so i started gravity's rainbow the other day

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when does this book go completely haywire? i'm 50pgs in and so far no trouble but from what i've heard it starts getting messier and messier the further you trudge as characters and subplots multiply.

how long do i have, doctors? and other related questions.

John (jdahlem), Tuesday, 4 January 2005 20:37 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

If you're Anthony Burgess or Harold Bloom, you'll be done by Thursday evening/Friday morning. If you're a normal person, fasten your seatbelt, you're in for a bumpy read.

Ken L (Ken L), Tuesday, 4 January 2005 21:27 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

what's he on about enzian being yellow and blue god dammit??

John (jdahlem), Thursday, 6 January 2005 01:54 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

you're a better man than me, john. those same first 50 pages have defeated me more times than i care to remember. i keep thinking i'll try it again, but i read five pages and it feels like i'm running a high fever.

David Elinsky (David Elinsky), Thursday, 6 January 2005 03:29 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

It starts badly and gets worse. It ends appallingly.

I think it is very hard also. It took me c. 2 years to read. Wasted years? Maybe.

It is queer the number of people who talk about stopping at the bananas.

the bellefox, Thursday, 6 January 2005 11:38 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i stopped not long after bananas - it's a giant headache imo. i finished Mason & Dixon tho - not quite 3 wasted months but i got very little out of it. i suppose i just dont have the level of intellect to decipher that stuff.

jed_ (jed), Thursday, 6 January 2005 17:27 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

OK. I will explain my theory of Thomas Pynchon's appeal. I like to read literature but I also know a little something about math and science. I think that people who are scientist types like it because they get to be reading literature and literature types like it because they get to be reading science- it's got that crossover appeal. For myself, I'll skip it- I'd rather read a novel written by practically anyone else with one hand and an undergrad textbook with the other.

Ken L (Ken L), Thursday, 6 January 2005 18:17 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I've just finished re-reading Mason and Dixon. My reaction to reading it first time around was similar to my reaction to Gravity's Rainbow; mild bewilderment. Second time around though, I loved it. So perhaps GR's due a re-read, also.

Matt (Matt), Thursday, 6 January 2005 18:41 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

xpost to me:
I just outed myself as a bigger geek than Pynchon. Truth be told, I did used to use those same green rectangular-ruled engineer's pads to do homework that he allegedly wrote GR (or maybe V?) on.

Ken L (Ken L), Thursday, 6 January 2005 19:10 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

it starts terrifically bellefox!!!@!!! defend yrself! i also thought the first 5 pages were very easy...at least relatively so. my theory abt why this hasn't been too difficult for me yet fingers crossed: i typically read books vv slowly and i'm more of a style person than a plot person: if the style doesn't captivate my mind wanders and it takes me forever to read the simplest books if the plot isn't vv tight. gr is difficult and beautiful and refreshing so i'm enraptured by the words and phrases themselves, nm the bollocks, and the rest comes naturally.

i've never read any postmodern lit (except lot 49 before this) because i hate it in theory, it's not my fave and i'm certain this won't be my fave either but it is fun as a lark, even an exteremely extended one. plus many wonderful discoveries await if you have patience, like the bit about the dodoes...

sorry im typing like this, i don't usually i don't think but...lots of caffiene.

John (jdahlem), Thursday, 6 January 2005 19:14 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

ok i just wanted to share this w/ you guys:

where i stopped last [this] night [morning]: (slothrop has just bumbed into an old female companion in the street and is going up to her landlady's)

Mrs. Quoad's is up three dark flights, with the dome of faraway St. Paul's out its kitchen window visible in the smoke of certain afternoons, and the lady herself tiny in a rose plush chair in the sitting-room by the wireless, listening to Primo Scala's Accordion Band. She looks healthy enough. On the table, though, is her crumpled chiffon handkerchief: feathered blots of blood in and out the convolutions like a floral pattern.


and where i picked up this morning [afternoon]:

"You were here when I had that horrid quotidian ague," she recalls Slothrop, "the day we brewed the wormwood tea," sure enough, the very taste now, rising through his shoe-soles, taking him along. They're reassembling . . . it must be outside his memory . . . cool clean interior, girl and woman, independent of his shorthand of stars . . . so many fading-faced girls, windy canalsides, bed-sitters, bus-stop good-bys, how can he be expected to remember? but this room has gone on carifying: part of whoever he was inside has kindly remained, stored quiescent these months outside his head, distributed throygh all the grainy shadows, the grease-hazy jars of herbs, candies, spices; all the Compton Mackenzie novels on the shelf, glassy ambrotypes of her late husband Austin night-dusted inside gilded frams up on the mantel where last time Michaelmas daisies greeted and razzled from a little Sevres vase she and Austin found together one Saturday long ago in a Wardour Street shop. . . .


well that's fantastic, isn't it? and it isn't why isn't it???

