Monday, February 19, 2018

Reading: Gavity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

Thomas Pynchon's Gavity's Rainbow has 902 pages, and is a difficult novel to read. I've always wanted to read it. But only recently I had time to read it through.

I started in on it on 13/10/17 and finished it on 15/2/18. It's four months two days. Every evening I began reading it exactly at five pm, and continued it as long as I could endure the day's text. 

Before starting it, I had a good advice from a Pynchonite: Go on reading every word, every sentence. Don't skip. Never think you'll understand all of them. There are sentences and passages  you may not get at all, but you must carry on. If you can stick to the end, I bet you'll be rewarded. 

I followed him while reading the entire text. 

Having completed the book, I reckon GR is a difficult book, but not as difficult as it's popularly believed. There are few things like Pynchon's penchant for detailing about shit and other bodily secretions and excretions, which I didn't like, but there are so many other things - his leftist and counter- culture ideas, thoughts and comments which I immensely relished.

Tyrone Slothrop, the rocket-obsessed protagonist, is a curious character and I've enjoyed, among other things, his sexual escapades. Pynchon is brilliant in writing sex scenes: his erotica is  deadpan kind, and it tickles.

GR is a post-war novel, but it touches on many things like capitalism, cocaine, dopers, whores, Soviets, army dogs, castration, Berlin, Nice, Zurich, magic, music, Byron the bulb, cartel, dildos,paregoric orgasm, light bulb, lightning bolt, roaring of the sun, Imipolex G, foam rubber penises, sonic death mirror, religion(Christianity), Tarrot cards, Sigmund Freud, sado-anarchism, Kabbalist tree of life...

Of course, Pynchon has a grasshopper mind, but he has profound knowledge in anything he writes about, and he can feed your brain relentlessly.

Reading Pynchon is like listening to a learned but good-humored professor on a difficult topic, who you can't always follow or understand, but you keep on listening because he sometimes stuns you with snippets of wisdom and insights and shares his varied life experiences and when he's done with his long lecture, you come out of the hall, a bit confused and tired, for sure, but enriched with a new vision of life.

In the end, GR has endorsed my belief in the immense scope of a novel. Novel is no longer a plot and character thing, and anything is possible in a novel. 

Search This Blog

My Blog List