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Breakfast Of Champions (Vintage Classics) Paperback – 21 May 1992
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"Vonnegut performs considerable complex magic... Fresh, funny, outrageous...he very nearly levitates" New York Times "A great deal of wit and playfulness...an entire universe of disorder is distilled" Guardian "Outrageous, witty, thought-provoking, unputdownable, scintillating, invigorating, ennobling, enlightening and masterly" Spectator "Brilliant... It seems, at times, as if Voltaire has returned to satirise the horrors of plastic, disposable America" Sunday Times
In a frolic of cartoon and comic outbursts against rule and reason, a miraculous weaving of science fiction, memoir, parable, fairy tale and farce, Kurt Vonnegut attacks the whole spectrum of American society, releasing some of his best-loved literary creations on the scene.See all Product description
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This is an amazing book. The English language is remarkable for its redundancy but I am not sure that there is a redundant sentence or word in Sirens of Titan. Despite this the book is a pleasure to read. It is not a conventional story. The world that Constant, whose story this is, inhabits is not a conventional world but it feels familiar at first. Then Vonnegut drops the reader into the fantasy world of Mars. You could stumble and fall by the wayside at this point but Unk's story soon grips you.
I describe this book as a master class because I found myself reading it in wonder. Where did the ideas come from? How can text flow so smoothly? Why should this seeming nonsense be such a gripping read?
I see themes that I have encountered elsewhere in this book. As noted in the blurb I can see that Douglas Adams could have been inspired by this book. But do I pick up something of of Orwell's 1984 and Gillian's Brazil? I am not sure. What I am certain of is that I wish I had read Sirens of Titan years ago.
The reason why it reminds me of HHGTTG is that the book really does reflect on how small the human race and the planet Earth is in the wider scheme of things and the absurdity of life in general as we get knocked about by forces beyond our control. Less obvious comedy than HHGTTG but that leaves the messages on subjects such as religion to come through more clearly.
The book has a plot that some might find loony. And it is, but in a good way. The characters are so richly and fully realized that the crazy plot just works.
It provides a satirical look at modern (well, modern-ish) American culture and holds nothing sacred. Lies told to children in the name of 'education', the American national anthem, the figures of women, modern art, business practices, authors, social standing, penis size and a whole host of other taboos are attacked and pulled apart in the most amusing way.
Like all good comedians, Vonnegut uses humour and simplicity to deliver profound insights that are are immediately recognised for what they are.
I know not everyone agrees - so if you want a 'story' and 'realistic characters' then this is not for you. If you want an amusing satire that will make you chuckle then this book may be up your street. I definitely enjoyed it.
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Contains dated racial content.Read more