Gravity's Rainbow

For my birthday a couple of years ago, I was given by Gabe Trop a copy of Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow (inside the front cover is written, "Celloes Rule" [sic]). I remember seeing him carrying it around, with his trademark pen-as-a-bookmark, gushing uncontrollably about how it was so incredible. (This has to be taken with a grain of salt, as Gabe lives in a warped parallel universe which combines his philosophy background with unrestrained potty humor.) I have given the book three subway-days of reading in the last week, and having turned 180 of the 887 pages, I'm now trying to decide whether I should give up. It's difficult! Each paragraph by itself isn't so bad, but string them all together, and I'm not sure where the book is going. I feel like I have been opening up the book at random every time I start reading. Also, paragraphs themselves are often composed of one, long sentence, which sometimes can run on for more than a page at a time.

There is one neat thing I want to relate, however. The following passage had my mouth involuntarily salivating in induced sourness, and still has the same effect when I read it again:

Darlene, pure Nightingale compassion, is handing him a hard red candy, molded like a stylized raspberry ... mm, which oddly enough even tastes like a raspberry, though it can't begin to take away that bitterness. Impatiently, he bites into it, and in the act knows, fucking idiot, he's been had once more, there comes pouring out onto his tongue the most godawful crystalline concentration of Jeez, it must be pure nitric acid, "Oh mercy that's really sour," hardly able to get the words out he's so puckered up, exactly the sort of thing Hop Harrigan used to pull to get Tank Tinker to playing his ocarina, a shabby trick then and twice as reprehensible coming from an old lady who's supposed to be one of our Allies, shit he can't even see it's up his nose and whatever it is won't dissolve, just goes on torturing his shriveling tongue and crunches like ground glass among his molars.

Hmmm. Another thing that has me worried: I just flipped to the end, and the book ends with "--". This seems like a bad sign.