Michael Corrigan

This is a great American Novel, the best since Faulkner's the Sound and the Fury. Do many agree?

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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).
TimB I have read and re-read Gravitys Rainbow every few years for 2 decades. What I love about it is that i read it cover to cover and never get to the end of it. There is more every time. Its a novel i will continue to live with and always find more; beautiful, funny, mysterious.
Helygen Heulwen It's difficult for me to imagine how boring one would have to be to dislike Pynchon.
Michael It's horribly overlong, pretentious, self-indulgent, dripping with bile, snark, and sneer. Badly written, boring, and nowhere near as clever as it thinks it is. If you read this once, you are heroic. If you read it more than once you are wasting time that could be spent on better books.
Phyllis Oh please! This is THE worst book I have ever read. There is no way in hell that this is a great American Novel. And Pynchon laughs his way to the bank and to the church of left-wing political elitists because he very well knows the joke that he has played on those of us who wasted our time with his thoroughly tiresome book. I wish I had read the comments here before I had wasted any money on this book! It is pure unadulterated post-modern nihilism in every bizarre, truly abstract and completely perverse sense. The author has absolutely NOTHING of value to say about anything. Little wonder western society is destroying itself when people and books like this are considered great. Seriously? Great? To trivialize everything in a way that makes light, fun, and disconnectedness from all the soul-scarring pain that betrayal, wounded sexuality, and death bring into the world . . . smacks of a tremendously self-indulgent and extremely pretentious ode to misery and deprivation. In this kind of nihilism, nothing means anything because everything is a joke. And the joke is on those of us who spent time reading this trash. A waste of time that I will never get back.
Scott No offense but I couldn't disagree more. I find the characters in this novel incredibly one-dimensional and shallow, not to mention all of their ridiculous names. I also think the author comes off incredibly pompous and isn't nearly as funny as he thinks he is. The scene where the old guy is eating feces comes to mind - yeah, what a riot that scene was! So intellectual! Pynchon seems to think that just knowing a lot of things about a lot of things and name-dropping them makes for an interesting or poignant novel, but I just don't see it.

Overall one of the worst novels I've ever read and by far the most over-rated. Pynchon is a smart guy though and some of the lines/scenes/paragraphs are brilliant, but for the vast majority of the novel he simply can't get out of his own way or crawl out of his own ass. He has written much better novels than this.
Frank Cascio I enjoyed Gravity much more than Faulkner whom I never seem to be able to finish. So my vote is for Pynchon. I can't get enough of his intelligent absurdness. I also look for books that inspire me to write. If it doesn't I don't waste my time. I am an aspiring writer and inspiration is everything. Reading takes time and life is too short to read anything uninspiring.
Robert McTague Amazing book. Even if you don't like it, it's encyclopedic on a nearly Joycean level, dense, and nearly poetic at times. The prose ranges from lyric and hilarious, to shamelessly lurid, to having a "feel" aesthetic of dark liquid--I'm not kidding. An absolutely impressive work of art and literature.

People saying it's the worst are doing so because of personal taste (irrelevant) or the belief that a if work isn't easily comprehensible (a myth anyway) it's not valuable as art. Utter nonsense.
Randy Rhody No. While it has an American author, there is nothing clearly American about the book except for the central character. Moby Dick, Huckleberry Finn, Great Gatsby, Faulkner: Americans writing about American subjects.

But anyway, define Great American Novel. Is there such a thing? If there is, I think I'm inclined to nominate Suttree by Cormac McCarthy.
Laurance Emory Had to start 3 times but worth it. Stuck in hotel in Nha Trang gave me the time to finally make the plunge. Best book ever full stop. Recall reading one paragraph and going "wow, amazing talent" and then whole book like that. But no Danielle Steele. You have to work a bit at it. Not for everyone, but then how much truly great art does have mass appeal?
Peter I agree. I first read it in, probably 1973 and have read it four times since, the last time about three years ago. I read The Sound and the Fury first sometime in the mid-1970s and then once more a few years later. For me, both of these novels qualify as the Great American Novel. Gravity's Rainbow is my very favorite novel of all time but I think that Mason and Dixon is probably his best.
Morgan I wouldn't call this the best novel ever. This my be only me, but I think Moby-Dick is better than both. Still reading GR though and liking it and I liked SF too.
Anthony Kupec No. It's mostly inscrutable nonsense. I gave up reading this book and I (mostly) never give up on books. Probably a good book to torture and test literature students but not worth the effort if you just want to be entertained.
Zardoz I didn't like either of those books.
Warren Courtney I read the book in the 1970s and just re-read it in 2022.

It is not a great novel, far too much profanity, far too focused on drugs sex and violence.

It is certainly not the "Great American Novel".

"Sound and Fury" is difficult to read but it deals with the failure of some of people of the American South to give up on what they lost when the slaves were emancipated. Far more and American theme than the WWII in Europe, which the American army arrived two years after the start.

However, Moby Dick, The Great Gatsby, are much better American novels. And I would say Catch 22 is a much better book than Gravity's Rainbow, on the same theme, but far more accessible.
Darrell faulkner sucks.. the sound and the fury is terrible.. still have no idea what i read and will never waste my time on him again.. if it is comparable to his book.. i must say it is probably terrible also and i have no desire to read it
ぎゆう Gravity's Rainbow picks its own readers.
Contemplating, patient, self-effacing, mindful, wholesome, meditative, investigating readers may find it to be one of the most rewarding desert-island novel. It's too niche in today's internet-drugged ADHD metamodern world.

What made you compare it with The Sound and the Fury?
What's your idea of 'a great american novel'?

Pynchon wrote, "America was the one place we should not have found" (Mason & Dixon). What of that?
Dan Hell yeah brother
Charles Fleming It is ironic that he places this book in the same category as The Sound and The Fury, because both books are tedious, inscrutable and a complete waste of time.
Zina Agree!!!! Totally!!! This book is amazing.
Craig B. Clearly it's a divisive book and therefore not for everybody.

Maybe if you read it more than once, Mike, it would be a waste of your time. But re-reading or returning to favorite passages is among the best uses of my time.

I think you have to go back further than Faulkner, all the way to Melville, and his (nearly) equally odd, frustrating, obsessively brilliant book.

It seems like all the candidates for "Great American Novel" are tremendously odd and, aside form "The Great Gatsby," not especially welcoming or easy. Fortunately, you don't have to get it all to "get it." That would be virtually impossible anyway.

It's a book that has changed my life. And I can't think of another novel I can say that of. I don't expect that to be everyone's experience--that's why they're called opinions--but is certainly was/is mine.
Gurami I would agree. Yes.
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