John (jdahlem), Thursday, 6 January 2005 19:47 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

oh another thing is i tend to read in 5-10 page blocks and then take a breather, i think that helps w/ something as trying as GR.

that passage above is followed by a literally LOL scene where slothrop is gorged by each with the most unspeakably vile candies known to man. yeah this book is pretty genius and i am SO sorry about all the typos there...nevermind i guess but it is a typically great paragraph, trust me.

John (jdahlem), Thursday, 6 January 2005 20:45 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"in the smoke of certain afternoons"
See this is where I get stuck right here. I start thinking: What smoke, from what, a stove, a bonfire? If so, why certain afternoons, maybe they burn garbage in the middle of town on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Or does he mean mist? Doesn't mist come in the morning and get evaporated by the sun? I guess if I hurt my brain I think I can remember that maybe it comes when it cools off in the afternoon.

With almost any other writer there is, I can suppress this kind of idiotic neurotic questioning, but Tommy P gets me fired up every time.

Ken L (Ken L), Thursday, 6 January 2005 22:25 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

the very taste now, rising through his shoe-soles,
and how can taste rise through your shoe soles? The lowest place I think it can rise from is your gut. I mean, poetic license is fine, but please.

Ken L (Ken L), Thursday, 6 January 2005 22:26 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"TAKING HIM ALONG"

i'm sorry i'm way too fucked up to discuss this right now but have you ever read any ts eliot? i promise to talk more later.

John (jdahlem), Thursday, 6 January 2005 22:37 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

OK, now I know what smoke.

Ken L (Ken L), Thursday, 6 January 2005 23:08 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Overdoing the Hate, C/D?

Ken L (Ken L), Friday, 7 January 2005 03:34 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

just read the great interior-pointsman chapter (circa p140) and it occurred to me i'm not actually sure what the _point_ of his dog experiments was...what was he trying to get out of them?

John (jdahlem), Saturday, 8 January 2005 19:45 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

You will find out as Slothrop's special ability becomes more obvious. Stick with this novel. You sound well-suited for it. The style's the thing, really, in the same way it is with Ulysses. Once you surrender yourself to the lushness of the language it's like being a child again learning to speak. At least it was for me. And to answer your original question, though it no longer needs answering, I suspect, around page 200, when Slothrop's at the Frnech beach with his girl and his tutor, that's when it began to come together for me. It all unravels toward the end--wait till Benny the Bulb!--but by then I suspect you'll be so far into it that won't matter.

Post-modern lit in general yes is obnoxious but do not discount Donald Barthelme or early John Barth (through Chimera) if you are enjoying Gravity's Rainbow this much.

There's one other thing I just remembered about the style/plot split. The National Book Award selection committee chose Gravity's Rainbow under some kind of protest about its supposed unreadability. Pynchon sent a clown to accept the award.

anonymous poster, Sunday, 9 January 2005 01:35 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i'm also loving the zinnish history "at best a colnspiracy, not always among gentlemenm, to defraud" + "terrible structure behind the apperances of diversity and enterprise" + "what is the real nature of control?" etc in leni's (intro/only?) chapter (why couldn't he just number the fucking things?). i hope there's a lot more of that, yes i do.

John (jdahlem), Sunday, 9 January 2005 02:25 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Do me a favor (or not--it's kind of annoying) and pay attention to the transitions between the sections to see if they're at all dreamlike, ie the very end of one twists into the very beginning of the next cartoonishly. I remember having that impression while reading it and since have been unable to go back and verify.

anonymous poster, Sunday, 9 January 2005 02:38 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

that passage above is followed by a literally LOL scene where slothrop is gorged by each with the most unspeakably vile candies known to man

That and the banana nausea thing early on were the two bits I enjoyed.

Casuistry (Chris P), Sunday, 9 January 2005 04:18 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Thanks, John, for typing bits out, with enthusiasm.

