©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.
I will say that I do like Kurt Vonnegut's style and more than a handful of his books. His way of writing is like an old friend with sad news that will tell it to you straight. The story itself was Ah... hard to determine.
I liked certain parts. I liked the writing, but the story feels as though it's missing something. It's interesting, but there is something missing.... I don't know what it is.
Am I glad I listened to it?
Will I again sometime in the future.
Is it just me?
Very funny pieces/parts. Some of this made me laugh so hard it hurt. But as much as I wanted to love this book, I found my mind wandering many times. The back and forth of the teller, not the performer, kept losing my interest.
I love the way this book describes the world like a tour book for the planet.
Champions is a very Vonnegutty book. Its got all of the character depth with the coincidence and great dialogue.
My favorite scene in the book is when Killgore Trout is traveling with the truck driver and the truck driver is asking him questions about house siding. Its small and paced, but it really shows Trout in ways the other books haven't. He is more of a character and less of a caricature.
This is a silly question, but Vonnegut himself is the best character in the book. He portrays himself as a sloppy god figure. Who wouldn't want to get Italian food with a Godlike Vonnegut?
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