Pictures Showing What Happens on Each Page of Thomas Pynchon’s Novel Gravity’s Rainbow
Gravity’s Rainbow Illustrated: One Picture for Every Page features the work of an Ivy League-educated, punk-rock, porn-star visual artist who has created a drawing for every page of a novel that is widely considered to be the most difficult work of literature ever produced in English.
Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow (1973) has been called a modernFinnegans Wake for its challenging language, wild anachronisms, hallucinatory happenings, and fever-dream imagery. With Pictures Showing What Happens on Each Page of Thomas Pynchon’s Novel Gravity’s Rainbow, artist Zak Smith at once eases and expands readers’ experience of the twentieth-century classic. Smith has created more than 750 pages of drawings, paintings, and photos—each derived from a page of Pynchon’s novel. Extraordinary tableaux of the detritus of war—a burned-out Konigstiger tank, a melted machine gun—coexist alongside such fantasmagoric Pynchon inventions as the “stumbling bird” and “Grigori the octopus.” Smith has said he aimed to be “as literal as possible” in interpreting Gravity’s Rainbow, but his images are as imaginative and powerful as the prose they honor.