DiS Big Book Club: Gravity's Rainbow 🚀🌈

I LIKE BIG BOOKS AND I CANNOT LIE

Following on from successful (?) projects to cajole each other through War & Peace and Moby Dick (thanks to @AQOS and @ericVII respectively), I wondered if there’d be any appetite to tackle Thomas Pynchon’s epic Gravity’s Rainbow?

Not in a huge rush to get it started but it might be something meaty to get stuck into over winter. We’ll laugh, we’ll cry, we’ll overuse the phrase “sheer holistic beauty”.

Anyone interested?

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i’ve read it once and there’s no chance i could handle doing it again but i wish you well!

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Is it… good?

similar to moby dick when i finished i was like ‘actually, yes, that was amazing’ but that isn’t to say there weren’t several points where i threw the fucking thing across the room out of frustration.

parts of it are beautiful, surreal and mindblowing. parts of it are poo jokes for 10 pages.

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maybe.

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I read it again fairly recently so probably won’t join in, but I can leave a few nice links for you guys and I’ll check in on this bc Pynchon is the absolute boi and I like the book a lot

TheBookChemist did a little reading thing of it, with little videos after specific waypoints (there’s a playlist in the video description) which I really enjoyed during my last read-through of’t

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oh god, managed to struggle through 100 pages over a summer a few years ago, and then have never gone back to it. There was just so much damn stuff going on

This might be really good/useful actually - it’s high on my to-read list, and i’ve got a little better at reading big books now so … screw it, I’m in

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somewhat similar to what @alex.krycek said. It’s probably Pynchon’s most experimental novel and I say that to stress that some of the experiments straight up don’t work. There are stretches of stream-of-conscious that make absolutely fuck-all sense, but that are redeemed by other stream-of-consciousness bits where you absolutely get what he’s trying to do and it’s genuinely like nothing else.

And between the tough bits you’re rewarded with a dizzying array of surreal moments, meditations on war, a quite ahead-of-its-time (for a white American author, I guess?) on imperialism, goofy comedy bits (your mileage may vary), and some stretches where it’s essentially a page-turning thriller. I think I read someone somewhere saying it takes the modernist aim to reflect inner life and somehow expands that remit to the entire world in the immediate post-WW2 period

also I really did love Lot 49 so I’m sure once I get into GR I’ll find a lot to enjoy

I found GR a bit easier than Lot 49 on my first go. The length kind of gives the madness a bit more time to breathe.

I recommend anyone who has the time to do so (i.e. literally no-one) read V. before GR. You don’t have to (I didn’t), but I think it sets you up well for what to expect and there are a few crossovers in there too.

I enjoyed Lot 49 when I read it years back, was thinking of re-reading it first as a warm-up.

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I’ve had a copy of this on my shelf for about… twenty years? Could do with a prod to actually open it. I’m IN.

What’s it about?

Gave up after 100 pages. It’s not bad exactly, it’s just not a great deal of fun to read.

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Get the tissues ready for after!

If anyone wants to take part and wants a copy, I have a (dusty) copy. Only read like 30 pages but found it too much, happy to send it on to anyone

i found the first 100 pages or so to be the easy bit with some semblance of a narrative you could follow. later on it gets… less so.

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Promising…

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Sex and missiles.

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