Timely and passionate book by the bestselling writerThe nearest Vonnegut may ever come to writing an autobiography
Kurt Vonnegut is the author of many novels including the internationally best-selling Slaughterhouse 5, Cat's Cradle and Breakfast of Champions.
In his first book since 1999, it's just like old times as Vonnegut (now 82) makes with the deeply black humor in this collection of articles written over the last five years, many from the alternative magazine In These Times. But the pessimistic wisecracks may be wearing thin; the conversational tone of the pieces is like Garrison Keillor with a savage undercurrent. Still, the schtick works fine most of the time, underscored by hand-lettered aphorisms between chapters. Some essays suffer from authorial self-indulgence, however, like taking a dull story about mailing a manuscript and stretching it to interminable lengths. Vonnegut reserves special bile for the "psychopathic personalities" (i.e., "smart, personable people who have no consciences") in the Bush administration, which he accuses of invading Iraq so America can score more of the oil to which we have become addicted. People, he says, are just "chimpanzees who get crazy drunk on power." Of course, that's exactly the sort of misanthropy hardcore Vonnegut fans will lap upAthe online versions of these pieces are already described as the most popular Web pages in the history of In These Times. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
'Part memoir, part rant and part joke, Vonnegut's latest book is as elusive as it is beguiling. Throughout this slim volume, the author walks a fine line between despair over our deteriorating world and a consummate entertainer's urge to amuse' Sunday Times 'Vonnegut's A Man without a Country is pure late Twain, darkly funny, never less than enraged at corruption and greed, and overflowing with compassion for the powerless. We've never needed him more' Russell Banks 'If Vonnegut isn't the enduring Good Humor man, who is?' John Irving, The Times 'This enjoyable volume of reflections and anecdotes reminds us what is unique about the author of those startlingly good American novels Slaughterhouse Five, Cat's Cradle and Breakfast of Champions ... Kurt Vonnegut is one of the greatest writers of the past 50 years' Daily Telegraph
Nothing on this audio package reveals it, but this book is a collection of essays that Vonnegut published over the past five years, mostly in the antiestablishment magazine In These Times. It's an unstructured mix of discursive reminiscences, thoughts about writing, and diatribes about the insanities of the modern world-particularly those of the Bush administration. It's a thin book, but as it may be the closest thing to autobiography that the author will ever publish, his many devoted listeners will welcome it. The print edition with Vonnegut's handwritten aphorisms and illustrations might suffice for most libraries; however, narrator Norman Dietz adds a nearly perfect sardonic tone that makes this audio program worth listening to for its own sake. Recommended for most collections.-R. Kent Rasmussen, Thousand Oaks, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.