Gravity's Rainbow  

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"One of my younger colleagues told me she valued Alice Walker's Meridian over Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow because Pynchon lied and Walker incarnated the truth. With political correctness replacing religious rightness, we are back in Tolstoy's polemic against difficult art." -- The Western Canon (1994), Harold Bloom, p.57

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Gravity's Rainbow is an epic postmodern novel written by Thomas Pynchon and first published on February 28 1973.

The narrative is set primarily in Europe at the end of World War II and centers on the design, production and dispatch of V-2 rockets by the German military, and, in particular, the quest undertaken by several of the characters to uncover the secret of a mysterious device named the "Schwarzgerät", which will be installed in a rocket with the serial number "00000."

Frequently digressive, the novel subverts many of the traditional elements of plot and character development, traverses detailed, specialist knowledge drawn from a wide range of disciplines, and has earned a reputation as a "difficult" book.

In 1974, the three-member Pulitzer Prize jury on fiction supported Gravity's Rainbow for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. However, the other eleven members of the board overturned this decision, branding the book "unreadable, turgid, overwritten, and obscene." The novel was nominated for the 1973 Nebula Award for Best Novel, and won the National Book Award in 1974. Since its publication, Gravity's Rainbow has spawned an enormous amount of literary criticism and commentary, including two reader's guides and several online concordances, and is widely regarded as Pynchon's magnum opus.

See also

paranoid fiction

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