Paquita Maria Sanchez's Reviews > Gravity's Rainbow

Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
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Oct 01, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: literature

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. Oh, and you know what else? So. Fucking. What. What Pynchon has created here is like a goddamned kaleidoscope; every time you look in, you're going to see something else. It will give it up and give it up and then beg for some more. All it takes is a minor flip of the wrist and BOOM! An all-new explosion of madness. Oh, come on, I fucking dare you to read this book and not make a single sexual reference while reviewing it. Shiny steel. Roaring rocket. Skat, skat. Boom!

You finish, and you say "Okay. Now that the hard part's over (heh), now I can go back and actually read this thing. You know, after I practice a few more times by reading this thing." The strange bit of all that is it doesn't feel like a cross to bear. I want to read it again. You know, over about a year, sipping it slowly like, I dunno, something fancy that people drink slowly because it's fancy. If Pynchon's not sucking you down a black hole of sonic prose, snake-charming you all woozy with pages upon pages of seriously some of the most gorgeous, sprawling shit you will ever read, then he's grabbing your hand and skipping you along the Land of Oz while feeding you poppers and whippits and champagne, all while conducting a symphony of melancholy deceptively presented as a cheeky musical in your mind with an ensemble cast who are all candy-flipping and drunk. More often than not, he manages as much all at once while also making you laugh so hard, actually out loud, that you get funny looks from strangers and maybe even shoot a little snot from one nostril. Embarrassing. There's no place like Oz, there's no place like Oz, there's no place like Oz...

Two things:

First, a warning. Don't read this in public. You will be reading about shit entering a mouth as you wait in the lobby of an auto shop for your oil to get changed, all while America's Funniest Home Videos plays in the background and an angel-blonde little girl is staring at you blankly while pulling her lower lip into strange shapes; you will be having your blood drawn and turning your ereader* away from the nurse's all-too-nearby eyes because just like when mom and dad came in during the worst scenes of whatever movies you watched as a teen, you are of course reading the part where a case of mistaken identity ends in an oopsy-doopsy orchiectomy, just after the part where that guy was having sex with that prostitute while calling her by racial slurs as she planned her grocery list in her head, eyes dead and distant. High potentiality for awkward moments with snoopy strangers, trust me.

Second thing: About that *, my roommate has finally beat this old purist into submission with an ereader. As my book continued to disintegrate, she took advantage of this opportunity to come out victorious in her long-standing campaign to convert me to digibooks, and downloaded this novel, went to the page I was on, and sat it in my lap. As we were in the middle of a move and my book was in pieces in various boxes in the back of my car for ten days, I couldn't exactly say no. I suppose it's high time that I admit the damned thing is pretty convenient. Dammit. Moving on then, I read from the reader when out of the house, and tore up my hard copy at home. I will continue to graffiti the latter during future re-readings. Here is what is left after a first pass:

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I only hit you because I love you, book. Point being, ignore the haters, and stop being such a sissy. Dive, baby, dive. The water's good. Or do you just hate swimming? And Christmas? And puppies?

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Original "review" so the comment thread will continue to make sense:

My copy is so old and poorly constructed that the glue can't hold the weight, and the pages are falling out like baby teeth as I turn them, so much so that I keep finding myself holding a sheet of paper in my hand like it's parchment in order to read the left side text of the novel. Somehow this strange reading method, the literal breaking apart of the story as I move through it, seems appropriate. Also, the spine itself has fault lines indicating a future separation of the physical book into 4 large chunks, which is even better, really. I should probably buy some duct tape, though, or this could get confusing. The cover says this book cost its original owner 4 dollars and ninety-five cents. Can you even get a kindle short story for that these days?
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 105) (105 new)


message 1: by Szplug (last edited May 12, 2012 11:40AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Szplug At the risk of blowing sufficient sunshine up your butt to turn it into a tropical paradise, I'd like to state for the record that I'm an admiring fan of your genius for the Goodreads gab (and I'll take it as a given that TWSS).


Paquita Maria Sanchez Sunshine! Snark runs in the family. We have to try our best to keep up with one another, or we end up trampled. Having suffered under the wings of not just my smartass mother and father, but my older brother and myself, my younger sister's the quick one on her feet. She's...scary sarcastic. But/and so: hilarious.


Paquita Maria Sanchez Your copy sounds so much cooler than mine! Seriously though, I can't take this thing anywhere. Pages will blow away at the slightest gust of wind.


Paquita Maria Sanchez Bird Brian wrote: "OMFG do it to me!"

She pulls his pants down and says "LOL!"


Paquita Maria Sanchez He's easing her head down...umm, there, and she looks him dead in the eyes and says "CID, baby."


