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5.0 von 5 Sternen Mitreißend, umwerfend, schockierend!!
Über die Weihnachtstage könnte man sich doch mal wieder einen Klassiker gönnen, habe ich mir so gedacht. Je dicker und anspruchsvoller desto besser, wann hat man schon so viel Zeit. Acht Tage und gut 800 Seiten später bin ich nun verwirrt, beeindruckt, begeistert, schockiert und mitgerissen und stehe nun vor der Aufgabe, diese so unterschiedlichen...
Veröffentlicht am 29. Dezember 2006 von Michael Dienstbier

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3.0 von 5 Sternen The most eloquent vanity project in literary history
This is the most beautifully worded, exceedingly complex work I've ever read. It's also the most boring, pretentious, repetitive tripe I've ever slogged through. There were moments when Pynchon floored me, absolutely knocked me out with incredible passages, fraught with unreachable depth and stunning vision. Then I'd have to read another two hundred pages before it...
Veröffentlicht am 24. Februar 1998 von sharky@netwalk.com


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5.0 von 5 Sternen Mitreißend, umwerfend, schockierend!!, 29. Dezember 2006
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Michael Dienstbier "Privatrezensent ohne fina... (Bochum) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: Gravity's Rainbow (Roman) (Taschenbuch)
Über die Weihnachtstage könnte man sich doch mal wieder einen Klassiker gönnen, habe ich mir so gedacht. Je dicker und anspruchsvoller desto besser, wann hat man schon so viel Zeit. Acht Tage und gut 800 Seiten später bin ich nun verwirrt, beeindruckt, begeistert, schockiert und mitgerissen und stehe nun vor der Aufgabe, diese so unterschiedlichen Eindrücke in eine Rezension verpacken zu wollen. Meyers Großes Taschenlexikon hat mir nicht wirklich dabei geholfen, meine Gedanken zu ordnen. Dort heißt es nämlich unter dem Eintrag Thomas Pynchon: "Dabei dient ihm die kulturpess. Metaphorisierung der Entropie ebenso zur Veranschaulichung seiner Zivilisationskritik wie die Darstellung paranoider Ängste angesichts der als undurchschaubar erlebten Realität". Da steh ich nun, ich armer Tor...

Doch trotz der hier attestierten Entropie weißt Thomas Pynchons Hauptwerk "Gravity's Rainbow", ein, wenn nicht sogar das Hauptwerk der literarischen Postmoderne, einen klaren Hauptplot auf, der auch ohne Sekundärliteratur deutlich zu erkennen ist: Der paranoide und sexsüchtige Tyrone Slothrop arbeitet während des Zweiten Weltkrieges in England für die Organisation PISCES (Pschological Intelligence Schemes for Expediting Surrender). Slothrop hat die Eigenschaft, kurz vor Raketeneinschlägen immer eine Erektion zu bekommen. Er will diesem Geheimnis auf die Spur kommen und begibt sich daher auf eine Odyssee durch ein geisterhaftes Deutschland in den Monaten nach der Kapitulation. Hier trifft er, größtenteils im Drogenrausch, auf jede Menge seltsame Gestalten und findet schließlich den Grund für sein "Gebrechen": Als Kind hat ihn sein Vater an die IG Farben verkauft, um für das Geld seine Ausbildung zu finanzieren. Der wahnsinnige Wissenschaftler Laszlo Jamf hat Tyrone dann so konditioniert, dass er auf den Stoff Imoplex G mit sexueller Erregung reagiert. Genau dieser Stoff wurde auch beim Bau der A4 und V2 verwendet, was Slothrops erotische Verbindung zu diesen Waffen erklärt.

So weit, so gut. Doch der Hauptplot wird immer wieder durch ganz seltsame Episoden erweitert. Gleich zu Beginn wandert der Soldat "Pirate" Prentice durch London und nimmt erstaunt zur Kenntnis, dass St. Paul's Cathedral von einem riesigen Polypen gefressen wird. Am Ende des Romans berichtet der Erzähler von Byron der Glühbirne und dessen Lebensgeschichte, die ihm unter anderen in das Zimmer einer Prostituierten führt, wo er in diverse Körperöffnungen der sexgierigen Kundschaft eingeführt wird. Armer Byron...

