I'm not ashamed to admit it took me two months to read this, and a lot of it was over my head. I bought the companion book about 1/4 the way through, and it greatly enhanced my appreciation of the book. In principle I don't like companion books, since they tend to steer the reader towards one interpretation to the exclusion of others. I enjoyed the work for its quirky, heavily layered style, and for the multitude of unusual plot strings. How many books about World War II include a subplot about indiginous peoples living in the German colonies of subSaharan Africa? I also like Pynchon's exploration of Germany immediately after the war... the social upheaval, people trying to put their lives back together, and the struggle to survive in those days when the fighting had ended but the infrastructure has not yet been reestablished. Would I want to read more books written (overwritten) in this style? No, but this was a reading experience worth having. I don't know whether the time and effort invested to get through this was well spent, but at least I have the satisfaction of accomplishment. Like climbing a mountain, there are some books that give me a sense of satisfaction just knowing that I "conquered" them. Gravity's Rainbow and The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire are two such works.