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Breakfast of Champions | [Kurt Vonnegut]

Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast of Champions is vintage Vonnegut. One of his favorite characters, aging writer Kilgore Trout, finds to his horror that a Midwest car dealer is taking his fiction as truth. The result is murderously funny satire as Vonnegut looks at war, sex, racism, success, politics, and pollution in America and reminds us how to see the truth.
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Publisher's Summary

Breakfast of Champions is vintage Vonnegut. One of his favorite characters, aging writer Kilgore Trout, finds to his horror that a Midwest car dealer is taking his fiction as truth. The result is murderously funny satire as Vonnegut looks at war, sex, racism, success, politics, and pollution in America and reminds us how to see the truth.

©1973 Kurt Vonnegut; (P)2003 HarperCollins Publishers

What the Critics Say

"It's marvelous...he wheels out all the complaints about America and makes them seem fresh, funny, outrageous, hateful, and lovable." (The New York Times)
"Vonnegut is George Orwell, Dr. Caligari, and Flash Gordon compounded into one writer....A zany but moral mad scientist." (Time)
"Free-wheeling, wild, and great....Uniquely Vonnegut." (Publishers Weekly)
"Stanley Tucci delivers a superbly sly interpretation of this fare. He affects a laid-back, melancholy style, using his excellent timing and spurts of mischief to bring home the sardonic humor and irony with which the book is larded." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (580 )
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4.2 (230 )
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  •  
    Glenn Louisville, KY, USA 04-16-08
    Glenn Louisville, KY, USA 04-16-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "My favorite Vonnegut book"

    I see that there are a lot of bad reviews for this book. It is not a typical book, thus people find it weird or boring. But as another review pointed out, this book is written from the point of view of the author telling another, possibly alien, 3rd party what his characters are doing, and remaining strictly non-partial and non-judgmental, no matter how harsh, evil, or crazy things are. The setting is in the '70's, and the narrator/author describes the things and places there in a way so that someone who has never been to the '70's can understand them. In this way, the novel actually becomes newer the older it gets.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Brown Deer, WI, United States 09-12-07
    Charles Brown Deer, WI, United States 09-12-07 Member Since 2005

    I make my living as a truck driver. I fill the space between deliveries with audio books.

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    "So THAT's what all the fuss is about..!"

    The only other Vonnegut I've read is Hocus Pocus (which was very good) but I've always wondered why some of his older books are referenced so widely in pop culture and literature, now I know. He's like a postmodern Mark Twain. More interestingly, I can see that many authors after him have been "ripping off" (...um... imitating) his writing style. He tells a story in a way that's very intimate and personal, it feels like he's writing to directly to you.
    I've been told that this isn't the best representation of his work since it's more of a book length philosophical musing, if that's the case, I'll have to add all his other works to my list. As a warning, note that this book is rated-R. While Vonnegut never gets nasty or raunchy, he does get a little naughty in spots of this book.

    The reading by Stanley Tucci is one of the best I've heard. This isn't just a novelty, "celebrity" appearance, Tucci's acting talent makes him a top notch reader.

    This audio book has a 5 minute interview with Vonnegut at the end. It's a nice treat, but superfluous.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Grant NANTUCKET, MA, United States 03-10-13
    Grant NANTUCKET, MA, United States 03-10-13 Member Since 2008

    caffeinated

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    "Must Experience"

    Unique and wonderful and wry and fun and scary and odd and perfectly crafted (And very well read by Stanley Tucci.)

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    no te metas con el furioso Tennessee 05-27-11
    no te metas con el furioso Tennessee 05-27-11 Listener Since 2005

    el furioso

    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    "One of my favorites"

    This book takes you on a outlandish journey into the mind of insanity. By the end, you have laughed so much your stomach hurts and thought so much that your brain hurts.......helluva great book. I love Stanley Tucci's reading too. BUY IT BUY IT BUY IT BUY IT

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roger Conner Oak Park, IL United States 05-29-07
    Roger Conner Oak Park, IL United States 05-29-07 Member Since 2003

    rwconner

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    "Archetypal Vonnegut"

    Although Vonnegut never says so, the events of the book are being described as if to an alien. This is his way of clearing his mind to look at people's prejudices and absurdities anew with no historical or cultural assumptions as if he were a child experiencing them for the first time, but a child with an adult mind. This enables him to convey his bitter cynicism about human beings with a sense of ironic humor worthy of Mark Twain. Our imaginations are "flywheels on the ramshackle machinery of the awful truth"--i.e., we have to make up stories to sugar coat the reality of human visciousness, selfishness, and stupidity. The lesson is: "WE ARE HEALTHY ONLY TO THE EXTENT THAT OUR IDEAS ARE HUMANE."