Paquita Maria Sanchez Mariel wrote: "People keep asking Kristen if her Chekov is the bible. You don't want to go leather."

Oh, maybe I should though! Then I could be like "yes, and would you like to hear a passage, my child?" Could be awesome...


message 7: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian Not His Real Name My copy now splits at page 452. This must be entropy at work.


message 8: by Eh?Eh! (new)

Eh?Eh! I remember when new paperbacks were $4.50 and $4.95 and $4.99. Those were the days!


message 9: by Eh?Eh! (new)

Eh?Eh! That was back when gas was $0.98/gal. It was shocking when it got over $1. I feel old.


Paquita Maria Sanchez That's how much it was when I started driving. Yep. Good grief. I also just learned the lesson of how difficult this book is to bathtub read...especially when it is duct/scotch taped. Many near-catastrophes were avoided, thankfully.


message 11: by Eh?Eh! (new)

Eh?Eh! Ahhh, the soothing warmth of the tub combined with the lull of a book. I've dropped a couple books while trying to stay awake. I can't remember what they were! It's been too long since I've bathrub-read.

I do remember when I had books that were too action-packed, I would end up shivering because the water would cool before I was ready to remember I was in the tub for a purpose.


message 12: by Traveller (last edited Jun 16, 2012 01:44PM) (new) - added it

Traveller If you write a 'proper' review later, I'll like it again. :D

EDIT: Not that i don't think this is a proper review, you understand. Just, in case you want to add something once you're done, i meant, that I'll click the like button again.

Teh internetz sometimez tripz mee up. :P


message 13: by Traveller (new) - added it

Traveller Eh?Eh! wrote: "Ahhh, the soothing warmth of the tub combined with the lull of a book. I've dropped a couple books while trying to stay awake. I can't remember what they were! It's been too long since I've bathrub..."

That's the problem with a Kindle. I dare not take the chance of bringing my kindle even close to a tub, not after a friend dreamed i electrocuted myself in the bath with my Kindle.. :(


message 14: by Jane (new)

Jane After ruining a few books and a couple of phones in the bathtub, I would like to think I have learned my lesson. Now I only take my cat in the bathtub and that has only semi-ruined our relationship.


message 15: by Simon (new) - added it

Simon I must at some point attempt to conquer "Gravity's Rainbow". I've actually made it past all of "Against the Day" even though it took me three months to finish.


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

How's it going, P?


Paquita Maria Sanchez It's going. I'm about...halfway in? I just need to get over my annoying habit of reading multiple books at once.


message 18: by Simon (new) - added it

Simon With Pynchon it often feels like you ARE reading multiple books with one of his. (especially "Against the Day")


Paquita Maria Sanchez Mine has now split into five tiny chunks which are individually taped together. It sorta is multiple books!


message 20: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian Not His Real Name That should happen to Cloud Atlas.


Paquita Maria Sanchez Bird Brian wrote: "This line is the stuff of fantasies."

Fan-tastic!


Paquita Maria Sanchez Whippit good?


Rayroy I wish Mexico and Swanlake would of stayed together


Paquita Maria Sanchez "True love is not nice." Especially, ya know, when it's one-sided.


message 25: by Kristen (new)

Kristen What kind of ereader did you get? My family tried to talk me into one for quite some time and I always told them “no, I’m a purest” but then they bought me one anyway for my birthday and it sure is convenient, though I still don’t use it all that often.

I like the whippet reference, Man I used to love that shit when I was a teen, but I feel like we had that conversation before if I remember correctly.


Paquita Maria Sanchez My roommate had a spare Kobo, so I've been using that. Considering I worked at Borders (RIP) for about 4 years, it seems appropriate that I would use "their"
ereader. Also, there's no racket surrounding what you can and cannot put on it like there is with Kindle and their whole "amazon books only" bullshit. It accepts all PDFs and EPUBs, so if one were so inclined, one could potentially download their books for free with a little internet savvy. If one were so inclined.


message 27: by Kristen (new)

Kristen I have the Kindle though I’m still not sure how to use it properly. Last month it just started talking for some reason and only Mariel knew how to make it stop.
Poor Borders, I was sad to see them go, they were based out of Ann Arbor too, btw, I sure scored some awesome deal during their going out of business sale.


Stephen M This review is amazing. It's got me all excited to try to take it down again. Is that a rocket? A banana?

I think you've done Mr. Pynchon justice.


Paquita Maria Sanchez Wait, wasn't this all your idea to begin with? You didn't finish? Dammit, Stephen, read it! Reeeeeaaaad it!


Stephen M I've been hiding in shame.

