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1. Cat's Cradle: A Novel
2. Breakfast of Champions: A Novel
3. Mother Night
4. Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel
5. Look at the Birdie: Unpublished
6. The Sirens of Titan: A Novel
7. Bluebeard: A Novel (Delta Fiction)
8. Welcome to the Monkey House: Stories
9. Jailbird: A Novel
10. God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
11. Hocus Pocus
12. Armageddon in Retrospect
13. A Man Without a Country
14. Galapagos: A Novel (Delta Fiction)
15. Slapstick or Lonesome No More!:
16. Player Piano
17. Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical
18. Deadeye Dick: A Novel
19. Timequake
20. While Mortals Sleep: Unpublished

1. Cat's Cradle: A Novel
by Kurt Vonnegut
Paperback: 304 Pages (1998-09-08)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$7.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 038533348X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
One of Vonnegut's major works, this is an apocalyptic tale of the planet's ultimate fate, featuring a cast of unlikely heroes.Amazon.com Review
Cat's Cradle, one of Vonnegut's most entertainingnovels, is filled with scientists and G-men and even ordinary folkscaught up in the game. These assorted characters chase each otheraround in search of the world's most important and dangeroussubstance, a new form of ice that freezes at room temperature. At onetime, this novel could probably be found on the bookshelf of everycollege kid in America; it's still a fabulous read and a great placeto start if you're young enough to have missed the first Vonnegutcraze. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (406)

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing Book
Before I say anything about the book, I have to say that I chose to read this book from a rather short list for a school project in Essay Writing.That being said, I loved the book.

Almost every single book that I have needed to read for school rubbed me the wrong way for one reason or another.The most common is that it was too boring.Cat's Cradle defies that and was instantly put near the top of my book list that I recommend to people.

I was hooked after reading the first two chapters in the book, which for Cat's Cradle total four or five pages.The chapter were amazingly short, some only a few pages in length.To me, this made to book feel like it was going by really fast.I read through the book in only a few days (books usually take me a few weeks in contrast).

Vonnegut's use of sarcasm and satire is made me laugh out loud and question the stability of our government.He dives into the tangled nature of science and religion and embeds doubt into the reader.

I am a total science fiction and a science geek and when I heard from my teacher this had a sci-fi aspect, I jumped on it.I am pleased with how the sci-fi part of the novel and the regular part of the novel are balanced and mixed with each other.

Overall I rate this book very high, hence the five stars.I recommend this book to everybody that I meet, even total strangers because of the awesome factor of the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cat's Cradle a Satirical Masterpiece
Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, chronicles John, a man searching for answers about the atomic bomb dropping on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. Throughout the book John meets a variety of people from scientists to the children of the creator of the atomic bomb. Vonnegut pokes fun at aspects of human nature such as religion, greed, and sin all in a manner that will keep the reader laughing throughout the novel. Vonnegut makes accurate satirical comments about many groups and institutions that Americans follow blindly. For example, John claims he was once a Bokonon, and throughout the book he searches for the members of his karass. In the end, he finds Lionel Johnson, the final member of his karass and the creator of Bokononism, only to find out that Johnson thinks religion is a complete waste of time! Vonnegut's dry humor makes the decisions of humans seem almost idiotic and the ridiculous scenarios he creates cause the reader to truly question human nature. The use of ice-nine at the end of the book displayed the greedy nature of human beings to simply do whatever best suits them without worrying about the greater good of a population.

Cat's Cradle is definitely an interesting and fun read. It can be finished quickly and it definitely has a lot to enjoy. If you get the chance I would absolutely recommend reading this hilarious, satirical novel.

5-0 out of 5 stars Vonnegut Is A Master Of Black Satire
Cat's Cradle is a wonderful story craftily told. Vonnegut's writing style is simple and straightforward. There are surprises in every chapter, laughs, and a type of bravado only dreamed of in lesser writers. Cat's Cradle has inspired me to seek out other Vonnegut titles.

5-0 out of 5 stars Vonnegut's best book
I read this book years ago and reread it recently.It is excellent.In truth, Vonnegut was sporadically a very good writer, but not a great writer. This ishis very best book, and the only one that has stuck with me over the expanse of time. He himself gave it an A+, while being objectively hard on most of his other books.

Its fun,its thoughtful,its a fast read. And it stuck with me over 30 years to be one of the very few books that I wanted read a second time.That proved to be a good choice.

I recommend it to the many others out there who read Vonnegut years ago,and to the young readers who never did.

1-0 out of 5 stars Depressing, like he always is
This guy is just so horribly depressing. I thought he was a humanist but he's just obsessed with the abyss. Sad. ... Read more

2. Breakfast of Champions: A Novel
by Kurt Vonnegut
Paperback: 303 Pages (1999-05-11)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$7.39
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385334206
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
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.Amazon.com Review
"We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas arehumane." So reads the tombstone of downtrodden writer KilgoreTrout, but we have no doubt who's really talking: his alter ego KurtVonnegut. Health versus sickness, humanity versus inhumanity--bothsets of ideas bounce through this challenging and funny book. As withthe rest of Vonnegut's pure fantasy, it lacks the shimmering, fact-fueled rage that illuminates Slaughterhouse-Five. At the sametime, that makes this book perhaps more enjoyable toread.

Breakfast of Champions is a slippery, lucid, bleaklyhumorous jaunt through (sick? inhumane?) America circa 1973, withVonnegut acting as our Virgil-like companion. The book follows itsmain character, auto-dealing solid-citizen Dwayne Hoover, down intomadness, a condition brought on by the work of the aforementionedKilgore Trout. As Dwayne cracks, then crumbles, Breakfast ofChampions coolly shows the effects his dementia has on the web ofcharacters surrounding him. It's not much of a plot, but it's enoughfor Vonnegut to air unique opinions on America, sex, war, love, andall of his other pet topics--you know, the only ones that reallycount. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (271)

3-0 out of 5 stars too much and not enough.
I'm 35, have been working with books for well over a decade, and had never read a Vonnegut book 'til now. Needless to say, I've been very much aware of the man. A high percentile of co-workers and customers and friends through the years have sworn by Vonnegut. Skims every so often failed to lure me in, but a copy of "BoC" fell into my hands recently, so I thought, okay, let's see what this guy is about already.

I think I might have been more into it had I read it when I was younger, which is when people usually begin their acquaintanceship with his books. At this point, however, there's nothing remotely revelatory in his satire. It's all rather savagely caustic, and rightly so on most counts. But the foibles of America and Americans is (as it was then) the most obvious of targets, and I don't read books in order to knowingly nod my head in agreement.For one who isn't all the way through the looking-glass, so to speak, this book is perhaps to be recommended. If you've already been caught up and learned to observe the illusory spectacles of the hyper-capitalist world for what they are, it's not a particularly enlightening perusal of 300 pages.

Or really, 200 pages, since so much space is needlessly wasted with deliberately juvenile drawings which, from my perspective, are far more irritating than amusing. Where Vonnegut's infusion of high comedy is concerned, I admit to laughing out loud once - it was at the description of one of Kilgore Trout's plot synopses - but only that once. The "and so on"s and other repetitive devices just don't strike me as terribly witty. The elementary-school presentations of adult subjects made me feel as if I was reading a prose version of Shel Silverstein. Taking this in, along with the cavalier vulgarity which is as much a unifying theme as anything actually useful in the writing, leaves one with the sense that Vonnegut may have been a little too irreverent for his own good.

The cheap metaphysics thrown in toward the end with Vonnegut inserting himself into the "plot" is moderately compelling - the rumination on free will (or, if he's truly as cynical as it would appear, the lack thereof) is about as clear a true theme as there is to be found here amongst all the bilious contempt heaved forth from his pen - but the book is so thoroughly muddled and glibly haphazard (there are so many characters who appear briefly or float peripherally around Trout and Dwayne Hoover that it makes you wonder if Vonnegut had any idea while he was writing if they were going to reappear later in the book or not) that it seems sort of out of place by that point to suggest there is any serious agenda in mind other than to effectively offend the mindset of anything and anyone he apparently considers to be typically American. And while that kind of thing can elicit more than a few knowing grins, mostly it's just kind of boring. Vonnegut doesn't do a whole lot more here to create a air of substance than the various elements of society that he's too busy idly skewering like a Mad magazine staffer. Frankly, he seems a little too proud of his artlessness to convincingly create the effect that he's in fact exploring deep literary or philosophical concerns. I do believe Vonnegut very much had intentions of being a serious author, but he works so hard to get in his own way of being taken seriously that one is more likely to be left with a different impression instead.

So no, I wasn't overly impressed. I might give him another shot but I'm not in any hurry.

4-0 out of 5 stars martini anyone?
read this one before cats cradle.i enjoyed this book very much but cats cradle blows it out of the water

5-0 out of 5 stars Such a good book
This was my second Vonnegut book. I thoroughly enjoyed BoC. It made me want to read the rest of Vonnegut's stories!

I've described this book to friends thusly: If I ever met anyone from outside of this world, I would give them this book as a primer on humanity.

5-0 out of 5 stars Kurt Vonnegut equals genius
anything Kurt has ever written is amazing
my summer going into senior year of high school my summer professor turned me onto him with Cats Cradle. Breakfast of Champions, or Goodbye Blue Monday, far surpasses that novel.

5-0 out of 5 stars I Wish Vonnegut was my Dad!!!
There were multiple times that I broke out in hysterical laughter with this book. There were just a few times that I experienced intense feelings of 'pissed off.' And so on. This book was highly enjoyable and gave an incredibly satirical look at Western culture (Mainly the US). Vonnegut is witty, rye, matter-of-fact. The detached perspective of the author included in this book gives a fresh meaning to the subjects he is writing about, and his use of words is entrancing in a way that lets the reader know that this book was written to show the problems and issues that are so prevalent in America. He even has the most descriptive ways to explain such atrocities. Vonnegut tackles the issues of now in a painful way, showing us how the truth about ourselves can be just as disgusting as the Creator of the Universe saw things in his own book.In a way, it shows the reader the relationship of author/character is a story. That with fiction, anything is possible, and including some of real life into it, makes the reader think more in depth about the way they live their life.

My new favorite Vonnegut book. Even ahead of Galapagos, and Hocus Pocus!

ETC. ... Read more

3. Mother Night
by Kurt Vonnegut
Paperback: Pages (2006)
-- used & new: US$9.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0021M5762
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (114)

5-0 out of 5 stars The potential power of writing is fully realized here
My first Vonnegut book shook me firmly and often. Here is the best book I have read so far this year. American Howard W. Campbell Jr. winds up living in Germany in the pre-world war years, due to family circumstances. When war breaks out there, he is an unassuming playwright. He is recruited as an American spy agent, and agrees, without much conviction, to give it a try. He is wildly successful, not only for the Americans, but for the Germans as well. His role there as a radio propagandist earns him legions of devout young followers, and he quickly rises in prestige among the German Reich. And his own identity, if he ever really had one, becomes murky in the life that has taken shape for him. The story follows him as decades go by after the war, and he is living an unassuming life in America again, except for his status as a Nazi war criminal. He has seemingly been abandonded by his Amercian government.

The book is short, and is packed with powerful moments. It is impressive how the imagery and moods are so effectively laid out with each short scene. Every few pages evokes emotion that should have taken many chapters to achieve. Campbell is a brutally honest character when it comes to his analysis of his own nature, feelings, actions and intentions. The story is told in the format of a journal he is writing about his experiences, while awaiting his war trial. Verdicts are left to the reader, as to what his responsibility truly was. I found him to be a very tragic figure, all in all, perhaps unable to sort out for himself what his true identity and nature was.

Broken down, this could be another case to support the "war is hell" theme. But it is, at its heart, a study of human character. It is, I believe, a celebration of the written word. Vonnegut throws that party like few I have read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Howard Campbell, the Man and his Guilt
This is one of Kurt Vonnegut's greatest pieces of literature that offers the reader a look into what happens when you pretend to be something you are not.Whether you make a new face for yourself believing it to be for the right reasons or not, there are always consequences.Having agreed to become a spy within Nazi Germany, our protagonist is so effective at spewing propaganda that when the time comes no one believes the actual truth of the matter regarding Howard Campbell Jr.

His life after the war in a cramped New York apartment is both terrifying for him and depressing, if not boring at times.The real poignancy of this story comes from the interactions between what our main character is supposed to be (a brutal Nazi supporter), truly is (one of the greatest spies of WWII), wants to be, and what happens because of the choices he has made in his not-so-real life.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Morality Play
I love this book.I think it is an excellent and somewhat terrifying examination of the concept of moral responsibility.The narrator is conscious of the harm he can cause if he manipulates the truth so he consciously realizes that he is even more guilty of atrocities than those who truly believe in their cause and commit evil out of ignorance or some kind of deep psychological disturbance (or blind faith).Wow.

