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Timequake [Kindle Edition]

Kurt Vonnegut
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Kurt Vonnegut wasn't too crazy about the first version of his latest (and, he says, last) book Timequake, which is part memoir, part rescued novel. As he writes in the introduction, "My great big fish, which stunk so, was entitled Timequake." The book was originally going to be about a cosmic rerun, where the whole world does one decade over again exactly as it did before. However, after a decade in a writer's block continuum, Vonnegut decided to jump ship and salvage what he could from the wreckage of "a novel that never wanted to be written." He "filleted" the big stinky sucker, took its best parts out and made a "stew", seasoning it with memories and personal anecdotes. Vonnegut's alter ego, Kilgore Trout, the science fiction writer from previous novels (Slaughterhouse Five, Galapagos, Breakfast of Champions), looks back on his life as well when he meets up with Vonnegut at a clambake after history has repeated itself. Both authors discuss the idea of paralyzed "free will", the loss of loved ones and why "being alive is a crock of shit". Although it's filled with Vonnegut's unmistakable sarcasm and quirky insights, Timequakeisn't a streamlined novel with a tightly bound plot and strictly directed characters. It's a loose, free-flowing farewell from one of America's most beloved voices in popular fiction.


"Utterly original...capable of moving from irony to lament within a sentence" (Guardian)

"Reading Timequake... I feel privileged to have spent several hours in the company of a most genial, affable and upbeat soul indeed...a wise, winning and utterly charming concoction of fiction, commentary and autobiography" (Literary Review)

"Timequake is sweet, wild and cock-eyed... Vonnegut has always had a true comic ear... A beautifully fastidious writer, utterly original" (Guardian)

"Fascinating digressions, epigrams and memories, vitalised by Vonnegut;s irrepressible intelligence and comic imagination, creating a movingly intimate work" (Harpers & Queen)

"Highly entertaining... The portraits of Vonnegut's first wife, brother and sister are beautiful, sharp, critical, loving" (New York Times Book Review)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1222 KB
  • Print Length: 276 pages
  • Publisher: RosettaBooks (22 Aug 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005IQKF8S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #52,593 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Kurt Vonnegut was a writer, lecturer and painter. He was born in Indianapolis in 1922 and studied biochemistry at Cornell University. During WWII, as a prisoner of war in Germany, he witnessed the destruction of Dresden by Allied bombers, an experience which inspired Slaughterhouse Five. First published in 1950, he went on to write fourteen novels, four plays, and three short story collections, in addition to countless works of short fiction and nonfiction. He died in 2007.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect climax to a fantastic career 1 April 1999
By A Customer
Nearing the end of his life, and this probably his final novel, Vonnegut writes about his feelings as the twentieth century comes to a close. The civil rights movement and socialism have both failed to end human unhappiness, and the aspirations of Vonnegut's generation, those who fought in WW2, have been left largely unfulfilled. Yet despite this undercurrent of despair, Vonnegut presents us with a hotch-potch of brilliantly funny anecdotes from his life (eg. the ballet dancer and the bucket), which he arranges in his familar style around a science-fiction-style plot. This book is both laugh-out loud and inspirational - a must have for all Vonnegut readers.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ting-a-Ling 7 Jan 2006
By E Parry
It's hard to give this book a star rating. I enjoyed it, it was funny at times, poignant at others. It had a melancholy edge to it, yet had Vonnegut's trademark bizareness.
A few chapters in, you realise that there isn't going to be much of a narrative. There is a story of sorts that is a central point around which the book hangs, but for the most part the premise is a way for Vonnegut to write about his life and the world as he knows it. Perhaps this is his way of writing a kind of autobiography. It reminded me of Douglas Coupland's Life After God, but good and less angsty. It's a very meditative book, it ambles around without much of a direction, but that's ok, because it's filled with brilliant pieces of wisdom. "Listen: we are here on earth to fart around, and don't let anyone tell you different".
This is not a good book for Vonnegut newcomers. While I enjoyed it, it made me want to immediately go and re-read Breakfast of Champions, which I then realised was a much better book. I recommend readers start there and come to this one later. This is a good book and by most other author's standards might be approaching a masterpiece, but for Vonnegut it's more like a quiet coda to his more accomplished works.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brings back memories 2 Jun 2000
I remember the first Vonnegut I ever read: Cat's Cradle, read in 8 hours on a flight from London to Dallas when I was 14. It was unlike anything I had ever read before or have read since, Vonnegut's other novels included. But this book brought back the excitement of that first discovery.
Timequake is, as far as I am concerned, his best novel. Touching, funny, surreal, quizzical, elegiac, dismissive, pointless, asinine, glorious, weird, wonderful. I've run out of adjectives. Let's hope he can think of some more before he snuffs it.
Incidentally, if you're worried Kurt will pop his clogs and you'll have nothing to read, may I highly recommend Bo Fowler who seems to be making a brave stab at taking over his mantle.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Timequake None 26 Jun 2007
When I first heard about this book, I have to say I was excited. I knew vaguely of Vonnegut as does everyone involved in literature and yet I'd read very little so when I finally came to stopping off at a bookshop this novel was definitely on my list.

