September 12, 2012

'Gravity's Rainbow'

"Gravity's Rainbow" is bonecrushingly dense, compulsively elaborate, silly, obscene, funny, tragic, pastoral, historical, philosophical, poetic, grindingly dull, inspired, horrific, cold, bloated, beached and blasted."- NY Times Review 

In college I took a class that required us to read at least one big book. I mean a big book in terms of number of pages (think Moby-Dick or War and Peace). For whatever reason I choose Thomas Pynchon's "Gravity's Rainbow". I had always heard good things about Pynchon and that 'Gravity's Rainbow' is a must read.

So I tried 'Gravity's Rainbow" but found myself hating it. For whatever reason I've always hated being required to read books. I didn't want to read 'The Great Gatsby' or 'To Kill A Mockingbird' in high school. I've always hated being told what to read so I choose 'Gravity's Rainbow' to get that project over with in college and never looked back. I didn't enjoy 'Gravity's Rainbow' because I felt forced to read it.

For a few years afterwards I was told I should reread 'Gravity's Rainbow' because I would enjoy it more after not being forced to read it. Well I did reread 'Gravity's Rainbow' and have to admit I fully enjoy it.

'Gravity's Rainbow' is a behemoth of a book that as the NY Times review stated is dull, bloated, and great. It's really a complete package of everything. You emotions will shift dramatically as you read this book.

'Gravity's Rainbow' to me at least is like a playoff of "Dr. Strangelove". The book is about a bomb, theirs a mad German scientist, and paranoia. 'Gravity's Rainbow' though is not as sarcastic like "Dr. Strangelove" and the scare isn't a nuclear bomb but instead are V-2 rockets. But the basic premise of paranoia and fear are both a part of both 'Gravity's Rainbow' and "Dr. Strangelove".

'Gravity's Rainbow' is much more dense than saying it's all about paranoia. The books is about sex, drugs, philosophical subjects, and becomes more dark as the book progresses and less playful. Like I said earlier you're pulled in multiple different directions during the course of this book but nevertheless you'll be highly satisfied after finishing reading it.

If you have the patience to read a long book then I do highly suggest reading 'Gravity's Rainbow'. Be prepared though for a long read that at times can be confusing and frustrating but a satisfying read.


  1. If you wanted to read Pynchon, you should have started with "Mason & Dixon." It's much more approachable and his take on colonial America is hilarious. The scene where Mason & Dixon smoke hemp with George Washington is classic.

    1. He stole that scene from Dazed and Confused!

    2. You might be onto something there.

  2. Once again I'm going to show my age, but I remember reading 'Gravity's Rainbow' in the late 70's. Back then I didn't understand it and truthfully I still don't quite understand it. I have to agree with kt1000 in saying "Mason & Dixon" is much more approachable.

    1. Yeah. I bought "Gravity's Rainbow" at the same time as "Mason & Dixon' (local interest for me)and I still haven't read more than 100 pages of it. Just so difficult to read, and I'm speaking as someone who loves "Moby Dick."

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