5-0 out of 5 stars "What You Are and What You Pretend to Be"
It's hard to overdo the superlatives when reviewing Kurt Vonnegut, so when describing the classic "Mother Night," "unparalleled" comes pretty easily.This is an extraordinary novel that will smack you like a two-by-four between the eyes on many levels.There's man's inhumanity to man in the unthinkable atrocities of Hitler's Germany, told unvarnished yet without the more typically requisite hand-wringing.And then there's the deeply emotional love story told, I thought, with a passion uncommon in Vonnegut's scalpel-edged cynicism and black humor.But most extraordinary in this masterpiece is the dissection of moral dilemma, told from the viewpoint of protagonist Howard W. Campbell.Campbell was born in America but lived in Germany since childhood, rising to become Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbel's chief radio voice of The Third Reich - an American spewing hate for America andfor Jews while heaping praise upon his jack-booted Nazi masters.A man justifiably despised by Israel and the west as a traitor and monster, except for one cruel Vonnegutian twist: Campbell is a deep - very deep - undercover agent for the US, who throughout the war infused his hate-speech with coded messages greatly aiding the war effort of the ally forces.

Campbell tells his story in 1961 while in an Israeli prison cell awaiting trail as a Nazi war criminal.From his days in Germany treading a dangerous path between the fascists and the shadowy spy master who pulls his strings to a cloistered secret life in New York City following the war, Vonnegut spins a tale that is wholly immersive - a haunting story of a man who has played both on poles for so long that his morale compass can no longer distinguish north from south.And if Campbell's life and head wasn't already muddled enough, Vonnegut delivers one final mean twist via the Soviet Union that is as ironic as it is unexpected.

A few years back, the talented Martin Cruz Smith wrote a scorching soul-searcher, "December 6" of an American ex-pat in Tokyo immediately prior to Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.Looking back, and taking nothing away from Smith's extraordinary effort, it seems clear that "Mother Night" influenced and inspired Smith in crafting his own treatise of the kind of moral vs. patriotic conflict that war can produce."Mother Night" is that kind of book - one that you'll remember, one that will haunt you - one of those rare books you'll want to keep handy to refer back to from time to time.A milepost of American fiction from a 20th Century master - a classic that is long overdue in replacing Charles Dickens or Willa Cather in the fiction our kids are fed in high school English classes.

4-0 out of 5 stars A powerful novel about one man's living with guilt
Howard W. Campbell is an American playwright and poet who lives a quiet and secluded life in Greenwich Village.It is many years after the end of World War II.Campbell's cover is finally blown: he is uncovered as an evil, pro-Nazi radio propagandist.The truth is that Campbell really worked as an American spy in Germany during the war.Campbell's mailbox becomes innundated by pamplets from modern day krypto-Nazis and Campbell becomes a much hated man. What can Campbell do but turn himself over to Israeli agents and be tried for his war crimes and crimes against humanity?

Campbell, himself, suffered personal tragedy during the war.He fell in love with and married a German woman named Helga who had died during the war.All Campbell wants is to be reunited with his beloved Helga (obviously impossible).This a very powerful and sad, yet comic, novel.Vonnegut analyzes the guilt that people often feel when they become so involved and overly identified with an evil cause.That person may actually come to believe that he really did and said horrible things (and Campbell did just that) and forget that he was really working for the other side.Vonnegut tells his tale in a poignant, frightening, and often comic way, for which the author has been justly celebrated.
... Read more

4. Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel
by Kurt Vonnegut
Paperback: 288 Pages (1999-01-12)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$6.42
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385333846
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Launched in November, Dell's Kurt Vonnegut reissue program continues with one of the world's great anti-war books. Centering on the infamous firebombing of Dresden, Billy Pilgrim's odyssey through time reflects the mythic journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we are afraid to know.Amazon.com Review
Kurt Vonnegut's absurdistclassic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomesunstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planetTralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we followPilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating onhis (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner ofwar who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.

Don't let the ease of reading fool you--Vonnegut's isn't a conventional, orsimple, novel. He writes, "There are almost no characters in this story, and almost no dramaticconfrontations, because most of the people in it are so sick, and somuch the listless playthings of enormous forces. One of the main effectsof war, after all, is that people are discouraged from beingcharacters..." Slaughterhouse-Five (taken from the name of the building where thePOWs were held) is not only Vonnegut's most powerful book, it is asimportant as any written since 1945. Like Catch-22, it fashions theauthor's experiences in the Second World War into an eloquent and deeplyfunny plea against butchery in the service of authority. Slaughterhouse-Five boasts the same imagination, humanity, and gleefulappreciation of the absurd found in Vonnegut's other works, but thebook's basis in rock-hard, tragic fact gives it a unique poignancy--andhumor. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (791)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great book for for anyone
The book slaughter house five is a excelent book, that has a very in depth plot.Itstarts out in the point of view of the author, describing how he wrote the book.It then moves into a character who thinks he can move through time.It is almost to fictional to believe but the narator inserts himself into the story to make ist seem real.It allows the reader to decide if it is true story or fictional story.For example, one person might see it as a the character trying to escape reality while someone else might see it as the main character really depressed and drugged out person.Personally, the way I see the character is as a war verteran with PTSD.Even so, every persons opion will differ.

To enjoy this book there are a few key points one should know.
1. The first chapter is written by the author and therefore not in the same point of view as the rest of the book.
2. The bombingof Dreesden was a very large part of the main characters wartime experience.
3. It has some very dark humor, and therefore the whole book should not be taken seriously, rather it is for the reader to decide what is serious and what is a joke.

5-0 out of 5 stars Absurd, yet Powerful
Slaughterhouse-Five is, as its jacket cover boasts, "one of the world's great antiwar books." Centered around the infamous firebombing of Dresden in late World War II, the novel takes its readers on a ridiculous journey through the life of Billy Pilgrim, a detached sort of fellow who has become unstuck in time. As sad as it is hilarious, Slaughterhouse-Five is a thought-provoking novel whose morals are disguised by absurdity. Be prepared for Vonnegut's refreshingly strange writing style; the book is much more enjoyable if you let Vonnegut carry you away to his unique and darkly humorous world. It takes some effort to decipher the novel's abstruse themes, but there is much to be learned from Billy's search for meaning in a seemingly meaningless world.

5-0 out of 5 stars A painful, beautiful look at history, violence, and humanity
It's probably been over a decade since I last read Slaughterhouse Five, but after recommending it to a student who's been excitedly reading through it, I got the urge to dive back into Vonnegut's world again. There are few who don't know what Slaughterhouse Five is about, but for the unaware, it's the tale of Billy Pilgrim, a WWII veteran who was present at the fire-bombing of Dresden and now finds himself "unstuck" in time, catapulting around through his life. Of course, it's also the story of Vonnegut himself, as he deals with his memories of Dresden and tries to find some meaning behind it all. There's so much beauty and honesty in Slaughterhouse Five that it's hard to know where to start. Vonnegut's rambling, train-of-thought style isn't for all tastes, but for those who lose themselves in his world, it allows for marvelous asides and powerful moments, as well as Vonnegut's typically cynical optimism. As much of a contradiction as that sounds, it's the only way I know how to describe Vonnegut's work - there's no doubt that he's deeply cynical about the world and humankind, but he nonetheless hopes for better, hopes for improvement and wishes that people could learn from the past. And there are moments of stunning beauty and hope here - for instance, the quiet and profoundly moving sequence when Pilgrim watches a war film unfold backwards, watching as American and German planes slowly suck wounds and shrapnel from the cities and soldiers before delivering the bombs home to be dismantled and taken away where they will never be used again, or the overwhelming pain of the Dresden bombing itself. As much as Slaughterhouse Five is known for its humor, it's a quiet, dark humor, more of a bemusement at the world around it as a satire. But what lingers is not the humor; it's Vonnegut's inimitable, wonderful world view, one that I miss as the world continues to change on a daily basis. But, as the man himself wrote: So it goes.

5-0 out of 5 stars Precious gems scattered throughout...
A perfect novel?No.Nothing's perfect.A brilliant novel?Yes.One of my favorites.Why?Because Vonnegut had the ability to create humor amidst tragedy.And the storytelling is told in an unpretentious manner.Gems scattered throughout this meandering tale but left exposed for others to discover.This is a literary gift that only an accomplished calculated writer can deliver.Vonnegut was no dummy.In this novel he created a literary device that was - and still is - ingenious.Simply put, it is an anti-war novel in which the mind of a prisoner-of-war veteran becomes, as Vonnegut says, "unstuck in time" - with no control over where he will be next.Maybe not everyone can relate, but I certainly can.It influenced me to become a novelist too.

5-0 out of 5 stars Worthy Of Its Reputation
If you are not a huge Vonnegut fan I think you will still enjoy this book. If you a Vonnegut fan and have not read it yet (shame on you) you will love it. ... Read more

5. Look at the Birdie: Unpublished Short Fiction
by Kurt Vonnegut
Hardcover: 272 Pages (2009-10-20)
list price: US$27.00 -- used & new: US$13.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 038534371X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Look at the Birdie is a collection of fourteen previously unpublished short storiesfrom one of the most original writers in all of American fiction. In this seriesof perfectly rendered vignettes, written just as he was starting to find his comicvoice, Kurt Vonnegut paints a warm, wise, and funny portrait of life in post—WorldWar II America–a world where squabbling couples, high school geniuses, misfit officeworkers, and small-town lotharios struggle to adapt to changing technology, moralambiguity, and unprecedented affluence.

Here are tales both cautionary and hopeful,each brimming with Vonnegut's trademark humor and profound humanism. A family learnsthe downside of confiding their deepest secrets into a magical invention. A man findshimself in a Kafkaesque world of trouble after he runs afoul of the shady underworldboss who calls the shots in an upstate New York town. A quack psychiatrist turned"murder counselor" concocts a novel new outlet for his paranoid patients. While thesestories reflect the anxieties of the postwar era that Vonnegut was so adept at capturing– and provide insight into the development of his early style–collectively, they havea timeless quality that makes them just as relevant today as when they were written.It's impossible to imagine any of these pieces flowing from the pen of another writer;each in its own way is unmistakably, quintessentially Vonnegut.

Featuring a Forewordby author and longtime Vonnegut confidant Sidney Offit and illustrated with Vonnegut' s characteristically insouciant line drawings, Look at the Birdie is an unexpectedgift for readers who thought his unique voice had been stilled forever–and servesas a terrific introduction to his short fiction for anyone who has yet to experiencehis genius.

Read "Hello, Red" and "The Petrified Ants," two of the stories from the collection, as single-story e-books before Look at the Birdie goes on sale.Available wherever e-books are sold. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Nice to have one last new book by one of the departed greats
It was so nice to find this short story collection, and to have one more 'new' book by one of the best.I loved Kurt Vonnegut's sometimes warped humor.It made me laugh.

5-0 out of 5 stars Vonnegut does it again
I agree with another reviewer. I wish there were more stories to read.I especially liked the short story Fubar. Now wouldn't it be nice if we could all fall into such a deadend job as Fuzz's. Look at the Birdie had a delightful and unexpected ending. Don't miss reading this book. Its good

4-0 out of 5 stars Definitely worth the time for a fan or student of Kurt Vonnegut
Frankly, I had never been terribly impressed with Kurt Vonnegut's short fiction.It seemed his best short stories were the ones he didn't write, but rather referred to in the context of some of his novels.Okay, yes, the shorts in "Welcome to the Monkey House" and "Bagombo Snuff Box" were generally okay, but really nothing compared to the value and importance of his novels.While a sort of short story mediocrity still permeates "Look at the Birdie: Unpublished Short Fiction," there are a few gems here.

Sidney Offit writes in the Foreward, "Unpublished is not a word we identify with a Kurt Vonnegut short story.It may well be that these stories didn't appear in print because for one reason or another they didn't satisfy Kurt."Offit's comment is a little ironic because, in my humble opinion, two of Vonnegut's best short stories are included in this collection.The first, "Hello, Red," in which an embittered war veteran returns home to claim what he believes is his due, builds suspense in a world of complex adult emotions only to be undone by the simple, dramatic act of a beautiful red-haired eight-year old girl.In the second, a determined young woman wedges her way into the life and heart of a womanizing, bachelor whose tragic flaw is an obsessive-compulsive disorder in the story entitled, "Little Drops of Water."

In all, there are 14 stories.A regular character in many of Vonnegut's previous short stories, high school band teacher George M. Helmholtz, shows up to teach a lesson about both privacy and potential in "A Song for Selma," an unscrupulous hypnotist gets what he deserves in "Hall of Mirrors," an a murderer is brought to justice by a wily small-town cop and an innocent, bright-eyed delivery boy in "The Honor of a Newsboy."All tolled, the subject matter is generally entertaining, while some of the stories are told by the author better than others.I thought the title story was disappointing.

