Gravity’s Rainbow, Against the Day, and Chronic City

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by Hayden Childs

I’ve considered Gravity’s Rainbow to be among my favorite books since I spent a week reading it when I was 20. I remember how overwhelming the experience was: the absence of anything approaching a traditional plot structure with seemingly disjointed episodes leading further and further into confusion, the characters hilarious and exasperating and opaque, the sublime ridiculousness of the plot points, the extremity and vulgarity in the many, many sex scenes, but more than anything Pynchon’s ability to draw pure poetry and a near-gnostic wisdom from his cartoonish hyper-reality.

I’d been touched by great works of literature before, but this was the first great work of literature that fundamentally changed me. My entire way of seeing had been engulfed by Gravity’s Rainbow. An arc of history had me caught in its parabola. I wondered how to dislodge myself before the inevitable crashdown. I reveled in my small freedoms. I grew more paranoid.

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