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Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical Collage by…

Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical Collage (1981)

by Kurt Vonnegut

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This is a collection of essays that include speeches, essays, short works of fiction, and other pieces Vonnegut has written for a variety of purposes. He weaves them together with his thoughts on a variety of topics that range from his family history to literature to religion.

From the very first essay on the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, I knew I was going to love this book. Even though this collection was published nearly 35 years ago, the points his makes are still relevant today, some of them even more so. As with any collection of short works, some of them are weaker than others. I almost dropped my rating to four stars because of that, but overall, I enjoyed the book so much that I’m sticking with five stars.
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  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
As is indicated by the subtitle, this is an eclectic mix of (mostly) KV's uncollected writing at the time it was published in 1981. The format allows him to put in plain English many of the themes evident in his fiction. It's interesting to see his background and the things that made him tick. The high points for me were parts 1 (The First Amendment), 5 (Self-Interview), 8 (Mark Twain), and 11 (Religion).

Less enjoyable were parts 2 (Roots) and 15 (Jekyll and Hyde Updated). Roots is quite self-indulgent. It is a dry account of Vonnegut's ancestry going back a few generations, penned for the most part by his Uncle John. ( )
  jeffjardine | Jan 29, 2013 |
I start off by stating that i came to this one a little backward in that i had read 'Man Without a Country' first and really enjoyed it. I have always enjoyed Vonnegut's writing style and find him to be a hilarious writer. Again all the obvious statements, but what struck me about this book came from a comment my wife said when i gave her a few paragraphs from the book that had me cracking up about suicide, "I think that Kurt Vonnegut writes best when he gives me information from his own life and details he has picked up from living it" BIngo! For me this is what made Vonnegut great. He is able to detail through these brief sketches all those branches and roots that have made so many American lives and in that respect we are able to better understand his faults and eccentricities. Is this the right book to jump into for Vonnegut? A resounding NO would be my answer but for those that have picked up on a few novels and might want to know more about what made Vonnegut tick then any of the three autobiographical tomes would be a great place to check it out. ( )
  DavenportsDream | Jun 29, 2009 |
This book, the first of two "autobiographical collages" of Vonnegut's life, musings, and heretofore unpublished writings, is stunning not for the clarity of its intent or its compulsive readability, but for how it shows better than almost any other Vonnegut text how versatile a writer he could be.

Within this book are short stories, letters, speeches, sermons, introductions, essays, one self-interview, and a treatment of a play. Not all of them hit the mark, as is to be expected, but many of them are, and they are all at least passable. This is an admirable feat because so many of Vonnegut's novels seem to take on similar themes in a similar style and voice. Here, when Vonnegut takes off the mask of fiction, he reveals himself to be a far more talented writer than many may have given him credit for.

He finishes the book, interestingly enough for an athiest, with a Palm Sunday sermon which he concludes with, "I thank you for your sweetly faked attention." Yet by the time we reach that line, our attention has been far from faked, and nothing short of rapt.
  dczapka | Apr 1, 2008 |
Various writings (ephemera in the old days before Vonnegut became unable to create ephemera) and autobiographical musings. I liked the one on Twain and the one on Celine was interesting. Maybe there is too much autobiography (he describes all his ancestors to the great grandparent level.)
  franoscar | Jan 3, 2008 |
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For my cousins the de St. Andres everywhere. Who has the castle now?
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I am a member of what I believe to be the last recognizable generation of full-time, life-time American novelists.
And I believe that reading and writing are the most nourishing forms of meditation anyone has so far found. By reading the writings of the most interesting minds in history, we meditate with our own minds and theirs as well. This to me is a miracle.
As for literary criticism in general: I have long felt that any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel or a play or a poem is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae or a banana split.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385334265, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:13 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

An autobiographical collage from the renowned novelist includes previously unpublished articles, essays, letters, drawings, songs, and talks in which Vonnegut reflects on his life and times.

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