Among other entertaining inclusions in the collection are reproductions of Kurt Vonnegut's art doodles which accompany the start of each story.Vonnegut's art and prints is becoming as collectible as are his first editions.There is also copy of a 1951 letter from the author to Walter J. Miller in which Vonnegut is customarily and entertainingly self-deprecating.

In all, "Look at the Birdie" is a nice collection of a great American author's work in one of his tertiary genres.Definitely worth the time for a fan or student of Kurt Vonnegut, a nice way to spend some light-reading time for anyone else.

5-0 out of 5 stars I miss Vonnegut already
I'm very glad to have purchased this little view into his world and his mind. I've always enjoyed his works and they are even more sentimental knowing they were never published before.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent.Vonnegut Fans Will Not Be Disappointed
To be brief, this collection of unpublished short fiction is a must read for anyone who has ever felt that the works of Kurt Vonnegut spoke to them in any way.

Unlike the short story collection released last year "Armageddon in Retrospect" this collection features about a dozen stories that explore what the novels of Vonnegut were all about...namely, the needs of people to connect with each other and with the world around them.These stories run the gammut of human strengths and weaknesses with characters that are vivid and leave a lasting impression.Gone are the rants about humans and their capacity to wage war, instead these stories focus on loneliness, corruption, betrayal, poverty, and a number of other situations about the human condition with a hopefulness and mildly uplifting view of mankind that is what helped make Vonnegut's stories so great.

Highly recommended!!! ... Read more

6. The Sirens of Titan: A Novel
by Kurt Vonnegut
Paperback: 336 Pages (1998-09-08)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$8.54
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385333498
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The richest and most depraved man on Earth takes a wild space journey to distant worlds, learning about the purpose of human life along the way. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (173)

3-0 out of 5 stars Quintessential Vonnegut, but not one of his better works
This is one of Kurt Vonnegut's most ambitious and most convoluted books. It is essentially a social and political satire dressed up in a guise of science fiction book. It contains some of his favorite fantastical themes that have been recurring in many of his other works, such as pliability of time and malleability of personal identity. Most of the characters are over-the-top caricatures, and for the most part they don't seem to be individuals in their own right, or serving the purpose of plot development. The plot, on the other hand, is very convoluted and rather hard to follow. The book feels like a hodge-podge of different ideas and narratives, and it's oftentimes hard to follow. The writing style and themes have echoes of Ray Bradbury, Phillip K. Dick and several other sci-fi writers. However, it retains many of Vonnegut's own stylistic features and regardless of all the criticism it is one of the more original books that I have ever read. I would certainly recommend it to all Vonnegut fans (and I consider myself to be one of them), but I don't think it's one of his better works.

4-0 out of 5 stars Vonnegut's "meaning of life" doesn't hold out much hope
William Niles Rumfoord is a wealthy man who finds himself spread out through time and space after a run-in with a singularity known as a chrono-synclastic infundibulum in this science fictiony tale by idiosyncratic genius Kurt Vonnegut Jr.While whipping about the solar system, Rumfoord engineers a complicated plan to bring peace to his native Earth through the agency of a man named Malachi Constant, a wealthy ne'er-do-well.We follow Constant's story from riches to rags to slavery and back again, in a tale that ranges from Earth to Mars to Mercury and eventually to Titan, the largest moon of Saturn.But what is the real point of Rumfoord's machinations?Will it be worth all of the human misery that he's caused?Does he really even know?

It seems a stretch to call this a science fiction novel, since its point is not science so much as a meditation on the meaning of life, with maybe some social criticism thrown in, but that's Vonnegut for you.Rumfoord's detached maneuverings smack of the work of a vengeful god, and make as little sense to Constant, who protests as much as he can against a force that controls his very mind.What passes for humor in this dark, dark story (we're talking Book of Job dark here) is the ironic fact that every move the characters make to avoid their predestined fate merely precipitates it, and the denouement shows that the joke is really on the joker himself, who proves to have no more free will than those he controls.This is the world as Vonnegut sees it: the rich and powerful trample on the rest of us to no meaningful purpose (whether they know it or not) and there's nothing to be done about it because no one has free will anyway.

Vonnegut takes dead aim against the wealthy, against war, against the mavens of mind-control, against inventors of religions, but shows that he still has a soft spot for what one might call "random acts of human kindness".An exceedingly fast, fun, utterly engrossing read, but hold on to your values, people, because this book has plenty of emptiness at its heart. Too irredeemably hopeless to merit five stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars What a marvellous book!
Funny, poignant and darkly witty, tSoT is as much a love letter to existence itself as it is a science fiction novel. Read this and see the world as Vonnegut sees it - cosmically pointless and cruel, but a beautiful and worthy enterprise nonetheless.

5-0 out of 5 stars Kurt Vonnegut on The Meaning of Life
The Sirens of Titan is a satirical science-fiction novel that isn't really science-fiction and shouldn't be read as one. This is crucial. Vonnegut often uses fantastical devices in his work to relate his view of human existence to the reader. There is, however, no concern for elaborating on the workings of these devices, or even making them plausible. Vonnegut cares only for what those devices represent. This novel is, primarily, a rather despairing satirical analysis of the human condition on a cosmic scale.

Read it to the end. I can't stress this enough: I disliked what I read until the end, because I was reading it in the wrong spirit. When I got to the end, however, I began re-reading sections and actually enjoyed it quite a bit. So read it to the end, and read it in the right spirit.

The book is remarkably well-written, has a deceptively clever plot, and has rather deep characterization. All this in a relatively short book. Highly recommended!

2-0 out of 5 stars A disapointment
I don't think Vonnegut had found his "voice" this early in his career there are some interesting sci-fi concepts, with a small degree of humor, but the writing style strikes me as disjointed, and awkward, his later work improves signifigantly. ... Read more

7. Bluebeard: A Novel (Delta Fiction)
by Kurt Vonnegut
Paperback: 336 Pages (1998-09-08)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$8.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 038533351X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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An old man recounts his past to a voluptuous widow, revealing man's compulsion to create and destroy what he loves. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (76)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book.
Surprisingly heartwarming for Vonnegut, but I'd say my favorite of his books that I've read. Wonderfully funny and heartbreakingly tragic throughout. Just a great read.

3-0 out of 5 stars Kindle typos
5 stars for the Vonnegut book. 1 star for the Kindle edition.

This Kindle book is absolutely loaded with typos from poorly scanned and edited OCR. They must have had an unpaid intern take care of it. It goes to show me just how little the publishers care about ebooks, and how they'd like to slow demand for what they think they can't get insane profits from. It wouldn't surprise me if they purposely do a horrible job with every ebook just to get people running back to their precious overpriced paperbacks and hardcovers.

Examples of typos:

"Tor what?"

He, cheat and steal

"J already have," she said.

Talk about realism]

--The author wrote "realism!" in italics so the OCR thinks an italics exclamation point is a bracket. Nobody changed it. How could they miss this stuff? It's not just misspellings but also lack of commas, quotation marks, and so on. It wouldn't be so bad if they weren't on every couple of pages. The first few are no problem, nobody's perfect. But once they become a distraction, it really takes away from the reading experience.

The should at the very least have some respect for the late Mr Vonnegut and have an editor do a once over.

4-0 out of 5 stars Funny, sad and touching - in equal amounts
Here is the story of Rabo, a World War Two veteran. He is also a previously well known abstract painter, who is now known in those circles for the humorous twist his past paintings have taken. He is a very lonely, aging man, who has lost a lot of things over the years. This is the story of how he manages to come to terms with his life, and find some sort of peace, through an unlikely source... a young woman who he is at once appalled by and also fascinated with.

Veterans play a significant role in the story, as in other Vonnegut books. Rabo has a secret, related to his past, which he has hidden in a locked barn on his property. He has sworn not to allow it to be revealed until his death. When it is finally revealed to the reader, it is stunningly beautiful. It is the perfect culmination of Rabo's search for meaning in a confusing life. The moment is so perfectly told that it would be enough to recommend the book for it alone. But there is much more along the way. Humor, sadness and complexity are found in the straightforward story.It does not move along at an even pace. There were some dull moments for me, and not everything worked as well as some of the best passages did. But I suspect it was nothing more than personal taste at work there. On the whole, it is very likely that if you enjoy Vonnegut, but have not read this, you will be grateful when you do.

5-0 out of 5 stars Touching and powerful
I'm an avid book reader and will read nearly everything (although there are exceptions of course). We had to read this for my college Lit class and I wasn't bothered by it, since I'd heard wonderful things about Vonnegut. I picked it up and was enthralled. It was touching, vivid, funny, serious, dark, and just amazing. This book actually touched me and I LOVED reading it and talking about it. There were so many stories within the story and each one of them was hopeful and/or just sad but they never were pointless, well not to me anyway. The ending was the best as you find out what's in the barn and it blew my mind because I didn't expect it and it the surprise almost brought me to tears which is really kind of dorky, but hey, to each their own. I'm on Breakfast of Champions now but Bluebeard I think might remain my favorite of his, even when I read more. Damn good!

5-0 out of 5 stars Typically brilliant
If you're familiar with Vonnegut but haven't read this, you won't be disappointed. If you're new to Vonnegut, this is a great book to start with - easy to read, full of rich ideas and images and just flows off the page. That 'flow' in Vonnegut's writing is one of his trademarks; text which is deceptively simple and minimalist while containing such a tapestry of thought and meaning beneath the surface. Reading Vonnegut is to remember the joy of reading books, to disappear into another world and forget that you are reading at all. There are no show-off devices here, no attempts at making a statement through form and structure (ironically, because the nature of visual art and abstraction are central ideas within the novel). Instead, Vonnegut forces your attention squarely onto the story and characters and gently reveals the underlying emotions which are running quietly through the pages like a river. This is a master craftsman at work. ... Read more

8. Welcome to the Monkey House: Stories
by Kurt Vonnegut
Paperback: 352 Pages (1998-09-08)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$8.37
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385333501
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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This collection of Vonnegut's short masterpieces share his audacious sense of humor and extraordinary creative vision. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (93)

4-0 out of 5 stars welcome to the monkey house
the novel is good but the shipping time was very lengthy wanted it sooner other than that the product was as discribed

4-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Collection
Welcome to the Monkey House is a fantastic collection of Vonnegut. These short stories allow the reader to view the world through the eyes of Kurt Vonnegut. I recommend this to all. If you like these short stories check out his Look at the Birdie: Unpublished Short Fiction.

5-0 out of 5 stars This Book Saved My Life
I know the title of my review sounds exaggerated but it isn't.Allow me to explain.Ten years ago I had Postpartum Depression.Postpartum Depression is such a small phrase for the crushing mental agony I experienced.Each day seemed worse than the last and I counted the hours until my husband returned home so that I could retreat from myself for a few hours by walking around the block.

I know there are support groups and a lot more women have come out and talked about their experiences, but at the time I lived in a smallish, conservative community and for the first month all I had was my husband, a psychologist I met with once a week and Kurt Vonnegut.

Vonnegut probably sounds like a strange choice of reading for someone who is depressed and anxious, but this short story collection sustained me through one of my darker days.

Here's what I did, I read the first story.The story seemed a little slow to me, but I forced myself to savor each word and every sentence.I promised myself that if I could read one story, I could get through the next hour.Sometimes I lost the thread and had to go back and reread entire paragraphs, but the stories are so engrossing that soon I felt the tortuous shadows hovering around me retreat until I came to the end.Then I started all over again.I read Harrison Bergeron three times, sometimes I read aloud as I fed my baby.My voice was weak and scratchy at first but as the story progressed, I could hear myself speaking in a more normal tone.

I know what your thinking.Therapy by literature?That's ridiculous.But I'm not trying to prescribe this for everyone, not even one person, I just wanted to share my experience of this amazing little book.

Anyway, I'm not saying that people should read this because it is a great work of American fiction or because everyone should read Vonnegut, at least once, before dying, I think it is worth reading because it is good.The stories are as fresh and innovative as when he first wrote them (my opinion) and they are fun, sad, scary and thoughtful.

5-0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Vonnegut Book
This is my favorite Vonnegut book, and I've read most of them. The stories are very original and short enough to hold my attention. I recommend it highly, especially if you are new to Vonnegut.