This was in many ways a very good novel and I don't want to start by rubbishing its bad points so instead I'd like to say that it is very well executed, written in nice poignant prose, has some very important things to say on the nature of discovery and mankind and gives you a good insight into a man who has had an impressive body of work over the years. By the end of the book I couldn't help liking the old coot, his switching between playful silliness and frank talk of serious issues convincing me that this was a man I would have liked had I met him soon enough. The details of Vonnegut's life do give depth to a novel essentially devoid of any protagonists or real characters even.

Despite all of this I can't help feeling a little cheated by this novel. As an excercise in post-modernism and cultural discussion, it's delightful. However this isn't the book I bought, isn't even close to what the blurb describes. Perhaps if it was better labelled I may have come out of the other end feeling less disappointed.

Fundamentally, Timequake is such as solid concept for a novel and automatically suggests so many ideas for a good realist narrative that what we have here really feels like a shadow of something bigger. Although Vonnegut tells us that he wasn't happy with Timequake One and that this is his redraft, there is very little evidence of the original story in the finished work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A poignant ending to a remarkable career 27 Feb 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is Vonnegut's last full novel- published a decade before his death- and I should emphasise what many reviewers have already said; this is not a Vonnegut novel for beginners. If you're looking to begin reading Vonnegut try his brilliant novel SlaughterHouse-Five. Alternatively consider Cat's Cradle or Mother Night. Yet avoid Timequake- you can only really appreciate this novel if you have read a good number of the author's other works already.

In Timequake Vonnegut ebbs and flows between often seemingly random topics, all of which are unified primarily by his immensely human experience. Chronolgy has very little meaning. Between bouts of anecdote and considerations of the state of post-modernist Western civilization against the backdrop of huge technological advancement, are patches of a more conventional Vonnegutian plot- a typically brillaint and fragmented tale of Kilgoure Trout. Yet fiction and autobiography are blended seamlessly- Vonnegut interacts both with the novel's fictional characters and describes the real people who defined his past- such that it is never quite clear where the line exists between fiction and reality. The result is somewhat chaotic, yet a genuinly very rewarding experience.

For me Vonnegut is one of the greatest authors of the 20th century, and Timequake provides a concurrently entertaining and truely moving insight into his remarkable perspective, written in a wry and humerous style which will be comfortably fimiliar to the many fans of this great author, for whom Timequake is an essential read. I have come to the conclusion that in many ways Timequake is the richest and most meaningful of Vonnegut's works. No other novel goes quite so far in revealing the importance, the beauty and ultimately the tumultuous torment of human awareness.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Rubbish
The author admitted this book was created from previous poor ideas he had but they should have stayed in the bin
Published 9 months ago by R K Bradney
2.0 out of 5 stars This is quite a confusing and disappointing book...
This is mainly artful blether. No clear structure. No clear direction. It's hasn't got a plot so much as general threads of stuff, both fictional and autobiographical, that kind of... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Ashley Frieze
3.0 out of 5 stars 'Who is it they say I am?' Hard-bitten, soft-centred
Querulous meta-fictional ramblings, with a smattering of stand-up (juvenile; moose poop, anyone?) and philosophy (sophomoric), from the aging libertarian, starring both KV himself... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Simon Barrett
4.0 out of 5 stars Late Vonnegut - witty but pessimistic
I wanted to recapture the fun of reading Vonnegut in the 70's and settled on this late novel. I'd read that he had become even more pessimistic as he got older, and this tale... Read more
Published 19 months ago by S Papworth
5.0 out of 5 stars Top form.
If you are a fan of Kurt Vonnegut, I think it is safe to say you expect high quality. I read this as a palate cleanser after finishing War and Peace, and I was blown away once... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Tim Harcourt-Powell
4.0 out of 5 stars Popular Author on Automatic Pilot
I purchased this when it was first published,read a few chapters and then put it down for 10 years.I remember being perturbed by its undertones of academic elitism,and I felt that... Read more
Published on 6 Jun 2012 by nicholas hargreaves
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Book- (once you realise there's not really a story!)
I put this book down about four times during the first couple a chapters as I thought it was terrible, but I kept on reading. I'm glad I did. Read more
Published on 24 Aug 2011 by Tom Hagan
5.0 out of 5 stars Timequake of our times
Timequake is another of Kurt Vonnegut classics. The author is one of those who are either loved by their readership or leave the audience cold. I am one of his enthusiasts. Read more
Published on 16 Feb 2009 by Ms. Ewa A. Maydell
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing...
I'm a big Vonnegut fan, but this book was really disappointing. The idea was brilliant, and I was really looking forward to reading an interesting story, but there's hardly any... Read more
Published on 2 Jan 2009 by anonymous
3.0 out of 5 stars An elaborately packaged foreword (know what you pay for)
I bought this book because it was a hilarious premise, while it lay on the shelve, waiting for me to get time to start it, I started wondering how on earth Kurt could have... Read more
Published on 3 July 2008 by M. Ooijer
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