Und immer wieder Sex! Im Roman wimmelt es nur so vor sinnlichen, abstoßenden, perversen und extravaganten Sexszenen. Diese stehen teilweise nur wenige Zeilen von Abschnitten getrennt, die schockierender und bewegender kaum sein können. Ein Beispiel: Pökler, ein Ingenieur, der am Bau der V2 in Nordhausen beteiligt ist, sucht im direkt an die Fabrik angeschlossenen KZ Dora nach seiner Geliebten. Als er durch diese Hölle auf Erden wandert, fällt es ihm wie Schuppen von den Augen, für welch ein Regime er gearbeitet hat: "The odors of shit, death, sweat, sickness, mildew, piss, the breathing of Dora, wrapped him as he crept in staring at the naked corpses being carried out, now that America was so close, to be stacked in front of the crematoriums, the men's penises hanging [...] where it was darkest und smelled the worst, Pökler found a woman lying, a random woman. He sat for half an hour holding her bare hand. She was breathing. Before he left, he took of his gold wedding ring and put it on the woman's thin finger, curling her hand to keep it from slidinf off" (432ff.;Teil 3, Abschnitt 11).

Und was soll das Ganze? Was ist die Message? Nun, eine richtige Antwort auf diese Frage gibt es wohl nicht. "Gravity's Rainbow" bietet so viel, dass jeder Leser etwas für sich finden kann. Thomas Pynchon sieht die Welt als Chaos ohne klar erkennbare Struktur und genau das spiegelt sich auch in der Vielschichtigkeit seines Werkes wieder.