I think it may be slightly unhelpful to talk about GR as PoMo lit. I guess I would call it post-Beat, post-hippy, post-'permissive-age' / The 1960s / whatever US Romantic espionage fiction. But possibly for some that means PoMo.

The scene with Slothrop and the English girl I found offensive, or at least annoying. I have said often before, and seem to be saying again: the book is oversexed, sexually obsessed, crammed with promiscuity and rampant (male) infidelity, to an extent that to me was odious.

the bellefox, Monday, 10 January 2005 14:25 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

the shiteating ALMOST made me puke

John (jdahlem), Thursday, 13 January 2005 16:13 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Oh right, and then Trainspotting. I forgot about that.

Casuistry (Chris P), Thursday, 13 January 2005 18:41 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

yes, but not quite so much.

i haven't read this, at all, over the past three days. but tonight i will probably read some.

John (jdahlem), Sunday, 16 January 2005 21:16 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I was just thinking of starting this book, which is why I wandered over to ILB. And there's a thread. Any more tips before I get started here?

mcd (mcd), Thursday, 20 January 2005 19:59 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

my only tip wd be don't buy the companion. i did and i haven't opened it yet, for real. 20 bucks down the drain. not that i won't eventually but...just don't.

John (jdahlem), Thursday, 20 January 2005 20:14 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

That's good advice, I was going to buy that. Figured it might help me through the more esoteric parts.

mcd (mcd), Thursday, 20 January 2005 20:32 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

don't forget your hazmat suit and protective eyewear.

esotericness wasn't what got me, rather the bloated boringness. my eyes glazed over at the banana roll-call, and i skipped and skimmed around for several years running.

lauren (laurenp), Friday, 21 January 2005 14:40 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I'm almost going into it with the idea that it may take years. Which is probably stupid, it's like admitting failure before trying. I should be doing push-ups and getting all courageous, positive and optimistic. This impending snow storm is gonna make some reading time: perfect.

mcd (mcd), Friday, 21 January 2005 15:05 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i read the first 200 pages in like 2 days and over the past, i dunno, since whenever i started this thread i've read about a hundred. but then it's been kind of an odd time.

John (jdahlem), Friday, 21 January 2005 18:40 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

It is odd when people (John, JtN, and notoriously T Ewing) read the book fast. When I read it 'fast', as fast as I could, it still took me ages.

I don't know what 'hazmat' means.

the bellefox, Saturday, 22 January 2005 14:05 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I'm about 60 in. It's entertaining. Reminds me of Catch-22. We'll see though.

(Haz - Hazardous Mat - Materials)

mcd (mcd), Saturday, 22 January 2005 23:54 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I've read it twice, I think both times during college summer breaks. Yes, it was rough sledding at times, but the challenge of it only made me keep trying harder. Sometimes pages would go by just as words with little comprehension on my part, but there are always little images and phrases that might stick in one's mind, even when the overall point or even narrative flow is hard to discern. It does start to break up towards the end. But some of my favorite parts are the little stories like "Byron the Bulb" and that chapter about the German scientist working on the rocket at that secluded camp and being visited by his daughter. There's some weird underage/incest sort of fetish with Pynchon. It's kind of creepy at times. I don't know if it's pure Nabokov imitation or something deeper. I'm not sure what it was about "Gravity's Rainbow" that hooked me, and made me want to keep reading. Somehow it seemed like the logical culmination of my path from Science Fiction through Vonnegut and on to Heller and Nabokov. Pynchon is this almost God-like writer - just in terms of how he writes - you get the feeling that he can do anything and that he knows everything. Wheels within wheels. I think it's a very addictive style to someone at a certain stage in life. Either it's all bullshit or everything else is. It's like he's driving this motorcycle and your hanging onto his leather jacket, and if you don't hang on for dear life, you'll get thrown to the ground. I've also read "V" twice and "Crying of Lot 49" twice. I've read "Vineland" once and "Mason & Dixon" not at all. I think if I was going to read more Pynchon I would either try "Vineland" again or "M&D".

o. nate (onate), Sunday, 23 January 2005 00:31 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Reminds me of Catch-22. We'll see though.

ugh. i hated catch 22. i think i have a problem with the late-modernist masculine canon.

lauren (laurenp), Monday, 24 January 2005 11:11 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I don't really agree with O. Nate, but his prose in that post momentarily reminds me of Dylan's in Chronicles.

the bellefox, Tuesday, 25 January 2005 19:29 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Well, tell me what you disagree about then, and we can argue. :-) (But I'll take the Dylan thing as a compliment.)

o. nate (onate), Wednesday, 26 January 2005 03:28 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I've read GR twice, and both times it took about six weeks - which seems like a long time, but isn't compared to Infinite Jest which took several months.

