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Galapagos Paperback – 26 Mar 1987

3.6 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Paperback, 26 Mar 1987
£45.73 £0.01
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Grafton; New edition edition (26 Mar. 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0586064826
  • ISBN-13: 978-0586064825
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 11.2 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 652,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"The best Vonnegut novel yet!"--John Irving

"Beautiful . . . provocative, arresting reading."--"USA Today

""A madcap genealogical adventure . . . Vonnegut is a postmodern Mark Twain."--"New York Times Book Review
"

"The best Vonnegut novel yet!"--John Irving
"Beautiful . . . provocative, arresting reading."--"USA Today
""A madcap genealogical adventure . . . Vonnegut is a postmodern Mark Twain."--"New York Times Book Review
"

The best Vonnegut novel yet! John Irving
Beautiful . . . provocative, arresting reading. "USA Today
" A madcap genealogical adventure . . . Vonnegut is a postmodern Mark Twain. "New York Times Book Review
"" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

Long, long ago, as he researched into the origin of species, Charles Darwin had been inspired by the creatures of the Galapagos. Now, a million years on, the new inhabitants of the islands – the human survivors of the 'Nature Cruise of the Century' – have quietly evolved into sleek, furry creatures with flippers, and small brains. All other forms of humankind have ceased to exist, finally made redundant by their own inventions.

All that survives of their Big-Brain Culture is contained in Mandarax, a tiny electronic marvel which can recall any one of twenty thousand popular quotations from world literature, as well as translate among a thousand languages. Unfortunately Mandarax doesn't understand Kanka-Bono, the language of the cannibals who have arrived to 'look after' the new humanity…

"'Galapagos' is Vonnegut's funniest and maddest book in years."
TIME OUT

"'Galapagos' is clever, extremely entertaining, cordially balancing on the knife edge of blackness and never falling off."
GUARDIAN

"Vonnegut's best novel since 'Slaughterhouse 5'"
MARTIN AMIS,' Observer'

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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 life-affirming read. Rather than summarise or 'analyse' the book here, I'll just say this: if you've never read Vonnegut before and are wondering where to start, I'd recommend starting here. You'll get a really good feel for his style, and can then decide for yourself whether you like him.
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By A Customer on 26 Aug. 1999
Format: Paperback
Once more, Vonnegut uses the genre of Sci-Fi to explore and give insight to the human condition. And he does it in such a way that it is almost but not quite believable and acceptable.
His ever-so-slightly tongue-in-cheek view (that the size of the human brain is the cause of all our problems, from sex to economics to world peace) doesn't seem either believable OR acceptable until you read the book.
Read it and understand that human intelligence is the cause of all of the ills in the world and when humanity is fully evolved (a million years in the future), we'll be less intelligent yet much happier.
This book is a lot of fun.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not a straightforward, run of the mill normal story. Like Vonnegut's most famous work, Slaughterhouse 5, it is told out of sequence, eccentrically and erratically. Much of the main plot is reported rather than seen, and you are told of events several times before they happen. Conceits like the asterisk before the name of everyone about to die keep you aware you are reading a story rather than being absorbed into a universe. This distancing is in keeping with the abstract feeling of the narrator - but what would you expect from the narration of a nosey ghost?

I found the ending an engaging puzzle, particularly when I considered the well known symptom of the illness the narrator has contracted before his death. Daren't say more, as I'd hate to spoil it for anyone.

Vonnegut is a quirky, interesting and funny writer but he is not for everyone. If you like his prose you will probably thoroughly enjoy this - it's a short, easy and appealing read. If a good old fashioned story is your thing, you'd do better to pick something else.
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Format: Paperback
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 fun but it's not Vonnegut at his best.
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Format: Paperback
This is the first Kurt Vonnegut book I ever read and is by far the most unique, witty and insightful book that I have come across in many years. The book is narrated by a shipbulider who was decapitated 1 million years before, whos spirit currently resides amongst the only living decendants of mankind who have evolved into small seal like creatures. The story revolves around the last remaining people left to continue the human race after the virtual extinction of mankind. The tragic stories of the individuals brought together for the doomed 'cruise of the century' are pointiently described towards their eventual place in the continuation of the human race. Vonnegut effortlessly exposes the frailties of mankind and the obsurdities of modern civilisations in a way that is very profound and poetic. Anyone unaware of Vonneguts books will soon discover that he has a very unusual (to say the least) perspective on life, which he conveys with ease, writing in a way that makes you think that he believes that everyone thinks this way.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Told by the straightforward case of unreliable narrator (Leon Trotsky Trout, a ghost of a soldier who "died" of syphilis), "Galápagos" the book is a lot of fun with a hint of sci-fi. Okay, it's a bit repetitive and drags on occasionally, but it is full of all things that is Kurt Vonnegut - sarcasm, cynicism, scorn, nihilism and pessimism and ultimate believe in the best which is yet to come. An absurd plot, crazy ideas, and yet, and still, good-hearted humour.

"Galapagos" starts with the financial crisis of 1986 and ends with human species, devolved, lying down side by side, seals-like, furry and fingerless, with much lesser brains (and a lot less problems) on the volcanic shores of Galapagos exactly a million years later. Are you interested in Vonnegut's answer to Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species? - look no further.

I imagine "Galápagos" has to be re-read to catch up on all the little details and enjoy all dark humour. It is back on my reading list.
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By Bacchus TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 4 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback
This was my first Kurt Vonnegut read and although at the time I was disappointed with it, it was intrigued enough to read Slaughterhouse 5. Knowing a bit more of his style and particular world view, I got more out of that book.

At the time I read Galapagos, I found it hard to take his particular view of the future; that the human beings' large brains will ultimately be our downfall. Having read Slaughterhouse 5, I can now understand Kurt Vonnegut's particularly nihilistic world view. In the book, he shows the end of the human race except for one group of people who end up stranded on Galapagos during some kind of military/ecological disaster. They begin as civilised 20th century people and we then see their descendents in 1,000,000 years time having evolved into inarticulate seal-like creatures.

At the time of reading, I felt the need to defend the human race against such a prediction but then thought, Hey, what's the point? It interests me as much as our ancestors 1,000,000 years ago. There likely to be as much meeting of minds with those ancestors as there is with our descendents.

One annoying flaw in the book is a fact revealed by the Mandrax (a 1980s' Wikipedia-like computer programme) used by one of the characters. The book states that Charles Darwin was born in 1812. He was in fact born in 1809. I realised this was wrong when I read this statement and thought that perhaps the decline of the human race would be predicated on this factual error. Sadly, this is never picked up in the rest of the book.

Anyway, I hope this does not put anyone off reading the book - at the very least, it may lead you to other books by this particular writer.
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