Fazit: Nur Mut, trauen Sie sich an dieses Meisterwerk. Es gibt nicht viele Romane, die das Potenzial haben, die Horizonte ihrer Leser zu erweitern. Dieser Roman gehört definitiv dazu!
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Whine and complain if you want..., 20. Juni 2000
... but I'm 15 and I absolutely loved this damn book. I'm not a child prodigy or a genuis or anything like that either, I just enjoy good writers and good writing, and that's all here in strides. Sure it's hard and complex, and if you're just wanting something to read on the beach or something disposable to get you to sleep at night, then don't come here. But if you're up for the challenge and love a great story, then you shouldn't have any problems. I like what William Gass said in his introduction to the Penguin 20th Century Classics edition of William Gaddis' The Recognitions about how you shouldn't strive to finish it in one gigantic sitting, but you should take your time (months, years, decades) and allow the book to become a kind of friend that you can pick up and visit whenever you feel in the mood. That applies to this phenomonal book as well, and I have to admit it took me over half a year to finish it myself, as I often took month long breaks and read other material. This is a book to be bought and returned too, not simply just another book you pick up at the library.
And as far as my take on the novel, I take it to be a representation of the world after the events that take place in the story. From the drug use to the birth of a mechanical world with computers and new and more deadly forms of war fare, it all represents to me what would come after and even maybe because of World War II. Well, that's the only conclusion that I could come too in order to explain the confounding ending at least (the movie theater and allusions to Nixon). But aside from the deeper meanings, this novel is a drug induced thrill ride. There are so many great action scenes and dialouges in the book, that it's overwhelming to have to go back after your through and too pick out your favirotes. I loved the chase sequences after Slothrop, the scenes of Roger and Jessica alone at night in bed as the Rockets descended upon their city, the incredible opening allusions, the heartbreaking last appearance of Roger at the dinner as he finally comes to grips with the reality that he lost the one he loved, the crazy, cinematic, and beautiful ending, and on, and on, and on. If you're serious about reading and Literature, this is a must. This book has more to offer then any other I've ever come across, and if you're willing to put up a lot of effort, you will be rewarded. (And hey, I've read that Pynchon didn't even understand a lot of what he wrote as he was at the time of writing it ... on various drugs... it was the early 70's after all).
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4.0 von 5 Sternen I am totally unqualified to review this book, 4. März 1999
Von Ein Kunde
I read this all the way through. At 35, that sounds funny, but it was a struggle at times. I agree with everything everyone here has said about it, pro and con. For those who admire its writing, I can easily point you to gorgeous passages, that I read three or four times for sheer pleasure. For those that say it's prose is terrible, I can point you to many passages that are unreadable, and that I read three or four times out of frustration, and still leave me baffled. Some of the "humor" is on the level of junior high flatuence jokes, and makes me feel almost embarrassed for Pynchon. Some of it is genuinely funny.
I found some themes in the book that I thought were well crafted and thought provoking. I found many thematic and stylistic aspects - such as the depth of paranoia, the lack of chronology, the excessive and dull descriptions of sex acts, the fact that you're never really sure whether there is any real time and place in any of the tale - impossible to relate to.
Some things that are not here for a first reader (at least without an annotated guide): a story and character development. I missed these things; I've grown attached to them. Without these fundamental elements, I'm not sure if I'm reading a novel. On the other hand, just because it isn't a novel, doesn't mean it's not worth reading. Just be prepared.
I'm glad I read it. The "good" parts were worth the frustration. I make no judgment on Mr. Pynchon, as many detractors and worshipers seem to. Because he is obscure and confusing, doesn't necessarily mean he's showing off, nor does it mean he's a genius. Several posters have said that he should make his "point" clearly - true, if he has a point, which maybe isn't always the case. He's certainly self-absorbed, and asks much of the reader for an uncertain payoff. He very well might be completely insane for all I know. I'll probably read it again sometime.
Most people know whether they'll like this before they pick it up. Guage your reactions to these reviews; your instincts are probably right.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen A Challenge To All Lazy People, 25. Februar 1999
When I first read this book I did so without wanting to put any effort into it. I was lazy. I didn't bother to look up any of the historical, scientific, or pop cultural references. Moreover, if a difficult word popped up I didn't bother to reach for a dictionary to find out what it meant. Often I'd think to myself, 'Who is Clausewitz?' or 'What is a narodnik?', and then I'd move on without finding out what these terms actually meant ( even though I could have found an answer right away by simply typing any of these terms into an internet search engine ). The process was arduous, painful, and frustrating. I hated this book. I simply didn't know what he was saying because I couldn't put anything into context. The second time I read Gravity's Rainbow I purchased an annotated guide, while also making an effort to find some of the more obscure references myself. Though I can't claim to understand everything he was saying, I did grow comfortable scrabbling about Pynchon's exotic little universe. I came to respect the genius of this book, both in a thematic and artistic sense. I believe that one of Pynchon's goals is to dare the reader into reading this book. Simply put, he wants us to work. Kierkegaard said that being a Christian should not be an easy task. The same is true, I think, in literature. For, the safer literature gets, the more it comes to resemble TV. Yes, on the surface this book is difficult, even pretentious. But if you work at it, that is, actually make an effort to understand Pynchon's somewhat obscure references and his abstruse vocabulary, the results are most rewarding. Simply put, he's not going to spoonfeed literature to his audience. Nor, as a reader, should you want to be spoonfed.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen The most eloquent vanity project in literary history, 24. Februar 1998
