Editorial Review - Kirkus - Jane Doe

Between V., Pynchon's maverick if disorderly first novel, and Gravity's Rainbow, which is still more unstrung and far denser while lacking the narrative encroachment of the earlier book, there is even a direct line of extension. Very literally — it is a third longer than the original's 500 pages; but where V. was only death-directed, this seems almost death-obsessed and annihilation (from the V ... Read full review

User reviews

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Penned by a man who is much smarter than I will ever be, the author is nevertheless guilty of abusing his audience. He dangles a carrot by throwing in the occasional lucid passage only to kick us in the nuts with childish bathroom humor or some lurid sexual depravity as he lowers his intellect to the level of the common man. His 70's style repeated attempts to shock the reader with his artfully constructed outlandish, vulgar scenes didn't work for me. I'm no prude, but it all becomes tiresome and boring as the pages turn. Doesn't matter how masterful a wordsmith is at commenting on the phallic shape of a rocket, or comparing a rocket's trajectory and resulting explosion to the stages of erection and ejaculation, it just makes him look like a dick head after awhile.
If you feel the need to get through Gravity's Rainbow to round out your literati intellect, or simply to check off an item on your bucket list, then have at it. You might get something out of it (just hard to tell what). If you are looking for a good read, then move on. The essence of this book can be summed up entirely with this one sentence found on page 712, "The Man has a branch office in each of our brains, his corporate emblem is a white albatross, each local rep has a cover known as Ego, and their mission in this world is Bad Sh!t."

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An American Book of the Dead, how to exist under the shadow of the Rocket.

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Yeah, it's like that. But what's behind it?

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A lot of pretentious postmodernist nihilistic rubbish.Just because it's hard to understand doesn't give it depth.Be taken in by the good reviews if you want to be another sophisticate.The book is trash and it stands as a good representation of modern day degenerate bourgeois culture.

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Gravity's Rainbow is a book you either love or hate, and if you hate it it's probably because you couldn't finish the damn thing. Though by no means impenetrable, the novel is daunting enough to merit a list of tips for those wishing to tackle it for the first time. Below is my advice on how new readers can get over the hump. Trust me, it's a small hump, and the masterpiece that lies on the other side is worth the effort.
1. Read V first... Pynchon's V is shorter and more accessible than Gravity's Rainbow, but addresses the same themes in a similar style. If you enjoyed V, you will have built up a reserve of goodwill for Pynchon that will carry you through the initial rough patches of Gravity's Rainbow. This advice was given to me years ago, and I'm glad I took it.
2. Accept that you won't understand everything...Don't be concerned if you can't follow the many digressions or keep track of every minor character that pops up. As with other famously difficult novels, Gravity's Rainbow's real payoff comes in the rereading, so you shouldn't feel obliged to linger over each passage until it makes sense. Pynchon isn't trying to lord it over you by writing a book this dense; it's just his way of giving you your money's worth. Just follow what you can the first time through, which fortunately is a lot.
3. Accentuate the accessible...Gravity's Rainbow's unreadability is over-hyped. Yes, there are many jarring digressions, but threading through them is a fairly conventional detective story. Sure there are lyrical passages that take off for the stratosphere, but they are grace notes in a melody of otherwise breezy narrative prose. So on your first time through, it's enough to follow the main plot (will Slothrop find the mysterious Rocket 00000?) and enjoy Pynchon's jokes, which are laugh-out-loud funny.
4. Don't give up too early...I don't want to say that Gravity's Rainbow gets off to a slow start, but it has a lot of scene-setting to do, and the engine that really drives the book along only gets revved up in part 2. Part 1 is a well-executed minor key portrait of wartime London, but part 2 is where the drugs kick in, so stick with the novel at least that far.

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Along with Dos Passos' "USA", one of the greatest American novels of all time. Very like a "Moby Dick" in stature, scope and permanence of vision. One of my all time favorite novels. Easily the equal of "Ulysses."

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Worth the effort to read.

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Painfully over-wordy, this book reads more like a final project for a Lit degree than something written by an author who's comfortable in his own skin. Other people with Lit degrees will love this book and rave endlessly about it's high-brow graces. The rest of the world should avoid having to suffer through the author's indulgence in his own vocabulary and love of the comma, necessary or otherwise. 

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DavidCLDriedger - LibraryThing

Bowed out half way, hit a point of diminishing returns. Read full review

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All reviews - 75
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All reviews - 75
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