Tyrone Slothrop, a GI in London in 1944, has a big problem. Whenever he gets an erection, a Blitz bomb hits. Slothrop gets excited, and then, as Thomas Pynchon puts it in his sibilant opening sentence, 'a screaming comes across the sky', heralding an angel of death, a V-2 rocket. Soon Tyrone is on the run from legions of bizarre enemies through the phantasmagoric horrors of Germany.
"Gravity's Rainbow" is never a single story, but a proliferation of characters - Pirate Prentice, Teddy Bloat, Tantivy Mucker-Maffick, Saure Bummer, and more - and events that tantalize the reader with suggestions of vast patterns only just past our comprehension. It is a blizzard of references to science, history, high culture, and the lowest of jokes and among the most important novels of our time.
Paperback, 902 pages