How the fuck am I supposed to read this thing?
I read part 1 and then took a break for a while. I won't lie. I barely understood anything. I try to read it nice and slow but there's still times where I lose the plot and get completely lost. A book has never made me feel this stupid.
Should I try to make sense of it or just keep going the way I've gone. Should I read a section and then look up what it meant online or just keep pushing forward and doing my best?
I don't know if part 2 is easier to understand than part 1 or if I'm just getting acclimated to Pynchon's style but I feel like I'm understanding it a little better.
I feel guilty going forward when I feel like I don't understand it very well. Should I restart part 1?
I thought part 1 was pretty linear & sequential aside from the digressions. I could be remembering wrong. I took pretty extensive notes of the characters though, I remember that being the most confusing part of the entire novel, and especially in pt 1.
I haven't been taking notes or anything. Should I? Reading this reminds me of when I tried to get into jazz and couldn't follow anything musically. I just read it and if I don't understand something I just keep going forward but I'm worried that I'm cheating myself out of the experience. But I also worry that if I tried to understand every little thing then I'd never finish it. I think I'm enjoying myself though. I can't even tell anymore.
I'm going to add to this and say that you should probably read TCOL49 and/or V. I probably wouldn't finish Gravity's Rainbow if you get hopeless lost because it gets pretty murky in part 3 and it's definitely more enjoyable when you are following the tracts, it's not as "random" as people make it out to be. If you get lost and can't recover, I would honestly put it down and come back later.
You don't have to take notes, but it can help you in orientation; the important thing is to read slowly, do not rush it, think about what you're reading and so on. The only difficulty in Part 1 is that it jumps here and there, sometimes it takes digression into past, or dream and so on.
Parts 2 (this especially) and 3 are more straight forward; part 4 is huge and marvellos clusterfuck.
yes, pynchon will be lost to history. notice how interchangeable these parasites are becoming, glutted ticks ready to be burned off, but not before vomitting their intestines back into your systems!
I would take notes of the characters, and I also took notes of the themes because they definitely tie the narrative together more than a character driven-plot. It's definitely centered around ideas and events. It also kind of helped me to think of the narrative like a Bosch painting. But yes, I took notes of the characters and reoccurring themes, but especially characters.
Ya the book is a lot like this.
>I feel guilty going forward when I feel like I don't understand it very well
You probably understand it much better than you think you do. Book 1 is a lot of scene setting and purple prose, but it doesn't really say much other than kicking off plots that don't get resolved until much later in the book.
Also, Pynchon has a useful habit of repeating his intentions multiple times, so if you don't understand something right away, it will be brought up again well before you need to know what it means
Rush through it so you can say you read it.
Then actually take your time and FUCKING READ IT AND THINK ABOUT IT.
Pynchon is likeable by a juvenile sort who enjoys scatological humor and phallic jokes. low cerebral activity is a callsign for the incompetent fans who drool on Pynchon. He is not a step above Wallace as many mincing plebeians might argue, rather a step laterally.
“Dream tonight of peacock tails,
Diamond fields and spouter whales.
Ills are many, blessings few,
But dreams tonight will shelter you.
Let the vampire's creaking wing
Hide the stars while banshees sing;
Let the ghouls gorge all night long;
Dreams will keep you safe and strong.
Skeletons with poison teeth,
Risen from the world beneath,
Ogre, troll, and loup-garou,
Bloody wraith who looks like you,
Shadow on the window shade,
Harpies in a midnight raid,
Goblins seeking tender prey,
Dreams will chase them all away.
Dreams are like a magic cloak
Woven by the fairy folk,
Covering from top to toe,
Keeping you from winds and woe.
And should the Angel come this night
To fetch your soul away from light,
Cross yourself, and face the wall:
Dreams will help you not at all.”
― Thomas Pynchon
Your love and pity doth the impression fill,
Which vulgar scandal stamped upon my brow;
For what care I who calls me well or ill,
So you o'er-green my bad, my good allow?
You are my all-the-world, and I must strive
To know my shames and praises from your tongue;
None else to me, nor I to none alive,
That my steeled sense or changes right or wrong.
In so profound abysm I throw all care
Of others' voices, that my adder's sense
To critic and to flatterer stopped are.
Mark how with my neglect I do dispense:
You are so strongly in my purpose bred,
That all the world besides methinks y'are dead.
anyone who was born past 85 should by no right be a pynchon fanatic, Wallace did the same thing but more contemporized.
If you like Pynchon and dont like Wallace youre an idiot who probably hasnt read/understood both.
Pynchon did too many drugs. Made some tasteless choices. So does Wallace but at least you can tell he's restraining himself.
I actually am mad that people do not understand what is a meme and what is just a meme of a meme....
Pynchon, Wallace, Joyce are all meme authors here for a reason.
Most of it has to do with pretensions and scale but that does not mean there is no value in their work. They are not JUST memes. in fact, if anything it just goes to show how singular and important their work is, that so many people would be intimidated to the point of turning literary hardware into meme-vapor just to protect their self-conceptions.
just plow through it the first time. same with ulysses. you just get all that shit in your head and let it settle for a year or more, read a lot more, preferably the greeks. and then come back to it. repeat for the rest of your life and youll after maybe 5 or 6 reads know that the book is basically pynchon showing you how he undergoes sexual relations in a long term committed relationship with the same (language) person.
I honestly think the book's reputation is blown way out of proportion. It is hardly that surreal, that fragmented, that abstract etc.
You can trace the lines of some very little plot arcs throughout the book, it is just the book's intention to make these hard to trace, that is, you aren't asked to trace them. Otherwise it's pretty straightforward narrative with surreal setpieces here and there.
Thematically it's not that complex either.
Keep strong in reading it mate. It takes time, but as you read it over you discovery a lot of the complexity. Keep the central idea of the parabola of the bomb in mind along with the pretty basic modernistic themes. The partially fractured nature of the book tends to throw people off, but if you keep a sharp mind it shouldn't be too much of a problem.
THEY'RE NOT JUST MEMES, THEY'RE REAL. THEY'RE REALLY REALLY REAL.