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Slothrop's father was an unwitting part of the cosmic doublecross. To provide for the boy's future Harvard education, he took cash from the mad German scientist Laszlo Jamf, who performed Pavlovian experiments on the infant Tyrone. Laszlo invented Imipolex G, a new plastic useful in rocket insulation, and conditioned Tyrone's privates to respond to its presence. Now the grown-up Tyrone helplessly senses the Imipolex G in incoming V-2s, and his military superiors are investigating him. Soon he is on the run from legions of bizarre enemies through the phantasmagoric horrors of Germany.
That's just the Imipolex G tip of the shrieking vehicle that is Pynchon's book. It's pretty much impossible to follow a standard plot; one must have faith that each manic episode is connected with the great plot to blow up the world with the ultimate rocket. There is not one story, but a proliferation of characters (Pirate Prentice, Teddy Bloat, Tantivy Mucker-Maffick, Saure Bummer, and more) and events that tantalize the reader with suggestions of vast patterns only just past our comprehension. You will enjoy Pynchon's cartoon inferno far more if you consult Steven Weisenburger's brief companion to the novel, which sorts out Pynchon's blizzard of references to science, history, high culture, and the lowest of jokes. Rest easy: there really is a simple reason why Kekulé von Stradonitz's dream about a serpent biting its tail (which solved the structure of the benzene molecule) belongs in the same novel as the comic-book-hero Plastic Man.
Pynchon doesn't want you to rest easy with solved mysteries, though. Gravity's Rainbow uses beautiful prose to induce an altered state of consciousness, a buzz. It's a trip, and it will last. --Tim Appelo --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
The greatest novel ever written, hands down. I have no idea how a single human being could have written such a thing. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Conan
I found it impossible to connect to this thing, despite the odd gem. It's tough going and not worth it.Published 23 days ago by Bruce Denby
You are a dog lover. According to some fellow dog lovers, there is a local stray dog that has an excellent reputation, so you decide to adopt it as a pet. Read morePublished 28 days ago by dorkboy
Awful. Tiresome, circuitous, tedious, pointless, chaotic, without plot or storyline narrated with all the enthusiasm of a funeral director giving school tours of a crematorium. Read morePublished 1 month ago by M. Soule
Do not get the Penguin Classics Deluxe edition with the black and white cover with the white V2 rocket. There are numerous problems with garbled and cut-off sentences. Read morePublished 1 month ago by C. Davidson
This is a masterpiece! Pynchon should get a Nobel Prize.Published 1 month ago by Timothy James Knab