Got much less bogged down the second time around - the first time there was definitely too much to take in all at once.

I've read Vineland twice too, and considering rereading M&D pretty soon - again, the sheer density means I probably missed a lot of the nuances first time around.

Mog, Wednesday, 26 January 2005 10:38 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

read it over the summer and now everything else feels kind of lightweight i didn't really try and make sense of it just munched on the imagery and ideas

elwisty (elwisty), Wednesday, 26 January 2005 11:32 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

O. Nate: yes, Dylan was a compliment - I love his book.

When I said 'I don't really agree', that meant, largely: 'you like the book and I don't'. I don't think I had very specific points in mind. But I will look and think, about that.

the bluefox, Thursday, 27 January 2005 14:11 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

four months pass...
An appreciation of Gravity's Rainbow from Bookforum:

http://www.bookforum.com/pynchon.html

The long Gerald Howard piece is pretty interesting.

o. nate (onate), Monday, 20 June 2005 17:17 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Ugh that long article is lousy. "Life is a haunting thing." Too true, Gerald. I enjoyed Lorrie's sidebar, though.

Jerry the Nipper (Jerrynipper), Tuesday, 21 June 2005 09:05 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Didn't like it? I thought it was an interesting personal narrative, I didn't give as much thought to his critique of the book itself, but it was a readable account with some interesting tidbits I didn't know about Pynchon & his publisher.

o. nate (onate), Tuesday, 21 June 2005 12:43 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

alhtough i know some people on here might not agree, i thought that the reader's companion helped a lot (although i just kind of discounted the more interpretive addendums). it's nice to have something providing at least some clues of the source texts referenced (starting w/ the opening quote)

Suzy Creemcheese (SuzyCreemcheese), Tuesday, 21 June 2005 23:42 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

It is nice of Lorrie Moore to be so generous about Pynchon - and in her brief piece she reminds us how neat a writer she herself is - but she neglects to mention his woeful flaws and the great many appalling wasted pages he has typed.

the pinefox, Thursday, 23 June 2005 09:29 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

No writer is perfect, Pinefox. Pynchon's one of the best we have, though. Why would Lorrie Moore contravene an appreciation with adverse criticism that would sort of amount to what your post does, ie, just bitching about nothing?

tippecanoe, Thursday, 23 June 2005 20:09 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I think serious professional fiction writers find something to admire about him, if only his far-reaching ambition in creating great complex systems of information and recreating entire eras in his great big books- his cojones if you will, but as a lay reader I tend to discount this as a deformation professionelle.

k/l (Ken L), Thursday, 23 June 2005 20:25 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...
Just finished this last night; took the better part of 5 weeks to do it. I'm sure all of the comparisons to Joyce/Ulysses are pretty old by now, but I don't think I could have enjoyed GR as much as I did if I hadn't already read Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake. (Could be that I'm just used to plowing through the sections where I have absolutely no idea what's going on).

I loved all of the little anecdotes sprinkled throughout, like the alliterative restaurant dishes (pubic parfait and whatnot), Benny the Bulb, the boat that magically missed the torpedos, Roger Mexico pissing all over the boardroom and then crawling out under the table, etc. I like how Pynchon maintains a jovial/fantastical feel through most of the book, I don't think it'd be near as great if he was writing a realistic narrative. And has there ever been a more musical book? There was a song every ten pages it seemed

I have to say though that the pedophilia, poop-eating, toilet-diving, etc. made me squirm while I read it and grew somewhat tiresome by the end. I'll probably pick up the commentary book at some point and re-read GR with it, but before I read any more Pynchon, I need a few years off. Phew!

jedidiah (jedidiah), Friday, 8 July 2005 17:04 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i've read about 50 pages of this book and haven't been able to get much further. i guess i'll probably try again soon, since i liked crying of lot 49 a lot (tho i read about a third of v and hated it), but my problem with pynchon is that i just don't find him all that funny. maybe that's not the point, but it seems like it's a big part of his surface appeal - silly names, wacky hi-jinx, super-advanced math/science jokes, back cover blurb comparing GR to duck soup as well as ulysses - and i think you have to enjoy that stuff to have the patience to get into the 'rewarding' aspects of GR - its vast awesome complexity, blah blah blah - and i don't! it just seems so lame and forced to me, like a nerdy science major cracking up at his own jokes.

