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Pictures Showing What Happens on Each Page of Thomas Pynchon's Novel Gravity's Rainbow

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4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  468 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow (1973), set in an alternative-universe version of World War II, has been called a modern Finnegan’s Wake for its challenging language, wild anachronisms, hallucinatory happenings, and fever-dream imagery. With Pictures Showing What Happens on Each Page of Thomas Pynchon's Novel Gravity's Rainbow, artist Zak Smith at once eases and expands ...more
Hardcover, 784 pages
Published November 30th 2006 by Tin House Books
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Community Reviews

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B0nnie
Nov 15, 2012 B0nnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You could think of Pictures Showing What Happens on Each Page of Thomas Pynchon's Novel Gravity's Rainbow as the Classics Illustrated version of Gravity's Rainbow for the illiterate. There is no text, except for the brief introduction and forward. The 760 pages consist of an illustration from the corresponding page in GR, the 1973 original edition published by Viking Press. All the pictures are online here, and happily with the relevant text.

I haven't read GR, so I can't say how well the pictur
...more
Will
Feb 22, 2009 Will rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a teenager in the Seventies with literary ambitions, I knew Gravity's Rainbow as the Great American Novel of the day. I read it several times then, and again several years ago. I'm old enough now to admit I've never gotten much out of it. My mind wanders while my eyes forge ahead. But the allure of the novel still beckons! Maybe I'll try it again. I had great fun paging through these drawings. They have a stark mystery of their own. In his introduction Zak Smith offers good advice for underst ...more
Smiley McGrouchpants
This is a book for those who haven't read it, don't want to read it, want to not feel insecure about being daunted by it, and, further, have slipped into sub-dialogues about "not getting it" or needing to — unlike, say, William Gibson and the cyberpunk novelists following in its wake (he's said they've all read it several times; since, one presumes, in the "pre-punk 70s doldrums,"[*] one felt one had to) or the IMPOLEX director Alex Ross Perry, who's claimed that "after 2 years of film school, ...more
Adam Floridia
Aug 24, 2009 Adam Floridia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone reading GR
I think this is a really ingenious idea, especially to accompany a novel of the length and complexity of Gravity’s Rainbow. At times, the novel reads like nothing more than a series of images flashed verbally across the page. Smith’s artistic renditions of these are not only intriguing and varied, but they actually did help me to solidify certain more abstract pieces of text. Some pictures, on the other hand, left me completely baffled; I had no idea what image they were meant to represent. Howe ...more
Joep
Aug 13, 2009 Joep rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I could look at this for hours. Good visual metaphors for human vices, desires, and idiocies. Interesting, vibrant drawing based on the punk aesthetic. Still, the whole book lacks maturity as does the artist. Mentally, he stayed in 9th grade with his hand on his dick and that's what justifies and propels his art.
We all need something to believe in even if we think it's the truth.
Porter
Sep 30, 2016 Porter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is just a cool book. Coupled with the original novel it makes for some really interesting reading as you can compare the artistic interpretation to the original written source. Absent the original novel, it stands on it's own as a wonderful work of art, leaving the viewer to interpret the story completely visually.
Geoff Sebesta
Dec 17, 2010 Geoff Sebesta rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
ugly and stupid. Sorry, but it's true. Attaching yourself to a great novel does you no good if your work sucks.
Jamil
Jul 20, 2008 Jamil rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jamil by: eugene
"aspirations doomed to failure are the only ones worth aspiring to."
Plucino


Words Showing What Happens on the First 100 Pages of Zak Smith's Book Pictures Showing What Happens on Each Page of Thomas Pynchon's Novel Gravity's Rainbow

