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Gravity's Rainbow

Gravity's Rainbow

4.6 52
by Thomas Pynchon

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
These six very different titles are the latest crop of Penguin's redesigned "Classics Deluxe Editions" Each volume features kick-ass covers drawn by some of today's top graphic artists, including Frank Miller, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Thomas Ott, Chester Brown, and Tomer Hanuka, with introductions by the likes of Jonathan Lethem and Doris Lessing. Note that the de Sade cover features some nudity and the Lawrence graphics include comics using the F-word and depicting sex acts, so proceed with caution (you'll laugh, but some of your patrons may not). Nonetheless, all beauties. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Charles McGrath
Thomas Pynchon's novel is one of the longest, darkest, most difficult and most ambitious books in years....Gravity's Rainbow is bone-crushingly dense, compulsively elaborate, silly, obscence, funny, tragic, poetic, dull, inspired, horrific, cold and blasted. -- The New York Times Books of the Century
Christopher Lehmann-Haupt
Fantastic!...Fantistically large, complex, funny, perplexing, daring, and weird...if I were banished to the moon tomorrow, and could take any five books along, this has to be one of them. -- The New York Times

Product Details

Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 5.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Pynchon is the author of V., The Crying of Lot 49Gravity’s RainbowSlow Learner, a collection of short stories, VinelandMason & DixonAgainst the Day, Inherent Vice, and Bleeding Edge. He received the National Book Award for Gravity’s Rainbow in 1974.

Brief Biography

New York, New York
Date of Birth:
May 8, 1937
Place of Birth:
Glen Cove, Long Island, New York
B. A., Cornell University, 1958

