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Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

Breakfast of Champions (original 1973; edition 1973)

by Kurt Vonnegut

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Title:Breakfast of Champions
Authors:Kurt Vonnegut
Info:Cape, Jonathan (1973), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Your library

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Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut (1973)

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English (108)  Czech (1)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (111)
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BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS is mainly a vehicle to showcase Kurt Vonnegut’s uniquely gentle satirical style. The plot is chaotic and pretty silly—in his preface, he tells the reader that the novel is “a tale of a meeting of two lonesome, skinny, fairly old white men on a planet which was dying fast”; the setting is hopelessly mundane and depressing—Midland City; the characters are deeply flawed and mostly recycled from previous works; and the narrative is filled with asides and crude drawings that seem cute but unnecessary. As my aside, Vonnegut once advocated for the elimination of the semi-colon, a convention I obviously have trouble adhering to.

So why are people attracted to this work? Mainly it is because of Vonnegut’s narrative voice. His worldview was often quite pessimistic, but his observations were always refreshing, spot on and unfailingly amiable. He addressed most of the absurdities and evils of American culture with characteristic deadpan humor. One can’t help but wonder what he would have made of the bizarre presidential campaign of 2016. Clearly, 50 years later, people seem to be waking up to some of the things that bothered Vonnegut in the 70’s, but whether we are up to the task of changing them seems to be doubtful.

There are far too many examples in the novel of Vonnegut’s jaundiced but accurate perceptions to cite them in any detail. You need to just let them flow over you as you read. Invariably, these observations provoke smiles, laughter and frequently downright awe. His scope was indeed prodigious, including racism, corporate greed, inequality, war, environmental degradation, materialism, sex, mental health, politics, history as myth, futility, derangement, free will, the inadequacy of fiction as a vehicle for change, and so it goes.

Vonnegut uses a hopeful metaphor of mirrors as “leaks” to a more rational reality. Notwithstanding his pessimistic view of our current reality as a bizarre wonderland, not unlike what Alice found on the other side of her looking glass, Vonnegut seemed to persist in a belief that kindness to other humans can be redemptive. ( )
  ozzer | Apr 14, 2016 |
Absolutely fantastic! Possibly my favorite Vonnegut. Brilliantly written, but sad in a way only Vonnegut can put it on paper.
  bartt95 | Apr 10, 2016 |
1973 ( )
  ChrisPisarczyk | Mar 17, 2016 |
Vonnegut is the only author I have encountered that I think comes across better as an audio production. I'm listening to it a second time, just because, so that will be three times all together when done. A good start since you can't get it all at once. I did not enjoy as much as Slaughterhouse Five, but I can't tell where to rank it compared to Cat's Cradle. I enjoy the perspective on mental illness - it is pretty modern. Not sure the dimensions of certain body parts really adds anything....If anyone knows where I can get an audio of Galapagos... ( )
  MaureenCean | Feb 2, 2016 |
A weird, and wonderful novel! With lots of illustrations, that are also weird and wonderful! Science fiction writer Kilgore Trout and car salesman Dwayne Hoover are the two main characters who eventually cross paths in Midland City. It is a strange story, yet it contains powerful observations of the United States - its history, its political and social agendas (especially the plight of the African Americans) , and its declining environmental health. The story also mentions the length and width of all the male characters' penises. The author himself appears as a character toward the end of the book, though his "voice" is heard throughout. It is a bit unconventional, but I found that to be refreshing and entertaining. Goodbye Blue Monday! And so on. ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | Jan 22, 2016 |
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When he hath tried me,
I shall come forth as gold.
In Memory of Phoebe Hurty,,
who comforted me in Indianapolis--
during the Great Depression
First words
This is the tale of a meeting of two lonely, skinny, fairly old white men on a planet which was dying fast.
Roses are red and ready for plucking; you’re sixteen and ready for high school.
Here is a picture of a wide open beaver.
Sometimes I wonder about the creator of the universe.
The chief weapon of sea pirates, however, was their capacity to astonish. Nobody else could believe, until it was too late, how heartless and greedy they were.
New knowledge is the most valuable commodity on earth. The more truth we have to work with, the richer we become.
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The author questions the condition of modern man in this novel depicting a science fiction writer's struggle to find peace and sanity in the world.

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