Has anyone read "Gravity's Rainbow"?

I have attempted to read Pynchon’s “Gravity’s Rainbow” once but have been unable to “get my head around it”. I even bought the “Commentary”, but I was still confused and disillusioned. . … . . . . .

I don’t like to think that, for now, I am incapable of grasping a piece of laudable Post-Modern American Literature.

How have other forumites found this work?

I have a kindle now and I want to give this book another shot. :mad:

I read it a long time ago, there are so many layered subcultural references it can be hard to get through. I remember enjoying his earlier short novel, “The Crying of Lot 49” a lot more, with its theme of linked subcultures. Gravity’s Rainbow seems to be an archetypal 1960s work, I doubt a new author would be able to get something like that published in today’s market.

Pynchon worked in the aerospace and missile industry in southern California, so there are a lot of references to that, including the title which refers to the parabolic arc of a launched ICBM. Some of his earliest writing was for classified missile industry journals, and I think there were some completist Pynchon collectors who tried to obtain copies of those early (very dry and technical) non-fiction articles and nearly got arrested.

Pynchon is one of those writers who has always avoided the spotlight and rarely gives interviews, like Don DeLillo and J.D. Salinger, which added to his mystique. I remember when he won the National Book Award (or somesuch), he hired the eccentric comedian Professor Irwin Corey to accept on his behalf and I think pretend to be Pynchon. He came out with a noir mystery a few years back but I haven’t read it.

He did show up on “the Simpsons” but he had a paper bag on his head. :smiley:

It’s kind of a bummer to feel that you aren’t bright enough to really understand a book though. :slight_smile:

Don’t look at it that way. Look at it as an opportunity to challenge yourself. If all the books you’re reading are easy and fun, then you’re not making the most of your life of the mind, as far as it relates to books. There’s also the possibility that the book is simply overrated because it’s perceived as impenetrable.

I’ve never read any Pynchon; if I did pick one of his books up it would probably be Mason and Dixon. I did devote one summer to reading Joyce’s Ulysses which was interesting but hardly life-changing. I also got through all of Infinite Jest, one lonely summer that I spent without a television (I think if more people actually finished the book it would diminish its status as one of those worthwhile books by the way). I’m not sure if those books compare to Pynchon but those are some of the white whales I’ve hunted.

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