As an added bonus, when you purchase any of our Audible Modern Vanguard productions of Kurt Vonnegut's books, you'll also get an exclusive Jim Atlas interview added to your library.
This production is part of our Audible Modern Vanguard line, a collection of important works from groundbreaking authors.
©1966 Kurt Vonnegut; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.
"Vonnegut is George Orwell, Dr. Caligari, and Flash Gordon compounded into one writer...a zany but moral mad scientist." (Time)
Say something about yourself!
My sister, a librarian and crazy mad Vonnegut fan (when he passed away she actually wrote the eulogy for her town's local newspaper), said to me when she suggested this book, that Mother Night is probably Vonnegut's most underappreciated novel, while Vonnegut himself considered it one of his best. His other personal favorites?: Slaughterhouse 5, and Cat's Cradle. She is a librarian with a PhD, so I don't argue literature with her. Having finally read this, I have to agree with my little sis, and say this is my second favorite Vonnegut book.
He backs into this read, starting the story with the moral: "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." Howard Campbell proceeds to narrate his story from inside an Israeli jail cell, where he is about to be tried for war crimes, "I am an American by birth, a Nazi by reputation, and a nationless person by inclination." The book examines moral ambiguity, and in true Vonnegut style, provokes the reader to a powerful, and emotional indictment against the crimes of complacency, apathy, and omission. Even from the antagonist himself we get a sense of ambiguity as we question his reliability; so apathetic about his own integrity, does anything he says have validity. Towards the ending of his story, and possibly his life, I had the sense that Howard finally looked into himself, called out for answers, and realized he heard only empty echoes--the loneliness is painful and devastating.
Vonnegut's hallmark nonchalance appears, but as the sinister version of nonchalance, and his usual gallows humor seems to question whether it is too dark to allow any brevity. So what is there to enjoy in a story that I have described as so bleak? The answer is the magic of Vonnegut's writing -- to feel yourself respond to the quiet evil you experience in this story -- it is hearing your own conscience speaking back to you, affirming your integrity as Vonnegut intends. This may be his most contemplative book--it will definitely exercise your own morality, even leave you with a little after-burn. "All that is needed for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing"... *so it goes,* ...always. Top rate production, as is always my experience with the Audible Vanguard series. You may not love this like S5 or CC, but it is a must for fans of Vonnegut.
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