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Breakfast of Champions

Vonnegut, Kurt

(eBook - 2000)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Breakfast of Champions
Print
Random House, Inc.
In Breakfast of Champions, one of Kurt Vonnegut’s most beloved characters, the aging writer Kilgore Trout, finds to his horror that a Midwest car dealer is taking his fiction as truth. What follows is murderously funny satire, as Vonnegut looks at war, sex, racism, success, politics, and pollution in America and reminds us how to see the truth.

Rosetta Books

Breakfast of Champions (1973) provides frantic, scattershot satire and a collage of Vonnegut’s obsessions. His recurring cast of characters and American landscape was perhaps the most controversial of his canon; it was felt by many at the time to be a disappointing successor to Slaughterhouse-Five, which had made Vonnegut’s literary reputation.

The core of the novel is Kilgore Trout, a familiar character very deliberately modeled on the science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon (1918-1985), a fact which Vonnegut conceded frequently in interviews and which was based upon his own occasional relationship with Sturgeon. Here Kilgore Trout is an itinerant wandering from one science fiction convention to another; he intersects with the protagonist, Dwayne Hoover (one of Vonnegut’s typically boosterish, lost and stupid mid-American characters) and their intersection is the excuse for the evocation of many others, familiar and unfamiliar, dredged from Vonnegut’s gallery.

The central issue is concerned with intersecting and apposite views of reality, and much of the narrative is filtered through Trout who is neither certifiably insane nor a visionary writer but can pass for either depending upon Dwayne Hoover’s (and Vonnegut’s) view of the situation. America, when this novel was published, was in the throes of Nixon, Watergate and the unraveling of our intervention in Vietnam; the nation was beginning to fragment ideologically and geographically, and Vonnegut sought to cram all of this dysfunction (and a goofy, desperate kind of hope, the irrational comfort given through the genre of science fiction) into a sprawling narrative whose sense, if any, is situational, not conceptual.

Reviews were polarized; the novel was celebrated for its bizarre aspects, became the basis of a Bruce Willis movie adaptation whose reviews were not nearly so polarized. (Most critics hated it.) This novel in its freewheeling and deliberately fragmented sequentiality may be the quintessential Vonnegut novel, not necessarily his best, but the work which most truly embodies the range of his talent, cartooned alienation and despair.



Baker & Taylor
The author questions the condition of modern man in this novel depicting a science fiction writer's struggle to find peace and sanity in the world

Publisher: New York : RosettaBooks, 2000
ISBN: 9780795302428
0795302428
Branch Call Number: eNYPL Book
Characteristics: 1 online resource.
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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A wonderful work; one of the first books that truly engaged me at a young age.

Jan 23, 2013
  • Funktron rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Snarky, hilarious, depressing, and cynical. With an odd story about two quirky, unstable souls, Vonnegut gives an entertaining look at the (still valid in 2013) problems with American culture. I enjoyed it for the heart from which it came.

Jul 19, 2012
  • lemonnut rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Vonnegut has been on my list to read for a long time. I enjoyed the book - he definitely has a very distinct voice, and it was an entertaining read.

May 16, 2012
  • justmepolly rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

The central characters are Kilgore Trout and Dwayne - but not really. The true main character is Vonnegut himself.

Aug 06, 2011
  • Raiiner rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Beautiful, beautiful work. The last few chapters especially.

Feb 15, 2011
  • daymakerdave rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I love this book.

Sep 04, 2009
  • Anarchy_Bunny rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Most days I can't decide which is the bestest novel - this or Slaughterhouse Five. I have yet to come to a consensus on this matter. Read both and figure it out for yourself.

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Jan 23, 2013
  • Funktron rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

And I think now, as my fiftieth birthday draws near, about the American novelist Thomas Wolfe, who was only thirty-eight years old when he died. He got a lot of help in organizing his novels from Maxwell Perkins, his editor at Charles Scribner's Sons. I have heard that Perkins told him to keep in mind as he wrote, a unifying idea, a hero's search for a father.

It seems to me that really truthful American novels would have the heroes and heroines alike looking for <i>mothers</i> instead. This needn't be embarrassing. It's simply true.

A mother is more useful.

I wouldn't feel particularly good if I found another father. Neither would Dwayne Hoover. Neither would Kilgore Trout.

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