©1973 Kurt Vonnegut; (P)2003 HarperCollins Publishers
"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)
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.
I make my living as a truck driver. I fill the space between deliveries with audio books.
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.
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."
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.
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
Unique and wonderful and wry and fun and scary and odd and perfectly crafted (And very well read by Stanley Tucci.)
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.
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.
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.
This was my first Kurt Vonnegut book, print or audio.
I really liked it. BUT I can see were It would not be for everyone. The writing style might be to confusing or weird for everyone.
I would defiantly read/listen to another one of his books, when I'm in the right mood.
The story was well developed and I didn't know how it was going to end , well till the end. I found myself laughing out loud sometimes, and other times mouthing "what the f$%k".
I work in Financial Services and teach part time at a local university. I train in martial arts, enjoy heavy metal and love to read.
In some respects yes. Comedic elements are sometimes better when told. This book has comedic elements that are so funny that listening to them make them even more side splitting.
Oh geez...tough one....I would say Kilgore Trout. The name itself, based on Theodore Sturgeon is funny enough but the characterization of a prolific, unread writer is so clever. He appears in several KVJ novels, but this is the one that is the most memorable (to me).
I thought he was great. I honestly am a little put off when I see a famous actor as an Audible Reader (not sure why), but he did a spectacular job. Maybe I think a "name actor" will over act or be too much. He was great.
Movies ruin good books. I hope it is not made into a movie....
This story arch is where Vonnegut gets his reputation as an innovative writer. I am sure others have done it but not with this style. He deconstructs his characters, until they are not characters at all but self described literary devices for his story. He also uses meta-language to talk about himself and his own work in a way that pulls other novels into this story. This is a post modern approach that supports KVJ's reputation as an innovative, great American writer. It is profound, irreverent, bawdy, provocative and utterly entertaining.
"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.
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