200 words about Gravity's Rainbow
Seems sufficient, honestly
At the start of quarantine winter, I bought Gravity's Rainbow, clearly looking for a timesuck. A friend once sold me on the book as a case of form meeting function: A book "about" conspiracy theories that reproduced the paranoia in the reader. This is not global -- you are not sold that, like, the Bilderberg Group is engineering an apocalyptic sex plastic -- but rather a literary paranoia, a sense that every volumetric sentence somehow yields toward a greater whole, that all of these gawping metaphors might make sense if only you possessed a working knowledge in rocket design, chemistry, the Tarot, post-war European culture ... that Pynchon's endless ellipses and sometimes-unpleasant exploration of psychosexual vertices amount to a cohesive system. The book works, today, because this very paranoia is unresolvable: Any attempt to create order sends you spiraling down a rabbithole of Reddit threads and YouTube explainers, of disparate Wikipedia articles about genomes and geographies. Toward the end of the book, its entire plot is refracted in a passage about a witch wandering through a barren hellscape, an explanation not scientific but corporeal. It "proves" disorder by suggesting order, then yoking it out of reach. Anyway, it beats QAnon.