Gravity’s Rainbow is a 1973 novel first published by Viking Press by the American writer Thomas Pynchon. 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. In particular, it features the quest undertaken by several characters to uncover the secret of a mysterious device, the Schwarzgerät (“black device”), which is slated to be installed in a rocket with the serial number “00000.”
Traversing a wide range of knowledge, Gravity’s Rainbow transgresses boundaries between high and low culture, between literary propriety and profanity, and between science and speculative metaphysics. It shared the 1974 US National Book Award for Fiction with A Crown of Feathers and Other Stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer. Although selected by the Pulitzer Prize jury on fiction for the 1974 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the Pulitzer Advisory Board was offended by its content, some of which was described as “‘unreadable,’ ‘turgid,’ ‘overwritten’ and in parts ‘obscene’”. No Pulitzer Prize was awarded for fiction that year. The novel was nominated for the 1973 Nebula Award for Best Novel.Time named Gravity’s Rainbow one of its “All-Time 100 Greatest Novels”, a list of the best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005 and it is considered by many critics to be one of the greatest American novels ever written.
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