Gravity’s Rainbow fractured literature, which previously had been fractured only by Ulysses and which no book has so fractured since. Pynchon’s novel transcends assessment: whatever you think of it, whatever you can even begin to think of it, you can’t resist it, it’s inexorable, the event horizon of contemporary literature.
—-Steve Erickson, introduction to One Picture for Each Page of Thomas Pynchon’s Novel Gravity’s Rainbow, 2004, by Zac Smith
A few days ago, some of us were getting together for the holidays and wanted to eat somewhere in the Bishop Arts District. Everybody met at one of my favorite haunts – The Wild Detectives – a bookstore with coffee and beer (right?) and then walked out together to find some vittles.
As we were walking down the front steps, I saw this sign:
Wednesday, January 2, Gravity’s Rainbow Reading? What is that?
Then this morning, I received an email inviting me to a three month group reading of Gravity’s Rainbow. Oh hell yea.
I’ve read the book, starting in, say, 1976 – only a few years after it came out. I finished it twenty five years later. I think it’s time to read it again. We’ll be reading about ten pages a day – which doesn’t sound like a lot – but Gravity’s Rainbow is no easy read. We’ll get together every Wednesday at Wild Detectives at 7:30 to discuss what we have read that week. I’ll have to postpone my reading of Zola for the duration, but I wanted a break anyway. It will be a haul to get down to the Bishop Arts District after work on Wednesdays – but I’m already working on mass transit options.
I drove down there tonight for the introduction. There were a good number (maybe 25?) folks ready to dig in. We’ll see how many make it to the end.
A screaming comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now.
—-First Line, Gravity’s Rainbow, by Thomas Pynchon