1. Cornucopia? Trumpet? Trunk of drowning Elephant?
2. Blank
3. People behind barrier
4. Phantoms with long faces. Military scared.
5. Guy fallen flat face on bed.
6. Guy with big forehead looking at smoke in the sky
7. Same guy looking down, with bananas
8. Smoke from pan
9. Several people
10. 4 guys waiting for breakfast
11. a phone call for someone
1
...more
James Murphy
This is an interesting companion to a reading of Gravity's Rainbow. Smith's impressions of what's in the text of each page aren't always clear, but more often than not I liked the artwork for itself. That artwork ranges in style from abstractions to the graphically realistic to something approaching a comic strip, all of which suit the encyclopedic gamut of popular flair and high seriousness of Pynchon's novel. Though Smith's visual interpretations of the beauty and terror, the terrible beauty o ...more
Jodi Lu
This was pretty interesting to have, though I wouldn't say very helpful in understanding Gravity's Rainbow, beyond adding a welcomed...relaxed-pace step in the otherwise-tedious process. It's been an unusual and very bulky reading experience: a brow-furrowing chapter in GR, then the corresponding "fer real?" section in Weisenburger's GR companion, and then pretty cool page-by-page art that...well, maybe 30% of the time you can relate somehow to the text. When you can't, you often think: eh, I st ...more
Owen Schuh
Sep 16, 2012 Owen Schuh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to see this piece several years ago at the 2002 (i think?) whiney biennial. It's looses something in book form (as opposed to being able to see the whole thing at once on the wall) I'm reading Gravity's Rainbow right now, so it's pretty interesting to see the things he picks out of certain pages. I find that I enjoy it most when I have read a good sized chunk of gravities rainbow and then later look at the corresponding drawings - as opposed to viewing them concurrently.
Oliver
Nov 29, 2007 Oliver rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who love GR
People that like GR often become obsessed with the work. I am one such dude and I rank the novel as my all-time favorite work of fiction. A lot of the pictures in this collection are just sloppy, falling in between abstract impressionism and modern realism but doesn't succeed in honoring the ideals of either art movement. I've looked through all 700+ pictures online several times though and the sheer audacity of this project commands my admiration.
Brian Engelhardt
May 27, 2007 Brian Engelhardt rated it it was amazing
An ambitious project centered around a notoriously difficult novel. There are no words in this book. Cox 'simply' provides an illustration of the happenings on every single page of Thomas Pynchon's novel Gravity's Rainbow. A must have for fans of the novel and/or the artist, this book also stands on it's own merits as a work of art.
Johnnywow
Jan 24, 2008 Johnnywow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Pynchon addicts and artists
An amazing collection of drawings. The idea of illustrating every page of the Pynchon novel is an interesting compulsion. I went back and reread Gravity's Rainbow to sort of cross reference the illustrations.
Troy
Jan 11, 2009 Troy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art
If you like Gravity's Rainbow, Zak Smith, or art, this is the book for you. Smith's take on each page of Gravity's Rainbow is spell-binding. Pull both books out, lay them side by side and compare.
ds white
Jul 14, 2008 ds white rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have the old version before lawers were involve and the title of this book was simply Gravity's Rainbow Illustrated: One Picture for every page. This was a great idea and I praise Zak Smith for putting so much effort into this, it is a quality work.
John
Jan 29, 2015 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the idea of this book much better than I loved the book itself. The task was obviously Herculean, and I commend the artist. I just didn't love the work, I guess. I read it side by side with the novel, as you'd have to.
Misty
Jun 28, 2011 Misty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art
very helpful in visualizing Gravity's Rainbow, but there are plenty of pieces when I couldn't figure out what Smith was trying to represent at all.
William Smith
This is the picture book your very young children look at at the end of the world, while you're reading Gravity's Rainbow and wondering what's next.
Amberle Husbands
This is a completely entertaining companion to Thomas Pynchon's novel, and a great collection just to flip through for the artwork in and of itself. I'm so glad to have this on my shelf, now!
Jon
Feb 22, 2011 Jon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a beautiful companion to Gravity's Rainbow. The illustrations gorgeous on their own, being able to follow (and be reminded of) the narrative is doubly entertaining.
Alex
Aug 14, 2009 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
fantastic idea. not sure it illuminates much of the book - but it's fantastic nonetheless. and from a porn/art star no less.
John
Sep 17, 2007 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who endured gravity's rainbow and want to challenge and enhance their interpretations of it
this book is as simultaneously engaging and ADHD as gravity's rainbow, except that it's all pictures.
Bryan
Nov 09, 2007 Bryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this on a whim. I just liked the pictures. I haven't read any Pynchon, and I don't think I ever will. Seeing the pictures was close as I want to get.
Gordon
Gordon rated it it was amazing
Nov 21, 2011
Jen
Jen rated it really liked it
Jan 18, 2010
R
R rated it it was amazing
Nov 02, 2014
Craig McConnell
Craig McConnell rated it really liked it
Jan 06, 2012
Carl
Carl rated it it was amazing
Aug 12, 2009
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