This is the most beautifully worded, exceedingly complex work I've ever read. It's also the most boring, pretentious, repetitive tripe I've ever slogged through. There were moments when Pynchon floored me, absolutely knocked me out with incredible passages, fraught with unreachable depth and stunning vision. Then I'd have to read another two hundred pages before it would happen again.
And now that I'm finished, I don't feel proud that I'm done. I feel that I just finished forcing myself reading a novel which isn't that entertaining or enlightening, reading for no other purpose than to satisfy that insatiable part of my ego which loves to think of itself as intelligent. Why did I let my pride compel me to read this although it took more than it gave? I'm still not sure.
More disquieting yet is the attitude of many reviewers below, who loved GR but insist that we also read the companion book which purportedly explains the hidden meanings and structures within. Well, if you manage to get through the book, anyone can understand Pynchon's themes. They aren't exactly subtle. So what's left? Obscure cultural references and some extremely misogynist and homophobic "jokes." My question is: What's the point of reading the companion piece? When a writer intentionally goes over your head(as Pynchon does often), it would stand to reason that he's doing so to entertain one person: Himself. What joy can anyone find in reading someone else's discoveries within a novel? Are these reviewers this desperate to think Pynchon is a genius? Or are they too afraid to admit that he's simply a very clever writer who hasn't much to say?
The most heartbreaking aspect of all this is that GR could have been a classic, if anyone would have had the courage to edit it before its printing. While I was reading, I couldn't help but feel that it was an early draft of a very impressive novel in progress: Cut another two or three hundred pages and we really could've had something. Alas, it was not to be. Perhaps one day, someone will finally cut away the fat from Gravity's Rainbow, do what Viking Publishing was unwilling or afraid to do. Then I could recommend this book. Until that day comes, try your luck elsewhere.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Reviews of this book are basically pointless., 13. August 1997
There are a number of reasons one might write a review of a book. Most of these reasons aren't all that helpful when it comes to Gravity's Rainbow.
One reason is to provide potential readers with a sense of the book (plot, structure, style, characterization). The best way to get a sense of Gravity's Rainbow is to read the first page. It basically goes on like that for another seven or eight hundred more.
Another reason is to enlighten the world with your sparkling insight into the subtlties of symbolism and layers of meaning in the book. With regard to Gravity's Rainbow, you can save that stuff for your weekly book club. The symbolism and layered meaning in GR are about as subtle as a rocket attack on a movie theater. This is why GR is often compared to Finnegan's Wake. If you've ever watched Joseph Campbell explain that novel, you realize that the search for deep intellectual insight is a conceit. These novels require your best effort just to understand the LITERAL stuff.
Another reason to review a book is to provide your own subjective opinion about the overall quality of the experience. I've found that many such GR reviews fall into one of two camps: "I read 'X' pages and couldn't/didn't finish it" or "Thomas Pynchon is God". The problem with reviews like this is that they say more about the meta-experience (sorry, but that is the appropriate word) of reading the book than they do about the book itself. Those of us who finish it are subject to a kind of "Iron John" machismo which falls apart if we are forced to admit that the whole thing might be a colossal put-on. On the other hand, those who give up can't help feeling that perhaps they are missing the big IT and don't like feeling that they might be unable to appreciate genius.
So is it the Emperor's New Clothes, or Pearls Before Swine?
It doesn't matter. The question is probably meaningless anyway.
If you like incredibly obscure cultural references, if you like dense imagery, if you like chilling portrayals of paranoia and the dire consequences to humans when people with power succumb to it and if you like conspiracy theory, you'll dig this book.
I do, so I did.
On the other hand, if you're hung up on little things like narrative structure, characterization, plot, etc., I'd stay away.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen For De Mille, young fur-henchman can't be rowing!, 26. Juli 2000
The rumors are true: this book is difficult. It's obscure. It's labyrinthine. It requires unusual feats of memory and patience on the part of the reader. But none of these qualities is, in itself, bad. NO considerable work of literature, from any period of history, yields up all of its pleasures to the idle reader. And "Gravity's Rainbow" is a very considerable book. A great book, even. It rewards diligence and attention, because through its web of symbolism and verbal acrobatics Pynchon has created a very beautiful and, yes, meaningful statement. This statement is not hidden by the symbols and puns; it is CREATED by them. To say that "Gravity's Rainbow" is a good book burdened by an overly indulgent execution is to miss the point. The execution is the book. There is no way to separate the two.
So, should you read "Gravity's Rainbow"? Or, more appropriately, would you enjoy reading "Gravity's Rainbow"? It depends. I definitely wouldn't recommend it as light reading, but I wouldn't recommend almost any of the books I really love as light reading. If you like big, complex, sprawling literature ("Ulysses," "One Hundred Years of Solitude," "Moby Dick," Blake, etc.) then this book might be just what you're looking for. If you prefer the minutely crafted and the rigorously controlled ("A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man," Fitzgerald, James, Austen, etc.) then this one might not be your cup of tea. Me, I like 'em both. And I say, go for it. If your head starts spinning after a couple of hundred pages, that's just space-sickness kicking in as the rocket hangs in its single moment of stillness, about to plunge down... (also, any book containing a law firm called Salitieri, Poore, Nash, De Brutus, and Short can't be all bad).
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1.0 von 5 Sternen Gravity's Rainbow: I beg to differ, 8. August 1997
What can you take away from this book with any certainty? Pynchon seems to talk around and around his great "themes" (paranoia, homosexuality, drugs, decadence, etc.) a great deal, but does he ever actually say anything? It seems to me it's very easy to be "a literary master" in this way. It's much more difficult to write something very clear and simple that people can easily understand (and yet still be profound and say something new).