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved it
This book has cemented my love for KV as an author. He is capable of giving exactly enough of the right details to create the perfect sense of 'wow, that was interesting', in every single story. I have only read three or four other KV books, (Slaughterhouse-Five and Cat's Cradle among them), but after having read this I am now in the process of ordering every book I can find by him. That a story like the Euphio question that raises such powerful issues (for instance, does the creator of a machine have the rights to prevent it's proliferation? Is happiness "bought" as valuable happiness "earned"? Does "easier" always correspond to "better"?), and forces their consideration in so few pages (17!) is amazing. His style is natural, and makes you want to continue reading, within three days (week-days (during which I was taking a full graduate-level course load)) I had read it, cover to cover. I would unreservedly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a book that will make you think. ... Read more

9. Jailbird: A Novel
by Kurt Vonnegut
Paperback: 320 Pages (1999-01-12)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$7.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385333900
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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A master of contemporary American literature, Vonnegut has authored 18 highly acclaimed books and dozens of short stories and essays. This wry tale follows bumbling bureaucrat Walter F. Starbuck from Harvard to the Nixon White House to the penitentiary as Watergate's least known co-conspirator. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (35)

5-0 out of 5 stars "I still believe that peace and plenty and happiness can be worked out someway. I am a fool."
In the Vonnegut tradition of Billy Pilgrim, Walter Starbuck is an anti-hero doomed for defeat. Sure he graduated from Harvard, but in this case, that only insures a life of recidivism in the white collar prison system, apparently, largely made up of fellow Harvard Alums. The true hero is Mary Kathleen O'Looney. Mary Kathleen O'Looney is about as humble as you can get in the United States. She is a N.Y. shopping-bag lady living beneath Grand Central Station. She has delusions of paranoia, smells and wears ill-fitting clothes. However, in the spirit of the sermon-on-the-mount, she inherits the earth (or at least 20% of America's part of it), which she aims to redistribute to all Americans in a peaceful economic revolution.

In Jailbird, Vonnegut playfully unmasks some binaries that weigh heavily on the American conscious: Rich/poor, honest/criminal, management/labor.However, the binary that Vonnegut seems most intent on exploring is America's history of being devout Christians but against communism. Vonnegut presents communism as the politically secular equivalent of Christianity. They both seem to support the re-distribution of wealth as a way of reducing poverty and restricting excess. However, in the United States, the devotees of Jesus do not like anything that smacks of Marx. An obvious example were Senator Joseph McCarthy'sunsubstantiated accusations of a communist subversion. Rather than making him a laughing stock, McCarthy continued to exploit the fear of Communism and to press his accusations that the government was failing to deal with Communism within its ranks. These accusations received wide publicity, increased his approval rating, and gained him a powerful national following.

Vonnegut's chief theme is the false promise proposed to all immigrants: The American dream of equality for all. The promise was that America was founded so oppressed people could bloom, free from the problems and prejudices they experienced in their country.And that was why oppressed people came.Flocked, even. Vonnegut points out that, to the contrary, the rich go to Harvard while the poor are expected to appreciate their lives of genteel poverty. Vonnegut gives several examples of poor laborers attempting to protest the injustices of their lives but being treated in an un-Christian manner by the rich hegemony. So, rather than a land of meritocracy, Vonnegut argues for a deterministic view of the land of opportunity.Laborers and poor immigrants have no choice because their futures are determined for them by the economic structure and their position within it. The rich can pass on their riches but he poor are not afforded basic civil liberties.

The bible, specifically Jesus' s teachings, are fraught with references to the poor becoming rich in heaven and the rich becoming poor in heaven. Vonnegut mentions the sermon-on-the-mount (Matthew Chapters 5-7), but there are others. In Luke (12; 13-21) Jesus teaches the parable of the rich mad who builds new barns to store his abundant harvests. God rebukes the rich man and calls him a fool. In no uncertain terms, the moral is "those who store up treasures for themselves are not rich towards God." For me, the scariest example is Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16: 19-31). The rich man can see Lazarus in heaven while the rich man begs Lazarus to "dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue" (Luke 16:24). The rich man is provided no due process or appeal. He is not even permitted to return to earth to warn his family. In this story, it is not specified as to why the rich man went to hell. It was implied that it was because he was given over to luxuries and pleasure while at the same time not loving his neighbor.

Although Kurt Vonnegut was a secular humanist, Jailbird is one of his works where he conveys his admiration for the Beatitudes and the message Jesus gave at the Sermon on the Mount as being truly worthwhile to the human race. Jesus inspires us to live the life of compassion and love for other people. Jailbird reminds us that we often come up short of Jesus' ideals.

4-0 out of 5 stars great Vonnegut
One of my favorites from the most relevant authors of our time. Typical Vonnegut, youll laugh and cry and wonder why.

4-0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars...a dandy!
This is, if not the best Vonnegut I have read, at least in the top two. The many disparate plot lines and events that Vonnegut ties together seem a natural fit under his great skills.
Once again Vonnegut gives us a hapless protagonist who lets the waves of life wash over him, rarely taking the time to notice or care all that much. Jailbird is written as an autobiography of its central character Walter F. Starbuck. Walter's life has always been a life of the moment, and his very values and core beliefs are built upon sand, and shift accordingly. Starbuck is a massively empathetic person, but unfortunately he has learned such empathy only at the end of his life, and after numerous disappointments. Vonnegut seems to be asking why this is the way so many of us choose to learn empathy.
Vonnegut also seems to be satirizing himself, and almost everyone else, when he gives Starbuck socialistic tendencies and acquaintances. Yet, nothing ever comes of these ideals. One reason I have always admired Vonnegut is that although his political beliefs are very leftist, he alsohas the honesty to admit that they will never work, as long as humans are the ones who try and implement them. The characters in this text are for the most part very decent people. It is the world and society we live in that keep them from soaring. Yet some of them are still able to perform the most decent acts of small kindness.
The major strength of this book is that it is more narrative in style than many of Vonnegut's other works, and the storyline comes together in a very nice falling action that brings all the separate entities of its main character's life together in a very satisfying and clever way.

5-0 out of 5 stars Must have book
One of most prominent American authors.
Great book for those who like literature as art. If you haven't read it: I strongly advise to.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Yes, I'm a Kurt Vonnegut fan boy. Started reading him in junior high and have never stopped. But even so, Jailbird is one of his best. A great story, caustic wit, and women farting like a man. A wondrous joy is Kurt.

RIP ... Read more

10. God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
by Kurt Vonnegut
Paperback: 288 Pages (1998-09-08)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$8.48
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385333471
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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A rich man attempts a noble experiment with human nature. The result is an etched-in-acid portrayal of universal greed, hypocrisy, and follies of the flesh. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (84)

1-0 out of 5 stars so far not good at all
I purchased the book August the 25th and payed 3.99 for shipping. I checked the shipping status today (the 29th) the E.T.A. is September the 17th !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4-0 out of 5 stars God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater
The plot of this book, such as it is, consists of the attempt of a young, unscrupulous attorney to wrest control of a large trust fund from a scrupled, but unconventional scion of a habitually unscrupulous family.Meanwhile, the scion attempts to live as authentically charitably as he can.As one might expect, the issue is the scion's sanity.

Mr. Vonnegut's writing here is typically quick and darkly humorous.Untypically, though, the target of his disdain doesn't appear worthy of the attention.Vonnegut takes on the industry/universe surrounding old unearned money/power and more-or-less effectively savages every component - including the recipients of the charity.Few sacred cows, however, are slain in the attack.Indeed, the book strikes me as almost rote - delivering exactly the characters and interactions one would expect from a satire of the old-monied.As my "star rating" shows, I don't find this to be a bad book or uninteresting, but it's not the quality of most of Vonnegut's other work.If you're starting on your Vonnegut, save this one for later.

5-0 out of 5 stars God bless you Mr. Vonnegut
Vonnegut's humanism and compassion for our frailties is as fresh and relevant now as it was decades ago when this sensitive, funny, and insightful book was written.

5-0 out of 5 stars Timeless
Although not quite up to the level of Breakfast of Champions, which is among my favorite books of all time, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater is still a breathtaking, amazing, humorous read.In fact, after I finished it I was inspired to grab another of Vonnegut's works, Welcome to the Monkey House.

Kurt Vonnegut's unique ability is to look at different aspects of the world around us that we take for granted as being "normal," & then point out the absurdity of it all.In this book, one among several ideas that he takes aim at which many take for granted in everyday life is class distinction, and the huge effect it can have upon one's life: to have won the genetic lottery of being born rich.But what makes the main character, Eliot Rosewater, really strange is that he chooses to personally use his vast, family fortune to help people from his small, hometown of Rosewater, Indiana that the modern world has largely rendered without hope, use, or purpose.He does not just throw money at these people's problems, although he is not above doing just that.Humorously, he runs a dingy foundation located above the town liquor store all by himself, with a hotline written by hand in every phone booth throughout the city.That way, in between drinking himself into oblivion, he personally deals with all of the rundown inhabitants' problems, big & small.He is essentially an eccentric saint: a fat, disheveled, drunk, Harvard graduate with all the money in the world, who just wants to help people.

Thus, an ambitious lawyer sets out to steal the family wealth by proving Eliot's selfless actions to be insane.Vonnegut once again pokes fun at what society deems "normal" behavior and how many regard being motivated purely by self interest as being the only rational course of action.As usual, Vonnegut introduces a number of strange & memorable characters, while keeping the reader laughing throughout.Kurt Vonnegut's unique take on the world is truly timeless & never seems to grow out of date, despite the fact that the book was written in 1965.Take a peek into the world of Vonnegut and come away knowing a little more about reality.

4-0 out of 5 stars Average Vonnegut, still quite good.
I couldn't help being slightly disappointed with this one. I suppose one of your favorite authors will sometime let you down a little. It's still a good read, but considering he has so many other better books, this isn't essential Vonnegut, unless you are a big fan and want to read all his novels. It's true what everyone says about Vonnegut though, he is very addictive. Once you get into him you will want to read all of his work.

That said, the book goes everywhere in all directions, one minute you are interested in what happens next, and then the book just goes off on something else and for a little too long. I enjoyed reading about Elliot's encounters and conversations with the people of Rosewater, but I wanted more. I enjoyed reading about Fred Rosewater, but it was almost too little, too late. And another big problem was that Vonnegut brings in a couple useless characters and talks about them and a past situation when we could be reading more Eliot or Fred. I know it's very Vonnegut and I understand the connections with the message, but it wasn't all a good thing with this one.

I suppose Vonnegut said all that he wanted to say in this book, but I would have read more if it was there. It's a short, light read, and although it is preachy, it's still an honest and moral take on society and life, just don't expect it to be as good as, "Breakfast of Champions" or "Mother Night." ... Read more

11. Hocus Pocus
by Kurt Vonnegut
Paperback: 336 Pages (1997-10-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$6.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425161293
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Tarkington College, a small, exclusive college in upstate New York, is turned upside down when ten thousand prisoners from the maximum security prison across Lake Mohiga break outand head for the college. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (62)

5-0 out of 5 stars Vonnegutology
This is not, not, not a book to be read if you haven't read Kurt Vonnegut in your life. It is also something that needs to be handled with a certain care and consideration for satire and the hilarity that can come with it. Kurt Vonnegut is a master of cynicism and being able to open one's eyes to the often times ridiculous world around us.

This story is an intricate weaving of sections that are as variable in length as they are in subject matter. And yet, with the expertise of a skilled writer, Vonnegut easily melts the subjects into a fantastic collaboration of stories that becomes literally seamless if read in a short amount of time. This is not a book that you'll want to put down. Your curiosity about the narrator, Eugene Debs Hartke, will soar upon first meeting him. We receive a scope of his life with such airy disregard that it makes us want to hug Eugene, laugh with him, be frustrated with him, be angry with him, and want to go out and have a drink with him (possibly only if you are male or a female who is still rather young or over 30)! It is an interesting thing that so much can come from the narrator who is writing upon scraps of paper in a devastated 'war zone', so to speak, locked up in a library. The claustrophobic hovering of doom over his arrest looms closer and closer to our precious narrator and yet we receive a broad spectrum of events that escapes the confines of the reality that is facing him and us. Which is what satire is, often, all about!

His style is similar to his other novels, where repetition of catchy sayings draws you in, hook, line, and sinker. The narration has to be what it is because of the witty satire that is spewed out at every turn of the page. Literally, in every chopped up section of the novel, there is satire to be had. At times, it's overwhelming, as it should be! There is so much to point at and question and then make something interestingly cynical about it. Some find the style irritating, but it is a truth that cannot be ignored on a frequent basis.
If you're well schooled in Vonnegutology, I hope you'll find this book and devour it as ravenously as I did. If not, I still hope you'll give him a shot. He's an eye-opener, if nothing else!

5-0 out of 5 stars We live in world of Hocus Pocus
In my first clear memories of politics and world events, the Wall come down and we had to get used to live in the shadow of dieing Communist Empire, predicament that defined our lives and the world we lived in. Purported as so called End of The History, PAX AMERICANA lasted shorter then the war that produced it.

Now when the Project for the New American Century turned out to be the Project for the Last American century we live in the world best describe by the two books, American Psycho by B. E. Ellis and Hocus Pocus by K. Vonnegut.

No, I am not aiming at easy targets, conjunction school shootings and hell of Katrina with blood and gore spread by Patrick Bateman. The connection with current events is much more subtle. His crimes are as invisible and as devoid of guilt (and persecution and punishment) as the rootless unabashed greed that dig the whole so called developed economies are sinking in now, Bernie Madoff has spiritual brother more then Charles Menson.

