There once was a man with erections
That helped him with rocket detections.
Whenever they fell
His penis would swell
Leading to screwball secret spy actions.
So, that was that. My first Pynchon.
Story-wise, I didn't find it „incomprehensible“ or even „hard to get“. I probably didn't understand all the references, and there might be some overlying metaphor or level of meaning I completely missed; but the story itself, about Slothrop & da bomb & all accompanying subplots, wasn't all that hard to follow. Okay, speaking German and knowing a lot about German history, especially WWII history, might have made things a bit easier. (If just Pynchon could've found anyone to correct his German grammar and spelling...)
That leaves me with the difficulty of rating this beast.
The craftsmanship here is astonishing. The prose... well, I'd have to invent new adjectives, because all I know in the English language don't really cover the brilliance. I enjoyed reading GR, for the most part. At times Pynchon's trying too hard to be provocative and transgressive, which reads as immature as it's boring. And the 4th part goes down reading like the Id-fic of a 4-year-old. Which may be the point, idk.
However, the book doesn't really pass the test of time. The Zeitgeist of the late 1960s/early 1970s is strong in this one. Whatever significance GR might have had back then seems a bit lost now. And from a book gathering all the praise and all the hatred, I'd expect a bit more: more significance, more timelessness, more of a challenge.
Now, does that equal a 3 or a 4 star rating?