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Friday, 8 July 2005 22:45 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/25/germany-moves-to-atone-for-forgotten-genocide-in-namibia

Rukoro, the Herero chief, rejected what he called Germany’s “chequebook diplomacy” and bilateral dealings with the Namibian government. “Guess what: the Hereros and the Namas of Namibia will never … declare ceasefire with generations of German governments to come. Our war will continue,” he said.

j., Monday, 26 December 2016 06:27 (one year ago) Permalink

six months pass...

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/19/science/giant-squid-eyes-brain-lobes.html

As for why giant squids even need such big eyes, previous research has suggested that their eyesight is uniquely adapted to spotting faint clouds of bioluminescence that indicate a sperm whale — their main known predator — is approaching from a distance.

This new study supports that conclusion, Dr. Chiao said, by showing that the part of the giant squid’s optic lobe that processes visual information is indeed rich with neurons. It also shows that giant squids probably don’t use that information to perform the complex and dramatic appearance changes other cephalopods are famous for.

After all, when you live in near-total darkness, what you’re wearing likely doesn’t matter, Dr. Chiao said.

j., Thursday, 20 July 2017 16:29 (one year ago) Permalink

nine months pass...

hey i've only got 100 pages left of this goddamn thing

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Tuesday, 1 May 2018 20:31 (seven months ago) Permalink

imo they should really retitle it This Goddamn Thing

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Tuesday, 1 May 2018 20:33 (seven months ago) Permalink

spoiler: on the final page it says "you've been punked!"

A is for (Aimless), Tuesday, 1 May 2018 20:44 (seven months ago) Permalink

my favorite section in the book i think is franz pökler's vacations with maybe-ilse

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Tuesday, 1 May 2018 20:44 (seven months ago) Permalink

spoiler: on the final page it says "you've been punked!"

― A is for (Aimless), Tuesday, May 1, 2018 1:44 PM (eleven seconds ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

this would be a completely fair way for it to end so i kinda experienced a dual-lol there

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Tuesday, 1 May 2018 20:45 (seven months ago) Permalink

I have fond memories of reading GR for the first (and only, but plan on revisiting) time like 5 summers ago.

Coincidentally I'm currently a few hundred pages into Mason & Dixon. It's fun!

two cool rock chicks pounding la croix (circa1916), Tuesday, 1 May 2018 20:49 (seven months ago) Permalink

unfortunately gravity's rainbow has put me in the mood to attack both mason & dixon and against the day but i might hold off for at least another year

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Tuesday, 1 May 2018 20:52 (seven months ago) Permalink

my favorite section in the book i think is franz pökler's vacations with maybe-ilse

― flamenco drop (BradNelson), 1. maj 2018 22:44 (two minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Yeah, this is amazing. The whole book is so high-strung and outrageous, but the sad and more low-key parts really hits as well. There's one part, which from memory goes something like He likes to tell them about fireflies. English girls know nothing about fireflies, and that's the only thing Slothrop knows about English girls. Out of knowhere, and the homesick loneliness of it gets me every time.

Frederik B, Tuesday, 1 May 2018 21:05 (seven months ago) Permalink

That section is haunting, I’ve forgotten a fair bit of the book but that sticks

type your stinkin prose off me, ur damned qwerty uiop (wins), Tuesday, 1 May 2018 21:14 (seven months ago) Permalink

the big franz pokler chapter is like a 40-page wave of brutality. it's hard to do much else after it ends

imago, Tuesday, 1 May 2018 22:16 (seven months ago) Permalink

just finished! that was. really good

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Sunday, 6 May 2018 15:10 (seven months ago) Permalink

poor gottfried

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Sunday, 6 May 2018 15:10 (seven months ago) Permalink

it's a book about the imaginative & organizational proclivities practiced by europeans for centuries that could, at their zenith (so to speak), bring about something like wwii, and their persistence into the vietnam era, imo.