And there we have it, the world of Hocus Pocus, America as a third world country, with gas so expensive that a 30 miles commute needs serious financial planning, dollar debased to the level of monopoly money, and daily commerce carried out in foreign currency, with even the state penal system outsourced and sold to foreign companies.

Written in 1990. at the moment of high water mark of American influence, Hocus Pocus seams eerily prescient.

Last year BBC treated us with the news about drug cartels in South Central LA accepting stolen copper cables and roof covering as a down payment for cocaine deliveries.

5-0 out of 5 stars Funny Skulduggery
I gave this book 5 stars because, apart from being funny and entertainingly satirical, it was written in a circular manner that was something different -- maybe this is Vonnegut's style (this is the only book I've read of his), but the structure of the tale itself could be the "hocus pocus", i.e. a second layer of meaning (e.g. about history tending to repeat itself).I think this is a book that could be studied at length without losing its quirky character or fun.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and thought-provoking
Though not his best work, and not what I would recommend to the uninitiated Vonnegut fan, this book is well worth the price and an excellent read. I could hardly put it down. My recommendation: order every book he published and read them all. Then, wait a year and read them again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not for people who don't like to think
There's so much more to this book than meets the eye. I love books that don't insult my intelligence. Once again, Vonnegut is brilliant! ... Read more

12. Armageddon in Retrospect
by Kurt Vonnegut
Hardcover: 240 Pages (2008-04-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$5.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B002VPE95O
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Unabridged CDs • 8 CDs, 10 hours

The first and only collection of unpublished works by Kurt Vonnegut since his death—a fitting tribute to the author, and an essential contribution to the discussion of war, peace, and humanity’s tendency toward violence.Amazon.com Review
The first and only collection of unpublished works by Kurt Vonnegut since his death--a fitting tribute to the author, and an essential contribution to the discussion of war, peace, and humanity's tendency toward violence.

Armageddon in Retrospect is a collection of twelve new and unpublished writings on war and peace. Imbued with Vonnegut's trademark rueful humor, the pieces range from a visceral nonfiction recollection of the destruction of Dresden during World War II--an essay that is as timely today as it was then--to a painfully funny short story about three Army privates and their fantasies of the perfect first meal upon returning home from war, to a darker, more poignant story about the impossibility of shielding our children from the temptations of violence. Also included are Vonnegut's last speech as well as an assortment of his artwork, and an introduction by the author's son, Mark Vonnegut. Armageddon in Retrospect says as much about the times in which we live as it does about the genius of the writer.

Read an Unreleased Kurt Vonnegut Story, "Guns Before Butter"

"Guns Before Butter," Kurt Vonnegut's story of hungry GIs held as prisoner of war in World War II in Dresden (a site of Vonnegut's best-known novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, and his own wartime imprisonment), was unpublished until its inclusion in Armageddon in Retrospect. Read the complete story here.

Kurt Vonnegut Sketchbook

Click through on the images below to see samples of the artwork included in Armageddon in Retrospect:

... Read more

Customer Reviews (38)

4-0 out of 5 stars Worthy and Respectful
Went Kurt Vonnegut went to meet what he would have called his non-existent maker in 2007, I - doubtless like many others - feared that his unpublished writings would be shamelessly milked for profit without regard to his wishes or reputation as has sadly happened with so many other writers. This thankfully has not occurred. Armageddon in Retrospect, his first posthumous collection, came out in 2008, but it is an excellent, respectful work that adds to his canon and preserves his reputation. With ten short stories, three non-fiction pieces, and numerous drawings over 200+ pages, it is a feast for fans. The truth is that short stories were never Vonnegut's forte, and he openly admitted that he wrote them to finance novels, but he had surprisingly good work in the vaults. Armageddon is not far below Welcome to the Monkey House, his main collection, and above Bagombo Snuff Box, his previous closet clearer. Neophytes should of course start with his best-known novels, but this is essential for fans.

The subtitle clearly describes the contents:New and Unpublished Writings on War and Peace. These themes were of course essential to Vonnegut's life and work, and putting out any worthwhile uncollected material relating to them is a worthy endeavor. Presumably the only truly new piece is Vonnegut's last speech, which deals with war and peace only in part but was inevitably included. It was to have been delivered in his hometown of Indianapolis, its mayor having declared 2007 the Year of Kurt Vonnegut. He unfortunately never made it, but it was faithfully delivered by his son Mark. Fans will of course treasure the historic document - perhaps Vonnegut's last real piece of writing -, and it is indeed notable, shot through with trademark humor and insight. However, very little of it is new, being mostly recycled from A Man without a Country, Vonnegut's prior book, and elsewhere. Still, it has an undeniable poignancy - and not only because of its unique status.

The two other non-fiction works are worth the price of the book alone. The first is a reproduction of the first letter Vonnegut sent his family after being rescued from a POW camp in World War II Germany. It is a remarkable historical artifact in itself and a treasure for fans, giving a contemporary inside look at his life's central event. This long-time fan with substantial Vonnegut knowledge was surprised to learn that the events he survived were even more horrific than he ever let on despite talking of them near-ubiquitously. Perhaps even more notably, though it is only an informal letter written in his twenty-second year, his talent for clear and concise writing, deft black humor, and profound insight into life's dark side was already very evident.

The final non-fiction piece is a first-person account of Vonnegut's POW experience focusing mostly on his work burning bodies after the infamous Dresden bombing. He talked of and drew on this event innumerable times, most famously in Slaughterhouse-Five, but this account's stark immediacy is extremely powerful and valuable for filling in important details. Truly noteworthy is how much of Vonnegut's later work was anticipated here. This, along with perhaps feeling too close to it, is likely why he held back such an excellent piece.

This probably goes for much of the fiction also, though it varies more in quality. Most of the stories are set in WWII Europe, several in POW camps. Quite a few are clearly even more autobiographical than Vonnegut usually was, but his gift for sharp, clear, and engaging storytelling is omnipresent. His trademark humor is on strong display, as is his acerbic misanthropy, though both are less present than generally. "The Commandant's Desk" and the title story are in his top short story tier, and the collection would be worthwhile for them alone. It is easy to see why he held back stories like "Great Day," "Guns before Butter," and "Unknown Soldier," as they are merely decent, but the others are genuinely good - stronger than most works in Bagombo and worthy, if minor, canon additions. Some may be bothered by the stories' similarity, but this is after all a themed collection, and "Unknown Soldier" (set essentially in the present) and "The Unicorn Trap" (a historical piece set in medieval England) give some variety. All told, the stories have most classic Vonnegut strengths and will be greatly appreciated by fans.

Like many Vonnegut books, Armageddon is also liberally illustrated with his simple but charming drawings, and like A Man, it has graphical representations of some of his epigrams. Those who have liked these in the past will be glad for their inclusion, and they give a personal touch rare in posthumous works.

Also not to be missed is Mark's Introduction, which gives very personal insight into his father's life, personality, and work. Mark had previously written a memoir (The Eden Express), and as in it, he proves himself a capable writer, having seemingly inherited his father's clearness and conciseness and some of his humor. It is so touching that I nearly cried, and I am sure many will go all the way.

The book's only real weakness is lack of dates. The flap says the pieces were "Written over the course of a lifetime," which implies the dates are known and makes them even more important. It would be very interesting to see where these stories fit in Vonnegut's chronology and to what other works they may be related. However, this is a minor complaint about an excellent collection that is a feast for fans and an appropriate tribute to one of America's greatest writers.

4-0 out of 5 stars Why did I only discover him after his death?
4 stars mean a great book and one I would suggest to almost anyone.

This was the first book I had ever read by Kurt, since finishing it I have read two of his novels and intend to most likely read everything he ever wrote.

Not only are the introduction and nonfiction documents of his life beyond fascinating. The book also manages to give you an idea who he was as a person, which is really something all him books manage to do.

The stories center largely around his experiences in WW2 and there are hits and misses here. The part that I found most interesting however was that even the 'misses' kept me interested. It was perhaps the first collection of short stories ever, which upon finishing a story I didn't think, at least once, that was not very good. Just as inventive and quirky as the other works Kurt is known for this book is a romping, enjoyable read.

Prose and character are strong. Kurt manages to write in a free style without hampering himself down with trying to conform to the necessities of 'Literature'.

A highly enjoyable read for anyone who either likes Kurt or is new to him.

1-0 out of 5 stars No quality control in CD version
The book, of course, is wonderful.Spelling errors and inconsistent author name protocol in the properties of the individual chapters on the CDs make the book transfer to an Mp3 player nearly impossible- unless one goes into each chapter file individually and corrects the errors and inconsistencies.It only took an hour to do this, so I figure the publisher owes me $50 for my time.

4-0 out of 5 stars Why?
Just because I'm a Vonnegut junkie, I picked this up at my local Borders a while back. I was excited to read some short tidbits by the infamous Kurt, considering he was always so good at getting his point across within a few short words after building you up, building you up, making you laugh, and smashing reality in your face. He really would only need a few pages to do this, and so I wanted to read this, even after his ironic death.

It really wasn't what I wanted. Though the stories were good, as anything by Kurt certainly would be, I found my liking in the opening introduction by Mark, his son, and the speech he was supposed to deliver, but died prematurely. It somehow made me feel closer to the man that had published so many works. I found myself missing him worse than ever and felt like I needed to go back and reread my collection.

The short stories, however, although good, did not have much reason to be published. Perhaps in a larger volume they would have stood up to the challenge fine but I just couldn't swallow them well enough. I, of course, found myself laughing and thinking about the world around me when I read them but it was nothing as profound as what I had read in the first two readable bits.

It's a good introduction book to Vonnegut, but shouldn't be used as an introduction if you intend on reading his speech or Mark's discussion of his father. Those stand after the reading of Vonnegut, and after the love you inevitably grow for him and mourn his loss. I certainly recommend taking the stories within with a grain of salt, not expecting what you might have previously read if you are the type to have read him before.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Man Obsessed
After his death, I (like most readers of Vonnegut) was hoping for some great unreleased treasures that had been sitting in a long-forgotten filing cabinet.Sadly, it doesn't look like that will be the case.

What we have here is a somewhat interesting collection of Vonnegut's lesser uncollected short stories.There is a theme at work, specifically, Vonnegut's unending obsession with the firebombing of Dresden and his time in the military which so shaped (warped) his view of mankind.

As always, the writing is witty, quirky and overflowing with a sense of both optimism and suspicion for mankind.A must for any Vonnegut completist, but wholly skip-able for the casual fan. ... Read more

13. A Man Without a Country
by Kurt Vonnegut
Paperback: 160 Pages (2007-01-16)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$7.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 081297736X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

“[This] may be as close as Vonnegut ever comes to a memoir.”
Los Angeles Times

“Like [that of] his literary ancestor Mark Twain, [Kurt Vonnegut’s] crankiness is good-humored and sharp-witted. . . . [Reading A Man Without a Country is] like sitting down on the couch for a long chat with an old friend.”
–The New York Times Book Review

In a volume that is penetrating, introspective, incisive, and laugh-out-loud funny, one of the great men of letters of this age–or any age–holds forth on life, art, sex, politics, and the state of America’s soul. From his coming of age in America, to his formative war experiences, to his life as an artist, this is Vonnegut doing what he does best: Being himself. Whimsically illustrated by the author, A Man Without a Country is intimate, tender, and brimming with the scope of Kurt Vonnegut’s passions.

“For all those who have lived with Vonnegut in their imaginations . . . this is what he is like in person.”
USA Today

“Filled with [Vonnegut’s] usual contradictory mix of joy and sorrow, hope and despair, humor and gravity.”
Chicago Tribune

“Fans will linger on every word . . . as once again [Vonnegut] captures the complexity of the human condition with stunning calligraphic simplicity.”
The Australian

“Thank God, Kurt Vonnegut has broken his promise that he will never write another book. In this wondrous assemblage of mini-memoirs, we discover his family’s legacy and his obstinate, unfashionable humanism.”
–Studs Terkel ... Read more

Customer Reviews (203)

1-0 out of 5 stars Political Diatribe
I wanted to discover the exaulted Kurt Vonnegut and his reported mastery of prose. Instead, what I found in "A Man Without a Country" is not an articulate presentation of his views, but a ceaseless attack on political viewpoints opposite his own. My first impression of Vonnegut is a bitter old man lashing out. This book was a waste of time, thankfully only the non-fiction equivalent of a novella.
I will try to read his earlier works with an open mind and not let "A Man Without a Country" sway my judgement of his creative ability. In this work it was too well concealed behind his negative advertising campaign against the Republican Party.

5-0 out of 5 stars Vonnegut's Not so Sad Elegy

Published in 2005, two years before his death in 2007, Vonnegut's "A Man Without a Country" is provocative, and intimate; expressing the inner thoughts of a writer whose life reads like a brain feast of human perclivities.

