Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon is often considered one of the greatest pieces of American literature in the 20th century.
I’ll be damned if I can figure out why.
It’s not the worst book I’ve ever read, that honor goes to a few other tomes, but it is by far the worst read I’ve ever forced myself to get through. I’m one of those people who, when they start something, finishes it, even if it damn near kills them, and this was one of those times. It’s a very long book, with complicated jump cuts from plot point to plot point, and you go from one character speaking to another when neither are in the same scene…it’s like riding a roller coaster backwards, upside down, and blindfolded. You never know where the hell you are at any given point in time. I started reading the book in 2009, and I finally finished it about 3 years later. It took me that long to finally get through it. I’d read for a while, throw the book at the wall, then not pick it up for months. Then, I’d feel like crap about that, pick it up again, read some more, get angry again…so forth and so on. It felt like a never-ending vicious cycle, but I was committed to seeing it through to the end, which I did. I will never, that being said, ever read the book again. If I tried, I’d probably have a nervous breakdown.