also lots of digging and burying things underground, some of which can now be found

― sciatica, Monday, May 2, 2016 11:12 AM (two years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

this is a great post

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Sunday, 6 May 2018 15:11 (seven months ago) Permalink

The ending of GR makes me too weepy to face it some days

Mason & Dixon is even better

hepatitis groan (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 6 May 2018 15:19 (seven months ago) Permalink

this would make for the greatest movie of course but only really if done as a ten-hour anime

this old lj post is prob easy to make fun of but i’ve been thinking about gr’s overall relationship to film and how often its long descriptive passages feel like scene setting in a film script, but the sudden tonal shifts prob wouldn’t work as well in a live action film as in animation bc it’s fundamentally a looney tune

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Sunday, 6 May 2018 15:58 (seven months ago) Permalink

“Which would you rather do? The point is,” cutting off Gustav’s usually indignant scream, “a person feels good listening to Rossini. All you feel like listening to Beethoven is going out and invading Poland. Ode to Joy indeed. The man didn’t even have a sense of humor. I tell you,” shaking his skinny old fist, “there is more of the Sublime in the snare-drum part to La Gazza Ladra than in the whole Ninth Symphony. With Rossini, the whole point is that lovers always get together, isolation is overcome, and like it or not that is the one great centripetal movement of the World. Through the machineries of greed, pettiness, and the abuse of power, love occurs. All the shit is transmuted to gold. The walls are breached, the balconies are scaled—listen!”

― s.clover, Tuesday, May 15, 2012 11:00 AM (five years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

poptimism

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Sunday, 6 May 2018 16:02 (seven months ago) Permalink

i've slowly come to accept that i'm simply not smart enough to read gravity's rainbow, and i'm ok with that

Arch Bacon (rushomancy), Sunday, 6 May 2018 17:39 (seven months ago) Permalink

*i* am not smart enough to read gravity’s rainbow

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Sunday, 6 May 2018 18:08 (seven months ago) Permalink

just hold the reins and ride

imago, Sunday, 6 May 2018 18:28 (seven months ago) Permalink

what was the moment you were like 'my god I'm finishing this wonderful bastard'

mine prob custard pie dogfight

imago, Sunday, 6 May 2018 18:28 (seven months ago) Permalink

it's no good. at some point reading becomes a merely mechanical activity, the neurons or whatever stop carrying the information to my brain out of self-defense, and eventually i give in and start paying attention to what my nervous system is telling me.

Arch Bacon (rushomancy), Sunday, 6 May 2018 19:25 (seven months ago) Permalink

maybe it would help to think of as a series and only read like 150 pages at a time, then read a different book, then try another 150 pages

this has worked for me

the late great, Sunday, 6 May 2018 20:10 (seven months ago) Permalink

what was the moment you were like 'my god I'm finishing this wonderful bastard'

i had a basically antagonistic relationship toward its length throughout so i was not certain i would actually finish it until the last 50 or so pages. even then, tbh, the indecipherable (to me) tarot readings in the last twenty pages nearly defeated me straw that broke the camel’s back style. it does get “easier” after the first 200 pages but there are still so many pockets of difficulty (tchitcherine’s and enzian’s hallucinatory visions of the zone, etc.). i know the object is to breeze through it as quickly as possible but i ended up always dwelling on passages i didn’t understand. weirdly however the hardest time i had motivating myself to keep reading was during the long slapsticky passages in the zone (aerial pie fight excepted)

pökler interlude is basically when i thought “i’m glad i did this”. before that i would thrill at any bend in time (the torpedo section). marvy getting inadvertently castrated was oddly satisfying

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Sunday, 6 May 2018 20:44 (seven months ago) Permalink

i loved that the tchitcherine/enzian conflict built to an anticlimax, one of the strongest passages in the book

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Sunday, 6 May 2018 20:47 (seven months ago) Permalink

oh wait, i know, i knew i was gonna finish this in part four when thanatz gets on the boat with the dude who really wants to get struck by lightning, and that section’s transition into the immortal messianic lightbulb stuff is so good

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Sunday, 6 May 2018 20:53 (seven months ago) Permalink

i think the disintegrated last part is the hardest and most alienating section by far. but by then yr pretty, as it were, locked in.

difficult listening hour, Sunday, 6 May 2018 21:09 (seven months ago) Permalink

like, the nixon bit-- hard to think of another book i'd tolerate that in.

