Gravity's Rainbow

Gravity's Rainbow

Book - 1995
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Winner of the 1973 National Book Award, Gravity's Rainbow is a postmodern epic, a work as exhaustively significant to the second half of the twentieth century as Joyce's Ulysses was to the first. Its sprawling, encyclopedic narrative and penetrating analysis of the impact of technology on society make it an intellectual tour de force.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, 1995.
ISBN: 9780140188592
Characteristics: 760 p. ;,22 cm.


From Library Staff

daymakerdave Nov 22, 2010

Just started reading this one. So far it's complicated and wierd. A little hard to follow so far.

From the critics

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Oct 24, 2020

Recommended from reviews for Cryptonomicon

Aug 10, 2020

If you never pick up this book, never start to read it, fail to finish it, fail to grasp its meaning(s), unable to appreciate its humor, its depth, and its characters.
Well then I can only say, "You never Did. ---The Kenosha Kid"

May 10, 2020

It is near the end of World War II and the Germans have apparently developed a new weapon of unknown capability with the unlikely serial number "0000".

The allies are looking for it, while they analyze the pattern of bombs dropping on London. One pattern they cannot understand is why a bomb consistently falls on a location a few days after US Army Lt. Tyrone Slothrop has sex in that location. Eventually, Lt. Slothrop is sent to Germany to search for this mysterious weapon. On his journeys, he disguises himself as a superhero and as a pig.

"Gravity's Rainbow" by Thomas Pynchon follows Slothrop on his mission to find the bomb. But it does not take us on a straight line through his quest. Pynchon introduces us to hundreds of characters - many tangential or completely irrelevant to the story; and he weaves dozens of subplots - many of which have little to do with the broader narrative.

In between, we a lot of sex happens and a bit of scatology and some incest and a story of a sentient, immortal light bulb. It's often entertaining, but all very confusing.

Many parts of the novel are very well-written - told with humor and satire and emotion. The challenge is tying them together. I trust that Pynchon accomplished this, but he makes it a major challenge for the reader to recognize how he did so. Characters are introduced, then disappear for hundreds of pages, before they reappear.

The book was too long and complex for me to enjoy as a whole. It felt like a mashup of disconnected scenes.

This seems like the kind of novel one needs to read multiple times in order to appreciate. At some point, I may return to it and re-evaluate it; but, its nearly 800-page length and the pile other books awaiting my attention will delay that - maybe forever.

Jan 12, 2019

A sprawling, all-encompassing novel embodying the spirit of America's counterculture, though set entirely in Europe during late World War II and the early postwar period. Difficult to follow on its twisting, turning path through the tortured Western psyche, taking on such complex and varied topics as synthetic chemistry, the history of genocide, and the theology of predestination. Extremely disturbing also, and completely uncensored, with almost every imaginable form of the grotesque thrown at the reader in the course of its four parts, whether physical, psychological, or spiritual. Definitely worth it once you start to read all the way through to the end, as it's only in the final short segment that the novel's characters, themes, and setting come full-circle to produce a reading experience that pays off profoundly for those willing to invest the time and energy to get there.

A masterpiece, probably the ultimate novel of science and technology.

TopBix Aug 23, 2018

Not what I thought, very hard to start and keep going, did not even get to pg 15. Checked it out because of a review that compared it to "Catch 22". Very far from "Catch 22"

Feb 13, 2017

So after I realize it's been a whole five years since I read any sort of novel cover to cover, what book do I decide to read but this dense, absurd, obscene, and somehow engaging work? While Gravity's Rainbow is indeed a difficult book - one that requires you understand the internal logic to its structure and grammar in order to make heads or tails of the matter - but I believe anybody with enough determination and willingness to go along for the ride can admit that there is tremendous literary work to this.

Admittedly, this review comes half way through reading the thing, and I'll be sure to update as I go.

Dec 19, 2016

A wild, almost random book: every second page has a lightning flash of linguistic wizardry, often of preternatural insight, for example, "down the corridor, fuzzy patches of afternoon sun stagger along, full of mortar dust" (p. 466), "partygoers stagger fore and aft, evening clothes decorated with sunbursts of vomit" (p. 498), "...breathing the closing smell of grey weather" (p. 536), "It will be possible, after all, to die in obscurity, without ever having helped a soul: without love, despised, never trusted, never vindicated - to stay down among the Preterite, his poor honour lost, impossible to locate or redeem." (p. 553), "But every true God must be both organizer and destroyer." (p. 101), "I should ... should have ... there are in his history, so many of these unmade moves, so many 'should haves' [...]" (p. 143), and "weeds of paranoia begin to bloom, army-green, among the garden and midday tranquilities." (p. 579).
There are also lots of big ideas addressed: cause and effect (31), history and war (107, 529-30), colonies (321-2), psychology and addiction (354), language (358-9), the German language (397), life and human mutability (548-9), anomie (600-1), and death (736-7).
It also includes the words fuck, shit, cock, cunt, nigger, faggot, and asshole.
It includes scenes of coprophagia (238), sex (199, 453 (an anal rape), 474), bestiality (454), and castration (620).
There is an extraordinary amount of obscenity, both words and scenes. If one can bear the nonsense to get those flashes, its worth reading, but it requires much patience and determination to finish reading it.

Oct 18, 2016

I just checked this book out and Im scared

Sep 08, 2015

I strongly recommend NOT reading this book. Gratuitous, offensive scenarios that changed the way I look at the world for the worse, I won't go into describing here. After about 500 pages the story starts to read like he just gave up any literary structural guidelines he began with. the story finale seems lazy, disorganized, and forced (the first portions are a cakewalk comparatively). What began as a potential Picasso became a garbage dump of words. If you do decide to read, I recommend brushing up on your German. There is a distinct recurrent theme in his books that really seems to indicate he should be in prison or at least flagged for his neighborhood's watch list. I truly feel sorry for his editor and his therapist.

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Mar 13, 2014

Partisan thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


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