review as I wrote it in January because I'm fucking lazy, okay? the vast majority of it is still true.

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Holy crap, y'all. This book. This boo...more
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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
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“They're in love. Fuck the war.” 682 likes
“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.” 452 likes
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