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Pictures Showing What Happens on Each Page of Thomas Pynchon's Novel Gravity's Rainbow Paperback – December 30, 2006
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More About the Author
Zak Smith's books include Pictures Of Girls and Pictures Showing What Happens on Each Page of Thomas Pynchon's Novel Gravity's Rainbow (Tin House Books), and the forthcoming We Did Porn. He is a frequent contributor to several independent comics and zines, including Paping and See How Pretty, See How Smart. He lives in Los Angeles, where he works as an artist and performs in adult films.
Top Customer Reviews
Yesterday, my wife took the boys to a bookstore, and 7 1/2 year old Zach saw Zak Smith's book based on Pynchon's "Gravity's Rainbow". He could not, would not put it down; he was mesmerized. He's not one to want, want, want, but this, he had to have. He looked at various and sundry art-related books for at least a half hour, and kept coming back to this book. Which was $40. After much discussion and pondering, Zach was resolute: My wife had a $16 credit at the store which she let him use and he kicked in $20 of his $27 to get the book. The point is, he gave up his Gameboy money for an art book. A big deal. He said "You know how interested I am in art, Mom!"
I've read a bit of Pynchon ("Vineland") but when I've leafed through "Granvity's Rainbow" in the past, I've thought it challenging, circular, dense. Very much like, though not so much as, the uber-interpretive "Finegan's Wake" by James Joyce (referenced, coincidentally, by Zak Smith's book). So at once I was impressed; thumbing through Zach's Zak book, even more so. It IS mesmerizing; page after page of fascinating, provoking, stirring beauty. You can get lost in there.
Not only do I now have a renewed vigor to tackle "Gravity's Rainbow", but am inspired to have (with Zach's permission) Zak Smith's profoundly astonishing book along for the cerebral roller coaster, a benevolent guide to provide dazzling clues as I navigate the former's intellectually demanding jungle.
Whether $26.37 or $39.95, worth every penny...
After a few false starts I finally read Gravity's Rainbow from start to finish over the summer and well- it's weird. It's an exercise in maximalism to the highest degree that rides on a wave of zany humor and so many references (and cross references) that it's necessary to admit one's ignorance in reading the thing. You won't understand it unless you have a guide and while I think this is a questionable move in terms of fiction, it certainly makes for material worth interpreting.
What Smith did was was take Pynchon's work and avoid symbolism by making literal illustrations from lines within the text (which he states in the preface). A literal interpretation of Pynchon is bizarre enough in and of itself, but Zak Smith is also a damn good artist with a bunch of talent *and* a very serious approach to visual art which stems out of his work ethic. These factors all make the book an interesting standalone collection of drawings- and paired with the text it makes for completely deserving turn down the path of Pynchon's magnum opus.
Also, in the forums, someone asked what edition of Gr this book lines up with. It lines up with any edition of GR that has the same number of pages (760).
Now I want to read it again, this time with Zak Smith's illustrations. I can see myself sitting there, page by page, and turning each book in synchronicity. In the meantime, thumbing through the illustrations, picking out ones I like, trying to remember what was going in in GR... it's rare that a volume can give such pleasure over and over.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's an ambitious concept, but the title is misleading. If Smith's intent is to "show what happens on each page" of Gravity's Rainbow, it only succeeds sporadically. Read morePublished 5 months ago by JJSR
I became familiar with Zak's work through D&D - and this really piqued my interest. Consider my interest well rewarded. This is a masterwork in a lot of ways. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Porter Woodward
Art is a matter of taste, but this is just plain bad. Skip it and buy a good art book.Published 22 months ago by SCOTT MOBERLY
It will require more intensive study to offer a proper review. But this is a highly idiosyncratic volume keyed in (I'm not sure how yet) to one of the more important ur-novels of... Read morePublished on January 30, 2014 by Jahana
This book is the perfect aid to those reading "Gravity's Rainbow"! I've read "Gravity's Rainbow" at least four times and its always got something new and shocking! LOVE the book.Published on November 15, 2012 by Sherrill A. Smith
Sorry to burst everyone's bubble (I haven't seen many reviews with this high an average, truth be told), but: there's no evidence whatsoever -- despite the convenient "title" --... Read morePublished on September 30, 2011 by Smiley McGrouchpants