In the American Pied Piper's last work, he sharesthe prism of his personal journey, including his cynical disdain for government, social institutions, puffy politicos--and, sometimes for life in general. But underneath his sardonic wit flows a bubbling brook of guarded appreciation for the magic of the mind.
He never looses his dry humor, but a bitter-sweet sentimentality is detectable, suggesting that age, and/or end of life reconciliation may have made him a little more contained. Possibly?(In a way, I hope I am wrong.)

He deftly lures his readers to dance with him down his multi-textured, many-colored, yellow brick road--so we can savor the richness beneath our own feet,imagining, perhaps, that we might keep on dancing. A fitting legacy.

Fun to read, always refreshing, and a fitting memoir for a national treasure. I have already bought five copies to share with my best friends. Enjoy!

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but not good value for money if bought new
If you have not read any Vonnegut before, this is not the place to start. Try Breakfast of Champions, Mother Night or the heartbreaking Slaughterhouse 5 instead. For the already converted, this is a must-read.

This is Vonnegut's equivalent to Hunter s Thompson's Kingdom of Fear, a rumination on the Bush years, though with some intellectual autobiography thrown in. It is considerably better and more successful than Thompson's book, written in Vonnegut's trademark love it or loathe it playful style, with the familiar doodles, asides and irony. Acerbic and perceptive, thoughtful and provocative, it wears its learning lightly while making its points - on the environment, on war, on public morality - profoundly.

Unlike those other more populist and shrill writers in the "airport-pop-polemical-opponent-baiting-politics" genre, Vonnegut does not treat either his targets or his audience as idiots. Vonnegut is too humane for that. His humour should not be confused with a lack of seriousness.

Vonnegut has never shied away from any difficult topic likely to attract criticism from the unreflective - his literary treatment of Germans and Germany after the second World War is a good example, as is his equally sympathetic treatment of socialism and Marx here, and this marks him out as one of the most fearless American writers of the post-war era.

From all this it should be obvious that readers who (a) do not share Vonnegut's general political views and (b) are not sufficiently open-minded to step outside their own mindset, will not profit from this book, and will find it irritating or annoying. Mind you, it is good to get irritated or annoyed once in a while. Helps you figure out why you are annoyed, and then (maybe) whether you should be...

One complaint. The price. It is expensive for what it is. It is a slim volume with generously sized font, and can be read in one short(ish) sitting. The price of the new book is therefore hard to justify, and I got mine second-hand.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Coda to a Brilliant Career
A Man without a Country, Kurt Vonnegut's last book published in his lifetime, is a miscellaneous non-fiction collection similar to prior ones like Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons, Palm Sunday, and Fates Worse Than Death. It is very good on this front, comparable in quality to those excellent works and thus a must for fans; those who especially like Vonnegut's non-fiction or are interested in his life and thought will be particularly keen. Neophytes should of course start with his best-known novels, but anyone who likes Vonnegut should stop here eventually.

This is certainly not Vonnegut's most ambitious collection. With only fourteen short pieces, several of which are reprinted from In These Times magazine, and numerous drawings over less than 150 pages, it can easily be read in an hour or two. However, almost everything Vonnegut wrote is of great literary value and considerable sociopolitical interest, and this is no exception. The book got much attention before and at release for its comments on contemporary events like the Bush administration and the War on Terror, and it is indeed highly notable in this way. As always, Vonnegut has great insight into life and humanity, and he turns his acerbic wit loose on the horrors facing twentieth-century America much as he had done with other pressing concerns throughout his life. He had much to say and says it well; his intelligent liberal humanism was and is a refreshing change from the dumbed-down clichés dominating political discourse. He makes the liberal case far more articulately and palatably than most - so well, in fact, that he not only gets attention but may well change some minds. His classic writing style - admirably concise and extremely clear - and trademark black humor go far here. All this makes A Man necessary for liberals, a nice antidote to the innumerable conservative hacks littering bookstores with ghost-written, error-laden rags.

This drove up sales and got Vonnegut well-deserved attention near his life's end but was also exaggerated, as most of the book does not deal with such things. Strong as these sections are, the lack of dominance is somewhat fortunate in that they have already dated the book to a degree. Many of the issues are of course still very relevant, but the situation has changed enough that they are already a little outdated and will only grow more so. They will of course be of historical interest some day but now basically seem like old news.

Not so the rest of the book, which focuses on lifelong Vonnegut concerns like creative writing, technology's dangers, humanism, and religion. Along the way he deals with a variety of historical events and personages, all of them interesting and some of them revealing. The subjects are not new, but Vonnegut's atypical views and near-unmatched storytelling skills make his treatments very readable; I long ago concluded that even his grocery list would be worth reading, and these certainly are. His writing is as strong as ever, as entertaining and funny as it is thought-provoking and emotional. Vonnegut's trademark is mixing ridiculous and sublime, often in close proximity; he may make a crude joke in one sentence and have a profound insight in the next - or even in the same. It may even be that one depends on the other. This is his singular genius, letting him appeal at once to readers of all sorts.

Anyone who has read Vonnegut will be familiar with these strengths, but A Man is particularly notable for a profoundly personal feel. This is partly because much of it is autobiographical; we learn a good deal about Vonnegut's life and thought, both recent and old. Startlingly open, he not only reveals very personal stories but is also very upfront about his misanthropic views - though of course not without humor. He had done this before to varying extents, but A Man goes even further, achieving an intimacy seen in very few books. It does not seem like a literary work by a famous author so much as a personal letter from a warm-hearted but clear-eyed old man; we almost feel we are sitting in front of a fire with Vonnegut as he tells anecdotes. In other words, it is like listening to most people's older relatives - but interesting. One of the best chapters in fact shows letters Vonnegut got from his many fans along plus his answers. Unlike nearly all celebrities, Vonnegut was always open with fans, personally answering letters and even calls; indeed, his phone number and address were publicly listed! This says much about the man, as does the chapter, which is a true treasure.

It is often said that Vonnegut was the Mark Twain of his times, which he would have been the first to say is about the highest compliment possible. With his death America lost not only one of its greatest writers but one of its greatest people - a great artist and a patriot in the truest sense who was never afraid to say what he thought even when he knew it was unpopular. A Man is the final authorized testament from this great American and a worthy coda to a career already full of brilliant work - a must own for this fact alone as well as inherent merit.

5-0 out of 5 stars A dying man's last words
If you are 'paying attention' and you feel that all you have lived your life fighting for is under attack you will enjoy KV's articulate expression of your observations.If you have been a KV fan and want to see directly into his mind without the abstract expression of his youth, this is your book.I felt sad as I read the book because it was quite clear he knew he was dying.I enjoyed this book because clearly he was a man who had lived his life by his principles.If you are mid aged and have been through a nasty divoce and want to take a beautiful KV trip into abstraction, try Blue Beard, my favorite. ... Read more

14. Galapagos: A Novel (Delta Fiction)
by Kurt Vonnegut
Paperback: 336 Pages (1999-01-12)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$6.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385333870
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
A small group of apocalypse survivors stranded on the Galapagos Islands are about to become the progenitors of a brave new human race. "Vonnegut is a post-modern Mark Train. . . . Galapagos is a madcap genealogical adventure".--New York Times Book Review. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (118)

3-0 out of 5 stars Even a mid-tier Vonnegut is worth reading
Kurt Vonnegut has long been among my favorite writers, a brilliant, insightful and witty scribe who manages to say quite a bit in his work without ever being heavy-handed or forgetting to entertain. It's very difficult to find a dud in his bibliography - maybe even impossible.

So, Galapagos. With so much to offer you can't call it a dud, but it failed to knock my socks off.

No, that's not harsh criticism, but for a writer with as many home runs as Vonnegut - Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat's Cradle, The Sirens of Titan, Mother Night, Breakfast of Champions, and more - failing to knock your socks off is close to a disappointment. Only God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater left me as lukewarm.

The IDEAS here are fantastic, and the tone is what you'd expect from Vonnegut. However, Galapagos never quite realizes its potential. The last 50 pages are classic Vonnegut, but he takes his sweet time getting there. Even worse, he beats his ongoing "and here is what happens later, but I won't tell you how" gag into the ground. Literally every other page for 250 pages. We feel as if we should have gone on a journey, but instead the narrative and characters both tread water for 4/5 of the book.

Thematically, it's interesting that he got more cynical as he got older. This is one of his later works, and it makes stuff like Cat's Cradle and Slaughterhouse-Five look positively cheery by comparison. Galapagos relies more on wry humor and winks and nudges than some of his other work - its tone is deceptively light - but it also has the dreariest view of mankind of all his works I've read.

That said, what's good here is very good indeed. His view of man's essential nature isn't exactly positive, but the way in which he shows us breaking away from our most negative traits is delightfully quirky, unusual, and entertaining. And when he spins a good passage, it's Vonnegut through and through. Which is to say, it's brilliant.

Entertaining, but not essential Vonnegut.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must for Vonnegut fans
And unless you absolutely hate Vonnegut for some reason, it's a must for you as well.

5-0 out of 5 stars Humans with flippers
I purchased this book at the airport because I needed something to read during a four hour flight. Granted I picked it out in part because it was the perfect size to slide into the seat pocket and to read. I hadn't the author before but dark humor did sound like a good read.

Good read is putting it mildly, I found this book quite engaging. From the first page I was hooked and it was tough to put the book down. It sure made my flight go fast, as I loved every minute.

I don't remember the last time I read a book from cover to cover so quickly and so enjoyably.

5-0 out of 5 stars 'Hitchhikers Guide' meets 'Planet Earth'
I found this book in a $1 bin and was amazed that I'd never heard of it.I love Darwin and Vonnegut, but never knew the 2 men crossed paths.Unlike many who write about the islands, KV doesn't praise Charlie D as a deity.CD is another funny character in a comic story.

I'll spare you the plot, the reader needs faith. Initially, the time travel element seems hokey. But, Vonnegut brings all of the parts together and delivers an important message.

KV's readers are accustomed to odd twists and turns; it's one reason his style is so special. This story starts in a remote land with a really odd mix of characters.I didn't discover the humor of the book until about 50 pgs in.Who is this narrator and what role does he play?

Eventually, I came realize the brilliance in this novel.Vonnegut had managed to turn a science lesson into a sci-fi comedy.He describes the magnificence of evolution and our role, while keeping things light.

This is my favorite of KV's books and I'd recommend it to everyone.

3-0 out of 5 stars Survival of the misfits
Written with typical Vonnegut esprit, Galapagos is an entertaining read. The pages fly by and, although a little laboured and repetitive at times, the hallmark humour is present. What it lacks, however, is the depth of some of his other work. Compared to Player Piano and Slaughterhouse 5 this is a slight work that doesn't resonate for long in the mind once finished. It's fun but it's not Vonnegut at his best. ... Read more

15. Slapstick or Lonesome No More!: A Novel
by Kurt Vonnegut
Paperback: 288 Pages (1999-05-11)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$6.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385334230
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Slapstick presents an apocalyptic vision as seen through the eyes of the current King of Manhattan (and last President of the United States), a wickedly irreverent look at the all-too-possible results of today’s follies. But even the end of life-as-we-know-it is transformed by Kurt Vonnegut’s pen into hilarious farce—a final slapstick that may be the Almighty’s joke on us all.Amazon.com Review
Dr. Wilbur Daffodil-11 Swain, centenarian, the last President of theUnited States, King of Manhattan, and one-half (along with his sister,Eliza) of the most powerful intelligence since Einstein, is penning hisautobiography. He occupies the first floor of a ruined Empire StateBuilding and lives like a royal scavenger with his illiterategranddaughter and her beau. Buffeted by fluctuating gravity, the U.S.has been scourged by not one, but two lethal diseases: the Green Deathand the Albanian Flu. Consequently, the country has fallen into civil war.(Super-intelligent, miniaturized Chinese watch the West self-destructfrom the sidelines.) Swain stayed at the White House until there wereno citizens left to govern, then moved to deserted New York City, wherehe writes a thoughtful missive before death.

In Slapstick, Vonnegut muses on war, man's hubris, and the awful,crippling loneliness humans are freighted with--but, miraculously, thebook still manages to delight and amuse. Absurd, knowing, neverdepressing, Slapstick kindles hope--for the possibility ofwisdom, perhaps; for human resiliency, surely.

It's best to end with a quote from the prologue wherein the authordiscourses on The Meaning of It All, or at least This Book:"Love is where you find it. I think it is foolish to go off looking forit, and I think it can often be poisonous.
I wish that people who are conventionally supposed to love each otherwould say to each other, when they fight, 'Please--a little less love,and a little more common decency.'"
Amen. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (76)

5-0 out of 5 stars Witty and brilliant
Vonnegut's humor really shines in this one.It is among my favorite of his works; full of really pointed commentary and unbelievable humor.

4-0 out of 5 stars Must read for Vonnegut fans
First, allow me to qualify my review by stating that I love Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.While Slapstick is definitely a mandatory read (pure pleasure) for all Vonnegut fans, I don't believe that this semi-autobiographical novel is the best introduction for the uninitiated.For those of you who haven't read any Vonnegut, then I recommend that you read Slaughterhouse Five, Breakfast of Champions, and Cat's Cradle first.Without exaggeration, reading all three should take you no more than a week or two!

