Gravity’s Rainbow

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers.”

Thomas Pynchon


I’m not really sure what to say about this particular book.

You may remember that a couple of months ago I read and reviewed The Crying of Lot 49, also by Thomas Pynchon, for my English course, and enjoyed it hugely. So I decided to read some more Pynchon (as you do) and hit upon Gravity’s Rainbow in my local Waterstones’.

(That was the day I went out for a pint of milk and came back with three new books.)

First things first: Gravity’s Rainbow is huge. It’s 900 pages long (!) and almost none of it makes any sense. It’s sort of set in the Second World War…and there’s a conspiracy theory to do with the V2 rocket…and people investigating psychicness…and that is, essentially, what I got out of 900 pages. It takes the weirdness and paranoia of The Crying of Lot 49 (which was, by the way, only around 100 pages) and magnifies it by a factor of about a million. There’s absolutely no way you can keep up with everything that’s going on. The word I’m looking for here is “kaleidoscope”. There’s no point trying to find a pattern there, you just have to go with it. As it were.

I’m not entirely sure what I thought of it. There were parts I really enjoyed, but I do think the entire novel needs re-reading, probably several times over. But not right now.

OK, one word to sum up Gravity’s Rainbow: paranoia. All the characters are paranoid, and I was pretty paranoid, too, by the end of it, in case there was some big message I was missing. It’s probably worth reading if you a) have lots of time and b) don’t mind not understanding everything. Otherwise, give it a miss.


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