difficult listening hour, Sunday, 6 May 2018 21:11 (seven months ago) Permalink

byron tho a major work of short american prose fiction prob. u can read it alone as a lil borges thing even (but you shouldn't).

difficult listening hour, Sunday, 6 May 2018 21:12 (seven months ago) Permalink

yep!

the story behind the nixon epigraph is so hilarious imo

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Sunday, 6 May 2018 21:12 (seven months ago) Permalink

oh, the epigraph is great. meant the, is it "zhlubb"? part.

difficult listening hour, Sunday, 6 May 2018 21:15 (seven months ago) Permalink

yeah that’s what i thought u meant

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Sunday, 6 May 2018 21:16 (seven months ago) Permalink

it took me a minute to realize that section was a flash forward to the ‘70s

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Sunday, 6 May 2018 21:22 (seven months ago) Permalink

otm that that old imago post is otm (followup about against the day also pretty convincing imo)-- i mean the book is literally a musical, not just with songs but with numbers; plus in certain places (all over but most brutally w the camp/daughter story + most universally w The Integral) the fake? unity of infinitely subdivided time that movies work by is both technique+theme, but yes, maybe only animation accustoms the audience to surreality+discontinuity in the way the book's treatment of this stuff requires?

still think laurie anderson should have called his bluff.

difficult listening hour, Sunday, 6 May 2018 21:26 (seven months ago) Permalink

agreed

honestly i think pynchon earnestly wanted that to happen

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Sunday, 6 May 2018 21:27 (seven months ago) Permalink

the taffy skyscraper bit (is that the same bit?) is a crazed flash forward as well

i basically considered all the action plausible right up until the oneurine torpedo, at which point i realised none of it was. but still...it all really happened obv ;)

imago, Sunday, 6 May 2018 21:28 (seven months ago) Permalink

*oneirine idk

imago, Sunday, 6 May 2018 21:28 (seven months ago) Permalink

honestly i think pynchon earnestly wanted that to happen

yeah!

difficult listening hour, Sunday, 6 May 2018 21:29 (seven months ago) Permalink

think it’s reasonable to assume slothrop didn’t have all that sex

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Sunday, 6 May 2018 21:39 (seven months ago) Permalink

only blicero gets his orgasm :(

(nah there are other orgasms in this book)

difficult listening hour, Sunday, 6 May 2018 21:44 (seven months ago) Permalink

lol

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Sunday, 6 May 2018 21:45 (seven months ago) Permalink

btw this is such a rich thread, v thankful for ilx in times like these

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Sunday, 6 May 2018 22:01 (seven months ago) Permalink

Infinite jest slays GR in terms of readability

calstars, Sunday, 6 May 2018 22:03 (seven months ago) Permalink

unfortunately gravity's rainbow has put me in the mood to attack both mason & dixon and against the day but i might hold off for at least another year

i would totally read w/ u, brad

i would much rather read (finish) m&d but i'd do my part for atd too

j., Monday, 7 May 2018 21:00 (seven months ago) Permalink

i'd be down for a group read tbh. too long since i've read pynchon. idk why i even bother to read anything else tbh.

carles danger mous (s.clover), Wednesday, 9 May 2018 04:15 (seven months ago) Permalink

miseducated prolly

j., Wednesday, 9 May 2018 04:50 (seven months ago) Permalink

I'm jumping into this, but we'll see how far I get. I read V. a few years ago, it had its moments, but didn't make tons of sense to me. So far this is more comprehensible, but I'm sure it won't last.

Mario Meatwagon (Moodles), Thursday, 10 May 2018 03:01 (seven months ago) Permalink

There are some great, heavily researched guides and supplements online for GR that follow basically page by page. Totally worth it. Really illuminated my reading experience.

One thing I have to say is, at least in my experience, you might be picking up more than you realize. Take those hallucinogenic detours for what they are. Pynchon shoots into space sometimes and you just have to ride it but it always comes back to the ground. Mostly.

two cool rock chicks pounding la croix (circa1916), Thursday, 10 May 2018 03:45 (seven months ago) Permalink

Trickiest part for me was remembering the 2,000 or whatever characters. That’s where the guides come in handy.

two cool rock chicks pounding la croix (circa1916), Thursday, 10 May 2018 03:47 (seven months ago) Permalink


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