Erik's Reviews > A Gravity's Rainbow Companion: Sources and Contexts for Pynchon's Novel

A Gravity's Rainbow Companion by Steven Weisenburger
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Jun 26, 2008

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Read in June, 2008

GR companion is a valuable resource for those who have already read GR once or twice. I wouldn't use it the first time through. There are good points about the timescheme of GR and details like April Fool's Day falling on Easter Sunday in 1945, which implies the whole book may be a joke, like Melville's Confidence Man--the work that GR most resembles. The detail work on Pynchon;s sources is of course excellent, but I am not learning as much as I expected about the characters. What would have helped is a kind of Dramatis Personae and a threading of the different plotlines they follow. Perhaps an internet resource has this covered, but it is the central challenge of the novel, which introduces and then drops certain people, sometimes for hundreds of pages. Why are we hearing the story of X or Y or Z, when will we be asked to draw on this knowledge again? Anybody who can make that clear has really cracked this recalcitrant puzzle for good. It's nice to have GR remain mysterious in some ways of course, but if you're thinking of using it with students and discussing it like Ulysses and Moby Dick, then you will need resources like this and possibly a few others.
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