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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.
Gravity's Rainbow is one of Pynchon's least accessible novels. It is brilliant, at times, eccentric always. If Pynchon were a painter we would call him Dali. Read morePublished 5 days ago by jack harter
I read a lot of books, and have been for a long time.
This is the worst book I've ever read.
Technically, that's a lie. Read more
He must have been paid by the word. Ramblings of a crazed mind do not good literature make. Read if you have trouble sleeping.Published 25 days ago by leslie hilton
A surreal poem at book length. larded with wonderful details from London in 1944. If you'd rather listen, George Guidall's beautiful reading (on 30 discs) is a marvellous way to... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Roland L. Berns
One of the most amazing books I have ever read. Had to read several hundred pages over again, two and three times. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Thomas
Hard to review something so expansive and humorous and semi-plotless and random and beautiful and sometimes just downright disgusting. Makes Ulysses feel like reading Dickens. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Roger Valade
Love this story, but the CDs are glitchy, skipping and such. Returned first set, second set are defective as well. Sad. Penguin, pull your head out!Published 1 month ago by Cha siu baau