God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

Narrated by: Eric Michael Summerer
Length: 5 hrs and 29 mins
4 out of 5 stars (1,458 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Eliot Rosewater, a drunk volunteer fireman and president of the fabulously rich Rosewater Foundation, is about to attempt a noble experiment with human nature, with a little help from writer Kilgore Trout. The result is Kurt Vonnegut's funniest satire, an etched-in-acid portrayal of the greed, hypocrisy, and follies of the flesh we are all heir to.

As an added bonus, when you purchase our Audible Modern Vanguard production of Kurt Vonnegut's book, you'll also receive an exclusive Jim Atlas interview. This interview – where James Atlas interviews Gay Talese about the life and work of Kurt Vonnegut – begins as soon as the audiobook ends.

This production is part of our Audible Modern Vanguard line, a collection of important works from groundbreaking authors.
©1965 Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (P)2008 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"[Vonnegut] at his wildest best!" ( The New York Times Book Review)
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Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth.

...
It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter.
It's round and wet and crowded.
At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here.
There's only one rule that I know of, babies—
God damn it, you've got to be kind."

I've only got two big rules with my two babies. # 1 be happy, # 2 be kind. Everything else is negotable, babies.

It appears that Kurt Vonnegut independently arrived at the same conclusion. 'God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater' happens to be a fairly straight-forward novel about money and charity and kindness and sanity. Vonnegut's novel (subtitled 'Pearls before Swine') is about the Rosewater family and how they invest their efforts into a foundation as a means of keeping the government from taxing their money. The problem is Eliot Rosewater (the protagonist) ends up not caring much about money and being infinitely charitable and kind. This obviously is a form of insanity that either needs to be exploited (by lawyers) or protected (by family).

In some ways, in its heart, it reminds me of a simplified, satirized version of Dostoevsky's 'the Idiot'. When people are good, selfless, and caring in a world like the one we all live in, they must be stupid or a little nuts. They certainly aren't likely to survive.

17 people found this helpful

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A Story About Money

If you could sum up God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater in three words, what would they be?

The Money Shot

What was one of the most memorable moments of God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater?

Vonnegut has so many classic situations in his stories, that not only make you laugh but cry at the same time so its tough. But I would say when Rosewater comes to a moment of clarity at the end of the novel it really pulls the story together in a profound way. You may not like his response, but you must admit that it solidifies his narrative.

Which character – as performed by Eric Michael Summerer – was your favorite?

Rosewater. The images of him living day to day in squalor but being so happy and helping others was well done. "How Can We Help You"....terrific.

Who was the most memorable character of God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater and why?

The woman who called Rosewater up every day was my favorite for some reason. She was the average person who struggles to deal with life, the fact that Rosewater took time for her sums up the treatise of the novel. The everyday contains magical qualities that can never be overlooked, being kind to people is always a good investment.

Any additional comments?

Its almost impossible to review Vonnegut, who is my view is the most over looked and under rated American novelist ever. He wrote some of the best books in the American literary tradition. This book, though dated in some respects is timeless in others. I can understand why some people don't like his work, but if you do you owe it to yourself to listen to this well produced thoughtful version.

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Changed my view of money

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

"Thus did a handful of rapacious citizens come to control all that was worth controlling in America. Thus was the savage and stupid and entirely inappropriate and unnecessary and humorless American class system created. Honest, industrious, peaceful citizens were classed as bloodsuckers, if they asked to be paid a living wage. And they saw that praise was reserved henceforth for those who devised means of getting paid enormously for committing crimes against which no laws had been passed."

Wow.

Any additional comments?

This book speaks perfectly to our times. Poor people "earn" money while rich people "make" money. Money is a fiction we all buy into, without realizing the game is rigged.

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Not Vonnegut's best, but not bad

The topic of this book serves as a satirical commentary on American capitalism and the place that money - and the people who have it - hold within society. It is a theme worthy of exploration, but this book lacks the typical spot-on punch of Vonnegut's best work. The message still gets through and in a fairly entertaining fashion, but it falls short of ensuring a lasting impression.

Summerer's narration irritated me at first, but I soon warmed to him. His voice contains a gleeful irony that is perfect for Eliot Rosewater's particular brand of "madness."

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Ray's Reviews -

This is supposed to be one of Kurt Vonnegut's best novels, which is why I decided to check it out. It's okay, I can't knock Vonnegut for being Vonnegut, if you like Vonnegut, this novel will be like visiting paradise.

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It's Vonnegut. Obviously brilliant.

As everything else he's written, this story is perfect. The narrator did a good job as well.

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Interesting tale

I thought the performance was good. Not my favorite overall Vonnegut story, had great moments.

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Still Relevant After All These Years

This book is a tonic for anyone feeling overwhelmed by current events. Not a cure, of course, and it is disheartening that we are still dealing with the same issues, but perhaps we can be reassured that good will win eventually.

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It was a great experience!

I liked the characters of this book, they are well made, moderately funny, I like how he introduced certain types of people, you can find such characters everywhere even today. I need to digest this book, cause there's a lot to think about, I definitely recommend this book, and the narration is quite good!

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Dark comedy, less "bro" than I feared

This was my first Kurt Vonnegut. There's a certain kind of dude who can't shut up about how brilliant Vonnegut is and over the years I've sort of absorbed from them a feeling like maybe I should stay away.

But it's not 100% fair to judge a writer by his fans. This particular novel was a mildly amusing dark comedy about money and power and the abuse of booth. The performance was good, although the voices for some of the townspeople who call Mr. Rosewater on his phone got to be a bit much for me. Almost vaudevillian.

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Profile Image for Kieran Murphy
  • Kieran Murphy
  • 04-01-18

Perhaps it just wasn't for me

Would you try another book written by Kurt Vonnegut or narrated by Eric Michael Summerer?

Vonnegut is one of my favorite authors, but I could not stand the voices Eric gave to most of the cast. Possibly just a preference issue.I'll be back for more Vonnegut without a doubt. I always wondered why I never managed to re-read this book like I had with many of his others, definitely one of his weakest in my eyes.