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41 Reviews
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you're new to Vonnegut, start with this one
Vonnegut (may he rest in peace) has been my favourite author ever since I graduated out of 'youth' books 25+ yrs ago, and I've read all that he's written, in many cases several times over. Galapagos may not be his greatest work but it's certainly in the top-5, and in many ways it's my personal favourite - a really interesting, intellectually challenging, fun and...
Published on 4 Oct 2007 by _roope_

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
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...
Published on 29 Nov 2009 by sft


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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great idea!, 30 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Galapagos (Paperback)
Great idea for a novel (the human brain has evolved into something too big that can think too much), funny, thought prevoking. One of those books you find yourself thinking about for weeks afterwards.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Galapagos, 21 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Galápagos (Kindle Edition)
An intriguing slant on the future evolution of mankind set in the cradle of the theory of evolution, the Galápagos Islands.
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2.0 out of 5 stars have not finished this, 20 Jun 2014
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Chris "book lover" (Hemel Hempstead UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Galápagos (Kindle Edition)
It is not my cup of tea therefore I gave up and did not read very much of it. Perhaps some one else would enjoy it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Strange Story, 15 May 2014
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This review is from: Galápagos (Kindle Edition)
This is a weird, yet compelling story, far fetched but in a way possibly plausible. A strangely Enjoyable and thrilling read!
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3.0 out of 5 stars An evolutionary correction, 25 April 2014
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This review is from: Galápagos (Kindle Edition)
The first thing to get out of the way is that the story is narrated from one million years in the future by the disembodied spirit (ghost) of Leon Trotsky Trout (Vonnegut aficionados will make the connection to Kilgore Trout) who died shortly before the events he wishes to relate took place.

Bear with me; the million year perspective is necessary as a central theme is evolution, which takes this sort of time frame to operate. But this is no overblown epic as most of the action occurs over a few days in 1986 around the planned departure date of the SS Bahia de Darwin on the “Nature Cruise of the Century” to the Galapagos Islands.

That things do not go according to plan for the captain and would-be passengers (a strange but interesting mix) is due to a man-made crisis and potential catastrophe inevitable, according to Trout with the benefit of his million year hindsight, as the human brain had got just too big and clever for the good of the species.

His (Trout speaking for Vonnegut) hypothesis is that brain development, having given an evolutionary advantage for millennia is now (1986) doing the opposite, evidenced by irrational and short term attitudes to war, crime, economics, climate change, etc. An evolutionary correction is overdue; and when it arrives, those aboard the Bahia de Darwin heading for the Galapagos may be the raw material on which it has to work.

Those who have read the classic Slaughterhouse 5 will recognise the style and structure; easy conversational narrative, looking backwards and forwards in time, with regular excursions to fill in back stories of more or less relevance to the tale. The frequent references to events yet to happen are at first intriguing, then teasing, but by the end were in danger of becoming irritating.

Based on my sample of two books, read 40 years apart, Vonnegut (who died in 2007) was a writer with something to say, be it idiotic or idiosyncratic, who said it with wit and style. Slaughterhouse 5 has never left my consciousness, and I’ve a feeling Galapagos will stick too.

[See my weekly reviews each Friday on abibliodyssey.blogspot.com]
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2.0 out of 5 stars '..and on and on..', 13 Feb 2014
This review is from: Galapagos (Paperback)
So slight a book, and such a slog! I started this review becalmed in the vicinity of p158 ('Blah-blah-blah') of the first (Grafton) paperback edition (the one with the misprint on p202 'Do did his father' for 'So did') and thinking of sending up a flare. The Sirens of Titan was a game-changer for me in my young manhood - so to speak - but in my old manhood I find Vonnegut's remedial English, tortuous plots and pasteboard, affectless 'characters'* very hard to take. The text is peppered with borderline inane quotations ('Help yourself, and heaven will help you. Jean de La Fontaine'; 'Doubt, of whatever kind, can be ended in Action alone. Carlyle.') Is he for real? The underlying Vonnegutian (rhymes with Lilliputian) philosophy - 'I would rather have been a stone' - is dilute, though I liked the image of cities as cancers, 'growing for the sake of growth alone'(p231). This needed oodles more humour ('So much for comedy', p128), irony, self-mockery - or even, crazed loon that I am, wit? - to mask the inner preacher. 'If [brains] had told the truth, then I could see some point in everybody's having one. But these things lied all the time!' This is not cynicism or realism, it's a crackerbarrel whine. Anyways, who's to say the author-narrator is not himself lying? (Though without 'lying' we could not have literature, as Vonnegut knew perfectly well.) Sirens, as I recall, was absurdism pure and simple; what was there not to like? I've not read Terry Pratchett. Could he be the Vonnegut the age demands?

* Not quite true - two of the younger females touched me, at certain points
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4.0 out of 5 stars American classic, 25 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Galápagos (Kindle Edition)
This is a most unusual book!! Vonnegut was a very stylish writer and I think he's a bit like Marmite in that you love him or can't stand him!
I like the way he plays with plots and breaks all the rules of writing fiction though some will think his work jumps about too much.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great writing, bizarre yet average story, 8 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Galápagos (Kindle Edition)
I had heard of Vonnegut's work, but never read any until I found this on special offer for my Kindle.
The quality of the writing is first rate: very readable, humorous, direct and free from waffle. The style reminded me quite a bit of Douglas Adams.

This particular story is a surreal and darkly comic take on the downfall of humanity. Although I enjoyed parts of it - again, I think, mainly due to the quality of the writing - the overall plot tended to lack direction and coherence, being driven by events arriving somewhat randomly 'ex machina'. This may well have been the author's intention, given the book's perspective on life, but it wasn't greatly satisfying for me.

Don't expect a great deal of suspense or excitement.
The book has a few ironic things to say about the human condition, but not really more than a few.

Because the bloke clearly knew how to write, I shall probably try some of his other work, perhaps the famous 'Slaughterhouse Five'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Full of ideas, 14 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Galápagos (Kindle Edition)
Interesting - an individual outlook. That sums it up for me - read it yourself and find out. why 25 ?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fun - but brain twisting, 24 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Galápagos (Kindle Edition)
I returned to this author after many years through Slaughterhouse V recently. This is a much lighter read - there is only the potential destruction of mankind and not the real horror of Dresden at its heart. I really loved the quirky take on the modern mythology around "progress" both of human beings through evolution and human society through capitalism. There are some witty observations on human behaviour, perceptions and relationships. Very funny, some smart ideas - I wonder how many around today would share the view of the narrator?! Well worth a few hours of anyone's time.
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Galápagos
Galápagos by Kurt Vonnegut
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