As you probably have already ascertained from reading other reviews, the plot of Slapstick or Lonely No More is an absurdest black comedy.Here's a brief introduction without any spoilers:In the future, the sky has turned from blue to yellow and the earth's gravity on any particular day is less predictable than the weather.Humans have used up all of the earth's nonrenewable resources and the China has become the sole superpower.The story is actually the autobiographical account of the King of New York aka Death Island, Wilbur Daffodil-11 Swain, who is/was also the last president of the now defunct United States of America.Wilbur is writing his biography while preparing to celebrate his 110th birthday party.Not only is Wilbur's life story compelling but he reveals the answers to many of life's greatest mysteries: what awaits us in the afterlife; the way in which mental telepathy works; how the ancients constructed the pyramids; how to be lonely no more.

2-0 out of 5 stars not the right book for first time Vonegut readers
I didn't know what to expect because this was my very first time reading Kurt Vonnegut's work. I hated it. It seemed silly, pointless, and strange. I couldn't deal with it. I don't ever want to read Kurt Vonnegut ever again. It's not awful. It was a shock. I've never read anything like it before, and it doesn't gently ease you into it.

If you do read it, know that it's extremely quirky. If that's your style, go for it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Slaptastic
Slapstick is a novel that can be misread on so many levels. Having read many of Vonnegut's works, it is obvious that he recycle themes, and even characters. However, the point that he is trying to ram home never diminishes. Unlike many post apocalyptic novels, this one is light-hearted, and the world does not seem much worse off than it was before. That is the real crux of this piece, that it is not the conditions of the society around us that determines happiness, but rather the value and condition of the PEOPLE we surround ourselves with. One reads Slapstick with the feeling that all Mr. Vonnegut was trying to get us to see is that we should "all treat each other with a little common decency".
The novel is set up as a memoir of the last president of the United States, and the voice of the persona is full of drool humor and classic Vonnegut dry wit. The nonfiction prologue at the being of the text also adds a whole new dimension to the piece, which I won't discuss here. I recommend reading the prologue after having read the novel. It might change the way you view the entire work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Read over and over! Fascinating subjects! Utopian society!
This is the first Vonnegut book that I read. I am so glad I read this book.It got me hooked. I've read all of Vonnegut's work and it is brilliant!But this book has remained close to my heart, and my favorite.That's because of all the heartfelt convictions about family that Vonnegut writes about.His memoirsabout his sister, are really sweet, and I can identify with his perspective, because I have a brother who I think is hilarious.I also really enjoyed the bit about how to make a Utopian society out of artificial families.This book is such an easy read, and every time I read it, I find new concepts and ideas that I didn't notice before. So funny Ilaugh out loud still reading some parts.Highly Recommended. -M. R. ;) ... Read more

16. Player Piano
by Kurt Vonnegut
Paperback: 352 Pages (1999-01-12)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$6.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385333781
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Vonnegut's first novel spins the chilling tale of engineer Paul Proteus, who must find a way to live in a world dominated by a super computer and run completely by machines. His rebellion is a wildly funny, darkly satirical look at modern society. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (84)

5-0 out of 5 stars "Out On The Edge You See All Kinds Of Things You Can't See From The Center."
Player Piano was the late Kurt Vonnegut's first novel.Published in 1952, the novel is set in an industrial dystopia where the engineers are the top rung of the ladder.In the name of progress, the engineers create machines that can do the work of men.Only the best and brightest are allowed to attend the colleges necessary to secure doctorates.The rest of the population is consigned either to the Army or the Reconstruction and Reclamation Corps (Reeks and Wrecks).The main character is Dr. Paul Proteus, the head of the Ilium Works in Ilium, New York.Proteus is the son of one of the men who led the mechanization of America, thus he is well-respected and expected to rise to the top.But Proteus is decidedly unhappy with the system, particularly the way the common working man has been disenfranchised.The main thread of the novel follows Paul as he attempts to sort out his loyalties, while a side story follows the Shah of Bratpuhr, who's being given a tour of America.

While the technology in the book is quite dated, the story itself still resonates strongly, especially in this age of computers and outsourcing jobs to foreign countries.The people in the story have become enslaved by technology.The people at the top need to be able to create and control the machines in order to maintain their elite status and the people of the bottom have been excluded from making a meaningful contribution to society by being replaced by machines.The people at the bottom are either in the Army, the Reeks and Wrecks, who do very menial tasks, or they just do nothing.They are segregated from the elite managers and engineers.The elite don't seem to have it much better as they spend the majority of the book spouting useless propaganda and jockeying for position.This is the America that causes Proteus to question every value he once held dear.

Despite the somewhat bleak circumstances of the story, Vonnegut tells it with a wry humor and a sharp sense of satire.Player Piano is perhaps the most conventional of his novels and written linearly as opposed to the nonlinear jumping around he would use in later books.This was the first of his novels I ever read, given as a high school assignment back in 1994.I enjoyed it then and I still love it today.I've read some reviews that have said that Player Piano doesn't hold up when compared with his later work.I couldn't disagree more.The story is still relevant to modern times and it's told beautifully.

3-0 out of 5 stars Player Piano
The book was pretty good.I can see how Vonnegut was just forming his style in the book, just becoming comic, "sci-fi" and all.As far as the "great condition"/like new, I have had books in better condition from this category.But it was still very cheap and readable, so that is all I needed!

3-0 out of 5 stars We're all working for the reeks and wrecks now
As social commentary I love this book, I'd give it 4 stars.It's spot on in it's description of a "meritocratic" society in which people are entirely sorted by fairly arbitrary and yet seemly worthy and entirely quantifiable (of course!) criteria.

This sorting becomes necessary because there is not enough relevant work for people to do and people must be sifted into the few good jobs remaining somehow.And after all what is a more "rational/mathematical" way of sorting people than turning human beings into nothing more than numbers?And all this sifting by numbers is only to determine who can even qualify for the obscene levels of over education (PhDs) needed to actually do anything.The competition for relevant work is just that stiff.Everyone who doesn't make the cut (the overwhelming majority of the people) gets sent to the universally despised government make work of the "reeks and wrecks" or to the army.

Think that's not the case today?Well to a large extent it is the case today, but it probably would be even more so if this reality weren't hidden under one absurd bubble after another.

As a novel though, this book leaves much to be desired, and that's why I only give it 3 stars.The plot becomes weak halfway through.The technology in the book is also totally outdated but that's irrelevant.

5-0 out of 5 stars A stellar debut for Vonnegut
The great Kurt Vonnegut's first novel is, well, great.

This was nothing short of excellent; a strong cast of characters and a vividly imagined world, yes, but where Player Piano really shines is in its rich social commentary. In this world, America has established a sort of minor utopia of ease within which regular, everyday people don't have to do much of anything. Everything is done for them.

And boy does that make people miserable.

At times funny, at times heavy with satire, and at times straight and serious, Vonnegut manages to keep all the plates spinning at once. Dr. Paul Proteus is a near perfect protagonist, even though he doesn't DO much of anything really. He's just along for the ride, observing the modern world in which he lives and realizing that a life of ease and convenience has a down side. And what an ending!

Player Piano makes it clear that Vonnegut was mining gold from the very start.

3-0 out of 5 stars Convential debut - not Vonnegut's best, but still worth reading
Vonnegut's debut novel, published in 1952, is a little constrained.There are hints of Vonnegut's sardonic wit, wild imagination, and unconventional writing style, but only hints.Unlike virtually all of Vonnegut's other novels, Player Piano tells its story in a linier fashion.It starts at the beginning and ends at the end.There's nothing really wrong with that, but for fans of the author, accustomed to Vonnegut's eccentric voice, it feels a little too conventional.

Vonnegut is a humanitarian and the message of Player Piano is that people need to have a sense of purpose, and that if you take that away from them - their lives will be empty.Throughout the novel, a leader from another country tours the cities of the United States and having no similar word in his own language, confuses `civilians' for `slaves'.The message of course, is that the civilians, in this machine dominated world, are in-fact slaves.

Similarities between this novel and Brave New World are inevitable, as both novels explore the relationship between technology and happiness, and the role class structure plays in our society.In both Player Piano and Brave New World, the protagonist is unfulfilled by the trappings of the privileged class and longs for something `real'.Player Piano is arguably more hopeful than Brave New World (and certainly 1984) suggesting that people will band together to fight for their freedom, however futile, even if it means that they are doomed to repeat the same mistakes again.

Player Piano is admittedly dated.It is evident from this novel, and others of the era, that people were wary of the advent of computers and the proliferation of machines and technology.As for predicting the future, neither Brave New World nor Player Piano (nor 1984 for that matter) proved to be a reliable crystal ball.These novels are far more reflective of the times they were written and the author's commentary on those times, than of any actual or likely future.

Player Piano is far from Vonnegut's best.Cat's Cradle and Slaughter House Five are two of the best novels ever written and there are close to a half dozen other Vonnegut novels (he wrote 14) I would recommend before Player Piano, but it's still worth reading.

3 ½ stars (almost four). ... Read more

17. Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical Collage
by Kurt Vonnegut
Paperback: 320 Pages (1999-05-11)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$8.02
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385334265
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In this self-portrait by an American genius, Kurt Vonnegut writes with beguiling wit and poignant wisdom about his favorite comedians, country music, a dead friend, a dead marriage, and various cockamamie aspects of his all-too-human journey through life. This is a work that resonates with Vonnegut’s singular voice: the magic sound of a born storyteller mesmerizing us with truth. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

2-0 out of 5 stars Fans Only Please
This is simply "An Autobiographical Collage". A collection of Op-Ed pieces, speeches givin, short family tree and some things that had no where else to go. As a fan of Kurt, I own most of his books, and I had this one for 3 years before I read it because I wanted to read more of his fiction before I found out about the man. Some of the articles mention his past novels and it is helpful to have read them to get a true understanding of what he is talking about. It was refreshing to see that Kurt believes the worst book he ahs written is Slapstick, he gives it a D. I never liked that book, and now I feel like it is OK to not like it. All in all this is no more than a short attention span book that will fill 5 minutes here or there. If you have just a passing interest in Vonnegut, do not bother with this book. However if you are a big Vonnegut fan like me, you might want to pick this up and get a little insight into his warped mind.

2-0 out of 5 stars Strictly for Vonnegut followers
This book is only for people who have previously read and admire Vonnegut, because it's basically his memoirs in the way that a writer can do them, his speeches, letters, things that he has said, and this is a man that has said all he needed to, he once vowed to stop writing, though he retracted on that. Not a good startup for KV readers, and not even a must-have for fans, if you're a light fan and would like to read the man not the novelist, get, "A Man Without a Country" available on this site.

5-0 out of 5 stars The stories that make my favorite man
Would I enjoy Kurt Vonnegut's books if i didn't know who Kurt Vonnegut was?Would the stories be as good, if I didn't know the sound of his voice?I like to think that the man comes thru the stories, that his soul is evident in the words on the page.It's true, i loved his fiction before i'd read about him.I loved his way of storytelling before i knew why he told the stories that way.the conversational tone of his words drew me in, his wit and honesty kept me there.but the more i read about his life, the more i listen to interviews and speeches, the more real kurt vonnegut becomes to me, the more i love him.

This 'biography' is told with writings by other people, as well as writings by mr. vonnegut.it's as if you're spending the afternoon with him, listening to his stories and reading the works that compliment them.an inspired idea, pulled off without a hitch.

5-0 out of 5 stars Vonnegut self-revealed
This volume is a time-capsule of information about Vonnegut's life, as revealed by Vonnegut himself. This book is timely information not only as a memorial to his life, but also as a source of insights about the nature of the world he lived in, specifically including the McCarthy red-baiting years, but the shadows of WWII. Anyone who isn't already familiar with the U.S. fire-bombing of Dresden should be required to read this book in order to get a fuller understanding of the full consequences of warfare. There are implications for current U.S. war efforts.