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Qbook Betterton, MD, USA 07-30-04
    Qbook Betterton, MD, USA 07-30-04 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "So Vonnegut & Well Read"

    Okay, another Vonnegut book, and as always, right from the prologue I was caught by the throat and then thrown into Vonnegut's world--but the scary part is that it is not his world, it is our world. I love the reflexive nature of this book, and I guess it could get boring after a bit, but Vonnegut handles it very well and always keeps us caring about the characters, of which Vonnegut himself is one.

    13 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Delman San Francisco 09-10-14
    Richard Delman San Francisco 09-10-14 Member Since 2006

    65 y/o father of two sons. Married 25 yrs. Audible member for 8 yrs. I can hardly read books with my eyes any more. I love reviewing.

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    "Hogwash."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    There is absolutely nothing which would do that.


    What was most disappointing about Kurt Vonnegut’s story?

    This is a book which should never have been published. Mr. Vonnegut's successes were well known in the last century, and so, being a celebrity of the publishing world, he must have thought that simply anything that he put on paper, no matter how preposterous, was worth reading. In the case of this book, he was wrong.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Stanley Tucci?

    Actually, I love Stanley Tucci. I have watched him in a number of movies, and have been seriously impressed by his acting chops (don't you just love these words?). However, there is no narrator, not even Frank Muller or Edoardo Ballerini, who could have transformed this hogwash into something worth reading. You can put lipstick on a pig...


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Not a one.


    Any additional comments?

    Nope.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rochelle Dunedin, New Zealand 11-01-13
    Rochelle Dunedin, New Zealand 11-01-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Best of Vonnegut"

    This book is Vonnegut at his finest.

    Throughout the book he never failed to catch me off guard & yet it all made strange sense somehow, in a solipsistic style. If you've enjoyed other Vonnegut stories but haven't read this one yet it is well worth it.

    The characters are well done but it is the moments when the author inserts himself into his own story that I found most startling & hilarious.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Grand Prairie, TX, United States 11-19-12
    Amazon Customer Grand Prairie, TX, United States 11-19-12 Member Since 2010

    I was born near Chicago, and moved to Texas 22 years ago. I taught high-school English for probably too many years. Love a good mystery.

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    "Comic Relief"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Breakfast of Champions to be better than the print version?

    A very difficult read for me,
    but it was worth it. Made me question just why I was laughing so hard in parts. I guess it made me aware again of all the usual problems of society , but he does it in an unusual and original way. Sorry I missed this one when it first came out.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diana 08-09-14
    Diana 08-09-14 Member Since 2007
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    "Guess you have to already be a fan"

    One of the most pointless and annoying books I've read. After reading the great reviews, I gave it a try as my first Vonnegut book. I will not be reading any more of his works. Painful to get through.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 21 results PREVIOUS123NEXT
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  • Ben
    Chesham, Bucks, United Kingdom
    6/27/07
    Overall
    "packed wuth vitamins & irony"

    This striking book makes complusive listening. Kurt Vonnegut offers up all kinds of things between the begining and the end of the story including theories on human sexuality, spirituality, mental illness, the racial divide in America and tap dancing as a means of communication. Things get increasingly strange towards the end but even at it's most unhinged this is a fascinating novel expertly read.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Neil S. Reddy
    England
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Champion Book"
    Would you listen to Breakfast of Champions again? Why?

    Yes I would listen to it again; in fact as soon as it ended I restarted it again.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Breakfast of Champions?

    The brutal use of a piano


    What about Stanley Tucci’s performance did you like?

    Great, engaging performance


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    F you could you would


    Any additional comments?

    I think this is as good as Slaughter House 5

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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