Monday, September 28, 2009

Gravity's Rainbow Read-Along: Week 2 (p 71-140)

Happy Yom Kippur, to those observing, and Happy Week 2 to everyone in general!

Thoughts/opinions/feelings/conversations welcome!


Sandra Gail Lambert said...

I'm a quitter. I know, not an auspicious start to this Monday's comments, but Gravity's Rainbow is going back to the library.

I just don't like it. (How's that for in-depth analysis?) The occasional brilliant moment isn't enough to keep me at it.

Carry on the rest of you intrepid readers.

Lydia Sharp said...

Sorry to hear that Sandra. My feelings have been just the opposite. The more I read this book, the more I like it.

I'm a little behind on the reading because this past week was especially busy for me. But I can say that, even though this week's reading was a bit heavier than last week's, the fact that I can start to connect some of the seemingly random events has kept me hooked. Admittedly, I'm a bit of a nerd, so all the psychological speak and ethical dilemmas are quite intriguing to me. I could be in the minority there.

And I've found that (when I did have time to sit and read) I'm reading through this part quicker than I did the first part. Once I'm invested in the characters (which, for me, tends to hit around page 100 or so, in any given novel), the reading becomes easier.

On a semi-related point, I'm amazed by how many people have never heard of this book. I was reading it during one of my breaks on Saturday, which started a discussion about books and reading in general. Many of my co-workers are avid readers (all women, but a range of ages from twenty-somethings to sixty-somethings), but NONE of them had heard of this book. Not one. What?

sarahloldfield said...

I am unable to justify why I want to continue reading...

I don't understand the plot, some of the details are vile, but Gravity's Rainbow continues to compel.

I was late starting (but have caught up now; yay!) so here is my first post, encompassing weeks 1 and 2.

I generally enlarge upon the theme of not 'getting' it!

sarahloldfield said...

Oops! That didn't work. One more go at leaving a link...

moonrat said...

for reasons I don't fully understand, I'm with Lydia on this one--last week, I sincerely doubted my ability and willingness to get through it, but this week, the pieces started to come together for me.

I think talking about it here, on Twitter, etc really helped me get through, actually. To see other people noticing stuff I'd noticed gave me faith in myself to eventually pick the pieces apart!

Sandra, I'm sorry it's a disappointment to you, but you definitely shouldn't waste your time on a book out of which you're getting nothing! it's not worth three months of suffering :)

Lydia Sharp said...


John said...

I found this section pretty difficult during the Blicero section, but the bit with Roger and Jessica at the Advent Mass was surprisingly beautiful. It seemed like a moment where Pynchon quit his word games for long enough to show what was at stake in the world of these characters, and how reality could seem terribly strange when they tried to reconcile the wartime Christmas with their memories of holidays before the war.

I also found Pointsman to be...well, "endearing" wouldn't be the right word, but I liked him a lot more in this section than in the last.

Pamala Knight said...

Aaccckkk! I'm behind! I'll catch up and come back out to join in the discussion in the next day or two. I should be able to get up to page 140 with no problem. Sorry!

Jane Steen said...

I'm keeping up... and enjoying the experience. I'm learning to relax about the more tangential passages because Pynchon always seems to end them with a reference to the original thought or image that sparks them off.

This is definitely not a page-turner: I prefer to take it in small sips. The writing, in my opinion, is pure genius, and I don't say that often.

Like Lydia, I have been wondering why more people haven't read this or even know about it. Not taught in schools, I suppose. We really need a revised canon.

Also, I tried to get the book from my local library and they don't have it and don't intend to purchase it. Has it been judged subversive? Are the mass psychology/conditioning references too near the mark?

moonrat said...

I loved the candy sequence with Stothrop in this batch of pages. Also, the missile/sex connection is finally coming together for me--I didn't really get it in the first 70 pages.

Basically, what I'm trying to say is, a story is emerging for me!

Rats, wish I had my book on me to quote some of my favorite passages. Maybe I'll have to quote them more next week.

JES said...

I was wondering if this was the section with the hard-candies scene. Apparently it was.

That's one of my favorite scenes of all time, in any book.

M. said...


I didn't realize you guys were planning on discussing Gravity's Rainbow online, too. I figured I was going to miss out because I live on the west coast, but now I think I'm going to have to catch up and join in the fun.


Lisa said...

Funny...I was really beginning to hate this book over the course of the first 100 pages and only stubbornness and a desire to know what other people who love this book could possibly see in it kept me going.

And about the 200 page mark (I can't stick with a schedule to save my life) I started getting into it.

It was just before that point that I got the Gravity's Rainbow Companion and I went through and reviewed all the chapters I'd read to the end of Part I. One of the things that makes this book sooooo tedious (for me) is that there are dozens of historical, idiomatic and geographical references that I'm not familiar with and even though they don't make a whole lot of difference in terms of understanding what's going on, they do make some. Most of them don't really matter, but I think before I had "the companion" I was frustrated because I thought the things that I didn't recognize were important and that I was really missing out -- not really so.

Having said all that, some of the writing in this book is simply brilliant once I had the chance to eliminate the distractions. I haven't completely decided, but I might actually be starting to care about what happens to Slothrop and I'm pretty sure I care about Roger Mexico and Jessica Swanlake.

I'm in for the duration.

moonrat said...

Yay! More people joining and sticking with!!

Nikki B said...

Ugh! Mine's on backorder from the library...and I'm far too broke to purchase a copy of my own. Hopefully I'll get it soon so I can catch up!

tom collins said...

I am reading the rest of GR with Sandra Gail Lambert in mind, if that is possible. It's so typical to see a decision like this one set up as yet another reason to push on, beyond the failure. My take here is that the failure is present from the very beginning, and that Sandra's reaction is an indication of an authentic reading. It's a shame that she was left with the consequences of her decision. Typical of the American emphasis on free will and choice and decision. "If you don't get it, enjoy it, dig it, then get out, as you've chosen to do."