Like with any of Thomas Pynchon’s novels, stick-to-itivness pays off in the end, rewarding a careful and conscientious reader with a bounty of literary delights.
The idea of a transitory stage is age-old; the period setting is familiar to us Americans even in these 150 years separated from the Civil War—the war that still defines our national psyche, that tried to account for this nation's original sin. So it got me wondering, what can Saunders bring to fairly well-traveled terrain?
In Pynchonian light, Kim is a rocket man but Trump is the rocket man on Viagra. In Gravity’s Rainbow, rockets are compared with towers such as the Tower of Babel, constructs of pride and greed. Trump is the builder of towers, those structures in the sky that have his name blazoned on them. Trump’s association of himself with his buildings as giant phalluses is no accident, for he identifies power in sexual terms. He is the male master whose wake is filled with subjugated women.