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Gravity's Rainbow 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 52 reviews.
fattrucker More than 1 year ago
Bought this book in paperback back in the seventies, back when I was all into Phillip K Dick and Hunter Thompson. It's Catch 22 on acid. I've read it through twice with added ocassional visits over the years. It's a peek behind the curtain of the post WW2 world order, but it's the zany cast of characters with their hilarious names that sticks with you over the years. There is just one bizarre scene after another, after another. It would make the most fantastic mini series if only Pynchon weren't such a curmudgeon. You can pick it up and start on virtually any page. It's the perfect "desert island" book. You can finish it, BUT you'll never be quite finished WITH it. It's difficult to get into, impossible to get out. It's so much more readable than "Finnegan's Wake". Pynchon is the anti Ayn Rand. You'll never look at a multinational corporation in quite the same way again. They don't write them like this anymore. It's wicked fun. It's a challenge. Imagine how smug you'll feel. Not for the lazy or the slow witted.
dsddd More than 1 year ago
Though this award winning book (national book award) is certainly one of the best novels any American has ever written, it is also, for novice readers, one of the most difficult (although equally rewarding) journeys you will take reading. The plot (if you want to call it that) spits in and out of realities and un-realities; unexplained or over-explained plot threads arrive without warning and can fade away just as fast; there are a multitude of different multi-faceted characters; and so many references and factoids that you simply will not get -but that is the point. It is controlled chaos this book, it is as if while you read, if you plow through it, the kaleidoscopic images are printed directly onto your brain, and they will stay there with you forever... it is also wildly funny and witty most of the time, and smart and sick and sophisticated, it is weird and terrifying; and the prose of Pynchon, with its paranoid exasperated tones, and wry sadistic hilarity, are constructed so beautifully and originally and expertly, you may find yourself going back and reading passages over and over for the sheer weight of them; Pynchon's words have this mass to them, this heavy multi-layered quality, an indefinable richness... Be patient with Gravity's Rainbow and stay the course, you'll come out of the missile blown haze a changed person, like with any canonical work... This is certainly a candidate for "the Great American Novel" on that short list with Moby-Dick, The Scarlet Letter, Blood Meridian, As I Lay Dying, The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye, Huck Finn, maybe some others...
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked up GR in preparation for a 20-hour journey from Minneapolis to Hong Kong. Shy of digging a hole and rationing meals to every 100-page mark, there really is no better way to commit yourself to Pynchon. In a pinch, I'd call him a sloppy genius. In a 780-page oeuvre, I'd borrow from his synesthetic narrative some image, discrete and cyclical, some paradox, afterthought and, at once, summing of all existential questions. The book is heavy and dense, literally. Pynchon's themes will at first seem disparate- his scope and style lend themselves to a chaotic appearance- but as you pass milestones in GR and (please, please, please) revisit notable passages, you'll come to see that he leaves no loose ends. He casts no character, no idea, no symbol by the wayside, surely not for good. GR seems to me like poetry written in blank verse. That verse just happens to come in torrential blocks, and to drain the better part of its reader's will power. The novel tackles huge ideas in abstraction. It's insufferably dense, tedious, and self-indulgent, but, in the end, the gems you'll have to cherish will more than justify the effort of slogging through.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of those books that I enjoy reading, partly for the challenge of it. Each time I come back to different parts of it, I think understand a little more of what the author was getting at. Even without that, the book is enjoyable for the quality of the writing, the humor and the weirdness.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When reading gravity's rainbow, dont try to understand it. Just don't. The plot is tough to follow and many loose ends never come together, while meaningless scenarios and characters drift in and out constantly. I am sure there is a meaning to it all but unless you are studying it for school(god help you), don't try to understand it. Just enjoy Pynchons amazing writing style. The scenes he describes can be hilarious or disgusting and sometimes he will just break out into song or a movie script. It is fantastic just excellent. Of course i intend to read it again and try to comprehend it, but to the first time reader...just accept it as it is. You shouldn't be dissapointed
Guest More than 1 year ago
Thomas Pynchon has created perhaps the greatest novel in American history. His vivid, surreal portrayals of Europe and WWII give the reader a sense of adventure as well as confusion. His darkly comic tone serves to draw the reader away from conventional literature and toward a new era of chaotic writing, where the seemingly infinite amount of characters all come together in a gratifying sense of accomplishment as the reader explores. We owe it to Thomas Pynchon for giving this incredibly large, witty, and most of all original piece of literature, for it instills a sense of phantasmagoria in us.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What is most amazing and perplexing about the finess and ease Pynchon masterfully writes with is the fact that the book appeals on many different levels. It is his blend of the epoch of intelectualism with the popular culture that is so enthralling to read. If you have just heard about pynchon lately or of his opus, Gravity's Rainbow I suggest acclimating yourself by reading some of his short stories, V, or Crying of Lot 49. I am 15 and discovered Pynchon first in the form of Vineland.If you look at the other reviews around mine, you might see a plethora of different reactions. Great literature( Gravity's Rainbow included)should provoke a range of reactions. From violently throwing the book aside, to conversly, enjoying it ceaselessly and becoming a life long fan.
Guest More than 1 year ago
...but I made it to around page 400 of this book. Not that it was bad. Some parts of it were genuinely interesting, entertaining and amusing. But this is the sort of book that's so incredibly dense with hidden meanings and elaborate word games that most of us will never understand it. It is a task for a higher intelligence than mine to make sense of this gargantuan macrocosm. I'd recommend it to fierce literary warriors who enjoy punishment.
puzzleman More than 1 year ago
This is not unreadable because of foul language. It is not unreadable because of disgusting imagery. It is unreadable, because it is incomprehensible. 35 pages. Looking at over 700 more! No way, my friend! So this fella gets a hard-on when he sees or nears a V rocket! Really? So many books, so little time. Not enough time to waste on this labyrinth. If you like James Joyce, go for it!
Bibliosophical More than 1 year ago
I ordered this book for a project I'm doing on postmodernism and I have not been disappointed. This book is funny, exciting, confusing (as with any postmodern piece really), and fantastic. I highly recommend it for any fan of postmodernism.
Guest More than 1 year ago
From the beginning one is drawn in to the story's world mystified at first, then laughing, then intent, then baffled, and from there, in a word - awed. And don't be misled - the book is extremely enjoyable and readable. Only if one were to take it seriously would it wear on one's brain. Gravity's Rainbow would have found little favor with Plato, and I don't think it would be on many religious study groups' recommended reading lists. There is much in it which offends and disappoints, so much depravity, so much truth, normally tucked away neatly hidden in our subconsciouses - but Mr. Pynchon is completely unabashed about bringing it to the surface. That he can and does put it into words is what amazed me while reading the book. Gravity's Rainbow, story and all, is more a macrocosmos than a story, a macrocosmos which the author magnifies, sometimes randomly it seems, offering mad glimpses both into beautiful things we would be glad to linger on, and disturbing things we are socially indoctrinated to shy away from. I don't think the purpose of the story is to tell a story so much as to portray the world - it just happens that the figures of Tyrone Slothrop and company provide the best medium. This complex, mystifying world is viewed from a million different angles, explained a million different ways, experienced, understood, comprehended, rightly or wrongly according to theories and feelings which may be ages old, forgotten, current, disgusting, racist, inclusive, ordinary, bizarre, and incomprehensible; remarkably, there is sense to it, but it is naturally impossible to follow at times, like trying to understand or explain the world. People can sometimes deal with their own worlds, but if they were to begin receiving simultaneous sensory input from another's sensory organs besides just their own, they would begin to see just how hard it can be to keep track of things, and respect Thomas Pynchon all the more for what he is able to do with his writing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
895 pages, first of all !!! Foul language and R rated graphic content...beware...plus writig style is not totally coherent, making reading difficult...good luck!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the nexus of modernity
aidanw-m More than 1 year ago
playing a prominent role in virtually every article on 'difficult' literature, pynchon's cult status has elevated this excellent novel to a divisive modern classic, but don't be intimidated by those touting this as the dense, impenetrable successor to joyce on either side of the alley. where pynchon's writing shines is his rhythm, juxtaposing potent insight with outrageous fun, beautiful prose with intermittent song parodies, complex characters with ridiculous situations & outlandish puns. have faith in yourself as a reader, & this will be just as fun to read as it is intelligent.
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CaptainBill More than 1 year ago
The Nook edition is my fourth copy of Gravity's Rainbow; I have read the novel more twenty times and have had to replace copies because of sheer wear. Whilst requiring a good deal of concentration and some eclectic knowledge base, the ability of a reader to research on the internet such things as foreign phrases, name origins (and meanings!), and historical references actually makes the work more accessible than it was when it was first written.
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