3-0 out of 5 stars So it goes...
Palm Sunday reads like Vonnegut's impassioned plea for forgiveness, or perhaps sainthood. "I was right all along" it seems to say, or perhaps "Respect my authority".And who are we to argue?
Who indeed, although a more harsh editor may have scrubbed out some of the self-aggrandizing, i can't believe any editor thought we'd be interested in Vonnegut's family tree.Mind you, i can't believe i read every word of it either...Vonnegut's speeches are pretty inconsequential too - he loves the First Amendment and he fought briefly in WWII, basically sums them up.
Given that Slaughterhouse Five was one of the best autobiographies ever written, Palm Sunday seems somewhat superfluous and any insights into the great man's mind are limited at best, and more tainted by ego than genius at worst.
I'd recommend casual fans should stick to his fiction - only the occasional essay here is particularly enlightening, and i'm not sure it's worth reading through the dross to find it.
Thank you for your attention... ... Read more

18. Deadeye Dick: A Novel
by Kurt Vonnegut
Paperback: 288 Pages (1999-05-11)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$6.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385334176
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Deadeye Dick is Kurt Vonnegut’s funny, chillingly satirical look at the death of innocence. Amid a true Vonnegutian host of horrors—a double murder, a fatal dose of radioactivity, a decapitation, an annihilation of a city by a neutron bomb—Rudy Waltz, aka Deadeye Dick, takes us along on a zany search for absolution and happiness. Here is a tale of crime and punishment that makes us rethink what we believe . . . and who we say we are. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (49)

4-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable mess

Dead eye dick is a good summer read.The writing style easy to read yet witty and ironic.Life as a story ends when you reach your peak.Felix's story ended when he became CEO of NBC the rest of his life was an epilogue.Emma his high school sweet hearth story ended in high school, she kept living until she drank Drano.His moms story ends before he was born.
Midland city, a small Ohio town were everybody is fake which is ok as long as they don't venture out in the real world.Perhaps that is why it suffered the neutron bomb.Vonnegut points out that life is an overrated improbable mess and also raises questions of plutocracy in a light heart-ed manner.

"To be is to do" - Socrates
"To do is to be" - Jean Paul Sartre
"Do be do be do" - Frank Sinatra

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, Like Wandering Through a Junky Antique Shop
Vonnegut does his fans a service with this satirical parable packaged with original food recipes. DEADEYE DICK starts strong and ends the same way all good novels end, leaving you looking at the world in a different light. Again Vonnegut questions the motives of the human race, its follies, and bleak fate. However, there are still bright nuggets of optimism buried in cleverly constructed metaphors.

It is easy to empathize with Rudy Waltz as he dances through the long string of bad luck that makes his life. After being labeled "Deadeye Dick", he lives the rest of his life missing out on love and trying to make up for his misdeed. For me reading this book is like wandering through a junky antique shop. The writing is full of interesting tidbits. Some are fake but still entertaining to examine.

In America's overmedicated landscape, Vonnegut offers us a chance to feel guilty for all the things we should feel guilty for and to enjoy the shinier things in life. Deadeye Dick offers reading in an antihero fashion, reminding us that everyone contains good and evil. Although arch types--heroes, villains --rarely exist in reality, Vonnegut cast the closest thing, young struggling artist Adolf Hitler. I recommend this story for anyone who enjoys a dark comedic style in writing.

1-0 out of 5 stars Who Would Give This Book 4 Stars?Awful!
First, let me say that I am a big fan of Kurt Vonnegut.I recently went back and read two of his books that I hadn't ever gotten around to, Deadeye Dick and Galapagos.I have greatly enjoyed almost everyone of his books that I have read, from Sirens of Titan to Timequake and God Bless You Dr. Kevorkian.That being said....

This book is terrible.Absolute mush.Not a good representation of Vonnegut's quirky writing style or even a basic story.There is not a character in this book that any reasonable reader could possibly care about, relate to, or want to know more about.

The first three or four chapters are decent and trick you into thinking you are reading another great Vonnegut novel.Then it all falls apart.A boy is taunted after unintentionally killing a women.His family is destroyed.A town's population is eliminated by a neutron bomb.And there are random recipes for cajun and soul food.You get the impression that his goal was to tell the most absurd story he could fathom...except that there isn't really a story here.

I would steer clear of this even if you are a Vonnegut completist.Unless you are deluded into thinking that everything the man ever wrote was brilliant (which, sorry, no dice), you will almost certainly be disappointed by this tripe.

4-0 out of 5 stars Read it before your peephole closes...
Sadly, Kurt Vonnegut's peephole closed in 2007, 84 years after it opened in 1922. No more Kurt. Or, to borrow yet another phrase from "Deadeye Dick," his 10th novel, he became an "innocent undifferentiated wisp of nothingness." Whether that actually happened, only he can say. In any case, these and other famous Vonnegut euphemisms ("so it goes," "the Big Black," etc.) somehow help take the sting out of our ordinary notions of death without removing any of its angst-ridden implications. Perhaps one of his greatest contributions was helping to make non-existence palatable to the masses. If so, what an ineffable gift. But maybe non-existence is funny? Or, to quote the ancient Chinese philosopher Zhuangzu, who sometimes sounds Vonnegetian, "Maybe death will be so great we'll regret having ever lived?"

Rudolph, or Rudy, Walz, also known as "Deadeye Dick," the novel's narrator, regrets living. He regrets it so much he forswears physical pleasure as a "neuter." After accidentally killing a pregnant woman by firing a rifle from the cupola of his house, his guilt overwhelms him. Particularly when his eccentric father, a once friend of Hitler, takes all of the blame. The two become immediate outcasts in the small town of Midland City, Ohio, succumb to a fair amount of police brutality, and then lose everything in litigation. Along the way Rudy writes a play, "Katmandu," so appallingly bad that he's barred from the theater. In response to his father's insistence that the family has not one nanoparticle of artistic talent, Rudy abandons his dream of the writing life and becomes a pharmacist. His overachieving brother becomes the head of NBC and marches through a litany of wives, the first of which he marries because he accidentally throws her through a windshield. Eventually he falls from grace and dignity. Meanwhile, the most beautiful girl in town, Celia Hoover, destroys her sanity with pharmaceuticals, which leads Rudy to muse that "the late twentieth century will go down in history, I'm sure, as an era of pharmaceutical buffoonery." Not only that, his mother dies from overexposure to a radioactive fireplace, and the population of Midland City gets decimated by a neutron bomb, though this doesn't affect the buildings. In essence, it's depopulated. Rudy and his now somewhat more sedate brother relocate to the Hotel Oloffson in Haiti, from which Rudy narrates his desultory tale. The book then closed in an open ended manner. No gestalt. Still, it does contain one of his most memorable closers, in spite of it seeming a little tacked on: "The Dark Ages - they haven't ended yet."

Vonnegut's novels are usually hard to summarize, but "Deadeye Dick" defies any attempt whatsoever. From ten thousand feet, it looks as though the novel's facile storyline exists merely as a framework for Vonnegut's observations on life and society. Calling it a first person character study does it more justice, as plot seems a mere tertiary concern throughout. Rudy's character, his upbringing, and his life's mistakes stay center stage. This does provide Vonnegut with a good vehicle to muse about confusing aspects of modern existence. The book is absolutely packed with these. As such, those who prefer Vonnegut's commentary over his storytelling will revel in Rudy's ruminations. Perhaps "Deadeye Dick" was an experiment of sorts, which may help explain why some readers love it while others loathe it. It does not stand amongst his absolute best work, but Vonnegut fans will bask in every page nonetheless. Read it before your peephole closes.

5-0 out of 5 stars a great read
Vonnegut's style is clever and engaging, and the material touchingly human. A very fast read; I could hardly put it down. I recommend this book to anyone looking for something entertaining and energetic but also thoughtful - very refreshing after being constantly bombarded by all that trash that's usually passed off as entertainment. ... Read more

19. Timequake
by Kurt Vonnegut
Paperback: 250 Pages (1998-08-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$2.51
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0425164349
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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There's been a timequake. And everyone--even you--must live the decade between February 17, 1991 and February 17, 2001 over again. The trick is that we all have to do exactly the same things as we did the first time--minute by minute, hour by hour, year by year, betting on the wrong horse again, marrying the wrong person again. Why? You'll have to ask the old science fiction writer, Kilgore Trout. This was all his idea.Amazon.com Review
Think of Timequake, Kurt Vonnegut's 19th and last novel (or so he says), asa victory lap. It's a confident final trot 'round the track by one ofthe greats of postwar American literature. After 40 years of practice,Vonnegut's got his schtick down cold, and it's a pleasure--if a slightlytame one--to watch him go through his paces one more time.

Timequake's a mongrel; it is half novel, half memoir, the project of a decade'sworth of writer's block, a book "that didn't want to be written." Thepremise is standard-issue Vonnegut: "...a timequake, a sudden glitch in the space-time continuum, madeeverybody and everything do exactly what they'd done during pastdecades, for good or ill, a second time..."Simultaneously, the author's favorite tricks are on display--frequentvisits with the shopworn science fiction writer Kilgore Trout, a Hitchcockianappearance by the author at the book's end, and frequent authorial opiningon love, war, and society. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (193)

2-0 out of 5 stars Vonnegut is great... this book...not so much
Not a typical Vonnegut book. Not really a story. Kind of like listening to a rambling old man talking about his medications.

Vonnegut is one of my favorite authors, but this isn't a good book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Rambling Masterpiece
I don't really know that this book should be referred to as a "novel". The actual story, which is interesting, could be published as a 10 - 15 page short story. The remaining 230-some odd pages are Mr. Vonnegut's ramblings on a wide range of different subjects, few of which relate to the actual story. Don't read this as your introduction to Kurt Vonnegut. However, if you're already a fan, this is a treasure trove of insights into Vonnegut's mind. I couldn't put this book down- one of the most hilarious and entertaining books I've read in a long time.

4-0 out of 5 stars Vonnegut being Vonnegut
I'll have to say I liked it.But I like Kurt Vonnegut, so I'm biased.

It's a solid story, and Vonnegut once again amazes with his ability to avoid a mainstream story format.It's enjoyably unpredictable.

All in all, it is a good book.It's worth reading, and it's worth the investment.Personally, it isn't my favorite Kurt Vonnegut work.

2-0 out of 5 stars Ramblings
Ramblings.That about sums up this novel.

It's really unfortunate. I love Vonnegut and consider him to be up there with the greats of the 20th century.I tried to like it, I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt and tried to piece the story together and put on my symbolism hat.But nothing really struck me as being particularly potent.What was once the blunt, acidic spit of a great American hero in the vain of Mr. Twain is now an outoftouch old codger, reminiscing about suns that set long ago.He rails on technology and the death of the written word, and I agree with him in many respects, but the words on the page are static, archaic, without effort.

Even Kilgore Trout, still pumping out the stories in his old age, gets tiring.Vonnegut's method of reusing characters was not fresh in this novel.It got to the point where the text would read "And so Kilgore wrote a new story about..." and I would sigh in exhaustion.I've never sighed in exhaustion while reading Vonnegut, never.

Read this book if you are a fan.If you're a first timer, do yourself a favor and read classic Vonnegut first.

5-0 out of 5 stars Coda
With "Timequake", Vonnegut's final novel, he is clearly looking backward. When the universe stops expanding, everyone on the planet is forced to relive the last ten years of their life exactly as it had been before. Although this clearly ties in with Vonnegut's common theme of fate and predestination, the loose plot of the novel is mostly an excuse for Vonnegut to reminiscence.

You could almost call "Timequake" a memoir, albeit a highly unconventional one. Vonnegut includes both himself, aging famous author and family man, and his literary doppelganger Kilgore Trout, aging obscure author and vagabond, in this book. Together, perhaps, they both form the yin and yang to his psyche.

Vonnegut has a lot to say about a lot of things. And instead of hiding his opinions behind satire or science fiction, he mostly just comes out with it. He talks about family, politics, the sexes, art, fatherhood, work, money, class and all of life's other big topics in a clever, straightforward and thoughtful way. He tries hard to remain humble and resist the urge to preach. But he can't help exposing himself as a sensitive, moral humanist.
... Read more

20. While Mortals Sleep: Unpublished Short Fiction
by Kurt Vonnegut
Hardcover: 272 Pages (2011-01-25)
list price: US$27.00 -- used & new: US$17.82
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385343736
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Foreword by Dave Eggers

Smart, whimsical, and often scathing, the fiction of Kurt Vonnegut influenced a generation of American writers—including Dave Eggers, author of this volume’s Foreword. In these previously unpublished gems, Vonnegut’s originality infuses a unique landscape of factories, trailers, and bars—and characters who pit their dreams and fears against a cruel and sometimes comically indifferent world.

Here are stories of men and machines, art and artifice, and how ideals of fortune, fame, and love take curious twists in ordinary lives. An ambitious builder of roads, commanding an army of bulldozers, graders, and asphalt spreaders, fritters away his free time with miniature trains—until the women in his life crash his fantasy land. Trapped in a stenography pool, a young dreamer receives a call from a robber on the run, who presents her with a strange proposition. A crusty newspaperman is forced onto a committee to judge Christmas displays—a job that leads him to a suspiciously ostentatious ex-con and then a miracle. A hog farmer’s widow receives cryptic, unsolicited letters from a man in Schenectady about “the indefinable sweet aches of the spirit.” But what will she find when she goes to meet him in the flesh?

These beautifully rendered works are a testament to Vonnegut’s unique blend of observation and imagination. Like a present left behind by a departed loved one, While Mortals Sleep bestows upon us a shimmering Kurt Vonnegut gift: a poignant reflection of our world as it is and as it could be. ... Read more

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