Pynchon likes to impress. He seems to enjoy fact dropping like a groupie dropping names at a cocktail party. (This earned him the crooning admiration on the back of my paperback edition: '...the learning of a John Barth...') But like the groupie, there is always that suspicious lack of depth, of detail... Try to pin him down and whoah! there he goes off on something entirely different again. And here he is reeling off more shallow "facts" and references, preferably in German, preferably things he doesn't expect you know much about...

GR has often been likened to Ulysses or Moby Dick. But all it really has in common with these true greats is a large number of pages and a "difficult" style. This is why it's held in such esteem. It's just so damned long and difficult. Those who don't finish it (the majority) don't feel qualified to comment. Then there's the holier-than-thou, "emperor's new clothes" attitude of those who grit it out. Would it have got the same acclaim at 250 pages? When the buzz dies down, I rather doubt GR will stand the test of time.

And then there's this issue of humor. "Desperately funny" (whatever that means) trills the back of my paperback edition. I didn't find anything in the novel even the slightest, remotest bit funny. To me 'funny' means when you laugh. A real laugh. Not an "Eh!" to indicate you "got" a complex bit of sophistry, but a prolonged "Ha ha ha ha!", preferably incapacitating you for a short period of time. Woody Allen used to be funny. Monty Python was occasionally funny. Hell, even bits of Gargantua and Pantagruel were funny. Gravity's Rainbow is *not* funny. Humor needs specificity, characterization, familiarity. Pynchon has a hard time with specificity. When he gets bored of a scene-- zip zip we're off somewhere else again. Characterization is practically non-existent. Characters are just names thrown at us that occasionally crop up again. In more than a few scenes the novel is actually embarrassing to read, where Pynchon is obviously *trying* to be funny-- such as the scenes where he does horrible boffo parodies of homosexual characters. There's an underlying meanness to GR that is antithetical to humor. The characters are often sadistic. The novel itself is mean to its readers. Humor needs an underlying generosity.

With its sidelines admiration of drugs and decadence, GR is a novel straight out of some 1970s nightmare. It uses slang (natch) to try to be hip-intellectual and then fires out frequent volleys of "facts" and "references" to cover its tracks. But ultimately I think you'd have to be pretty naive to fall for its patter. It's just "Jitterbug Perfume" or any other Tom Robbins novel with a Phd. instead of a major in auto shop, a Jaguar instead of a Camaro, and a gold card instead of a pay packet. But it still wears the same nasty cologne and has the same fulsome desires. Tell it you're not that kinda girl.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen The best book ever written?, 14. März 2013
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: Gravity's Rainbow (Roman) (Taschenbuch)
I am hard pressed to come up with a better book then this. At first, very difficult to come to terms with extreme sentence lengths etc, once you get into it, ( I started it 4 times !) a diamond !

I must add that I found Pynchons other books dissappointing, perhaps while the bar had been set so high with Gravitys Rainbow !

Read it before you die !!
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Curious. jansisdigger@yahoo.com, 21. Mai 2000
Von Ein Kunde
I really enjoyed this work, having just wound my way through it again with the Companion. I find alarming, however, the cult-mystique that readers have towards writers. The weird, shifty phrases they utilize in their reviews; very irreverent towards the artist, methinks. It is dangerous to think such a way. Leave the poor man be. 'Tis only art. Please don't overintellectize it any more than it already has been. And on a side note, I'd love to speak to you sometime, Mr. Pynchon, if only as a friend.
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