In my defense, I mentioned a passing interest in reading it, then all the sudden there was a reading group; then all the sudden, I was the administrator; then all the sudden I was telling everyone to join and read it; then all the sudden I'm encouraging other people to finish it even though they were taking breaks. Now everyone's finished it, 'scept me.


message 31: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian Not His Real Name Just make up something beautiful inspired by the book and nobody will know the difference. I get away with it all the time, without even being beautiful.


Paquita Maria Sanchez I thought I was the last.


Paquita Maria Sanchez Ian wrote: "Just make up something beautiful inspired by the book and nobody will know the difference. I get away with it all the time, without even being beautiful."

I think my copy is pretty beautiful. Here's the exterior:

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message 34: by Stephen M (last edited Aug 31, 2012 07:14PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Stephen M I wish I had some of your talents Ian.

And if I ever finish it, which I really really want to, then we can go picket and protest on Scott's comment thread. (In an obnoxiously loud whisper) he didn't finish it either.


Mosca This is certainly the best review of Gravity's Rainbow I have read in 40 years. You have indeed wrestled this monster/masterpiece to the ground, Paquita Maria!

What a review!

Shan beat me to the draw in quoting you, but this is so good it deserves repeating:

"If Pynchon's not sucking you down a black hole of sonic prose, snake-charming you all woozy with pages upon pages of seriously some of the most gorgeous, sprawling shit you will ever read, then he's grabbing your hand and skipping you along the Land of Oz while feeding you poppers and whippits and champagne, all while conducting a symphony of melancholy deceptively presented as a cheeky musical in your mind with an ensemble cast who are all candy-flipping and drunk. "

I takes a mind as manic, gonzoid, and, over-the-top as yours to do Pynchon justice.

Thank you, Paquita Maria, for a roller coaster ride equal to Pynchon.


message 36: by Ian (last edited Aug 31, 2012 07:16PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian Not His Real Name That cover makes me think of PM on the canvas, pinning GR's shoulders to the ground, and John Irving on his knees banging the ground with his hand as he counts down 10, 9, 8...


message 37: by Chloe (new) - added it

Chloe I'm halfway through reading Against the Day and reflecting a lot on my experience of reading this last summer. Though I know they are (and should be) totally different beasts, I can not help trying to draw parallels between them. It's unfair though, because AtD's subject matter strikes closer to my own personal passions whereas I felt like a tourist with Gravity's Rainbow- seeing the sights but not being engrossed in the history. I think all this means is I need to reread it. Probably after Mason & Dixon, but I will definitely be returning to this twisted world.


Paquita Maria Sanchez You guys are just bein' silly. But thanks.

John Irving loves wrestling.


message 39: by Jacob (new) - added it

Jacob Ian wrote: "That cover makes me think of PM on the canvas, pinning GR's shoulders to the ground, and John Irving on his knees banging the ground with his hand as he counts down 10, 9, 8..."

TWSS?


Paquita Maria Sanchez Logan wrote: "I'm halfway through reading Against the Day and reflecting a lot on my experience of reading this last summer. Though I know they are (and should be) totally different beasts, I can not help tryin..."

The only other Pynchon I own is V, but I'm sure the library can help me out. I will be reading more. Oh, definitely.


Paquita Maria Sanchez Jacob wrote: "TWSS?"

OH, DEFINITELY.


message 42: by Ian (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ian Not His Real Name Jacob wrote: "TWSS?"

Haha. Maybe he should be counting "one Mississippi, two Mississippi,..."


Paquita Maria Sanchez Oh, and your comment is highly complimentary, Mosca. I know this is your favorite book, so seriously, thanks for the over-the-top compliment which I won't bore you by dumbing down with self-deprecation. Just know, I [self-deprecation].


message 44: by [deleted user] (new)

this makes me a happy sean!


Paquita Maria Sanchez Sean wrote: "this makes me a happy sean!"

Woo hoooooooooooooo!


Mosca Aw shucks, Ma'am.


s.penkevich Hurrah, you did it! Great grand review at that too! Beyond reading in public, don't read this book on lunch break. Snack Packs pudding is forever ruined for me. Literally eating chocolate pudding during that scene.


Paquita Maria Sanchez s.penkevich wrote: "Snack Packs pudding is forever ruined for me. Literally eating chocolate pudding during that scene."

Ouch, Penky, that's awful shitty. Drumroll!

I've taken to singing "Sea Chanty" when bummed out (or what I have memorized of it, at least). I should hang that (well, those two) page(s) on my wall or something.


s.penkevich Nice! You should put some music down to it too. I've been meaning to turn the train riding song into some old timey Woody Guthery-esk jam


Paquita Maria Sanchez I fucking love the busted on drugs ditty. I read that one 3 or 4 times in a row while pacing and smoking a cigarette in the Austin heat, straight up. Fucking hilarious. HILARIOUS.


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