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Breakfast of Champions
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Breakfast of Champions [Unabridged] [Audible Audio Edition]

by Kurt Vonnegut (Author), Stanley Tucci (Narrator)
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (530 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews

Breakfast of Champions is vintage Vonnegut. One of his favorite characters, aging writer Kilgore Trout, finds to his horror that a Midwest car dealer is taking his fiction as truth. The result 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.
©1973 Kurt Vonnegut; (P)2003 HarperCollins Publishers

Product Details

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 5 hours and 29 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: HarperAudio
  • Release Date: April 30, 2004
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00026WUVY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
68 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vonnegut at his most enjoyably incoherent December 2, 2000
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. has specialized in two types of novels. The first types are made up of sharp, witty tales that poke fun at humanity, while all the time keeping one eye on the plot. Both SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE and MOTHER NIGHT are sterling examples.
The second type of Vonnegut novel is awkward and unusual in the extreme, often leaving the reader dazed, thumping his or her head on the floor in a vain attempt at comprehension. They are enjoyable, but their precise meaning continues to elude. TIMEQUAKE is a fine example. BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS is another.
BREAKFAST, to define some semblance of a plot, follows two main story threads. In the first, Vonnegut presents us with Dwayne Hoover, car-salesman extrordinaire, who is slowly and surely losing his mind. In the second, we have Vonnegut regular Kilgore Trout, the unemployed and unlikable science-fiction writer, who is hitch-hiking his way across the country to recieve a sizable award at an arts convention.
This is the plot, but Vonnegut adheres to it only in passing. In countless asides and divergences, Vonnegut explores sex, race, politics, sex, enviromental catastrophe, sex, aliens, robots, god, and sex. All this, plus numerous obscene doodles and an appearance from Vonnegut himself, bestowing wisdom upon his creations.
What, exactly, is Vonnegut trying to say? American culture is a vast wasteland of imbecility? People are generally self-centred and greedy, and above all, not nice? As a culture, America is doomed to die in its own sewage? The answer to all would seem to be yes. Vonnegut has often had a core of anger in his writings, and BREAKFAST is perhaps his angriest.
But BREAKFAST is not simply a gloomy discussion of the end of us all. Vonnegut is far too wise to dwell on man's foibles for long.
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77 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Weird and wonderful: pure Vonnegut March 28, 2002
Kurt Vonnegut's novel "Breakfast of Champions" follows the odyssey of oddball science fiction writer Kilgore Trout from his melancholy childhood in Bermuda, to the sleazy underside of New York City, and eventually to a fateful encounter with car dealer Wayne Hoover, a man "on the brink of going insane." Within this framework Vonnegut weaves an amazing satiric tapestry that looks at racism, mental illness, environmental crises, the nature and function of art, and many other issues. The book is filled with Vonnegut's own quirky illustrations.
"Breakfast" is harsh, even cruel, but also tender and compassionate; it's laugh-out-loud funny, yet haunting and tragic. It's also a reality-warping metaphysical triumph; Vonnegut breaks down the barriers between reality and fiction, and invites the reader into the very process of the novel's creation. He creates a more intimate bond between author, reader, and fictional character than any other writer I can think of.
Vonnegut presents some of American literature's most memorable characters in "Breakfast." But my favorite is undoubtedly Trout. Throughout the book we also get glimpses of Trout's own voluminous body of work, and meet some of his bizarre sci-fi characters. The book as a whole is also enriched by Vonnegut's unique style; he writes as if for an extraterrestrial audience to whom humanity is utterly alien.
"Breakfast" is a profane, naughty, yet profoundly spiritual book. Filled with strange and vivid details, it's an oddly comforting modern-day testament for our fractured world. Thanks, Kurt.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Although not his most popular work, this is in my opinion Vonnegut's most brilliant novel. Superficially it seems childish, with it's inane illustrations (by the author) and rambling, seemingly unstructured text. But probe a little deeper and some truly profound insights emerge, and there is litle doubt that this is a work of carefully crafted, absolute genius.
There are at least four main themes in this book, and the way Vonnegut weaves them together is both masterful and unorthodox. (In no particular order) the first theme is of madness - Dwayne Hoover has finally fallen victim to the chemicals in his brain, and much of the narrative unfolds around his descent into lunacy and violence. The second theme is that of the alienation of modern-day life, as a despairing Kilgore Trout makes his "Pilgrim's Progress" across small-town USA, and Wayne Hoobler spends the novel waiting pathetically for his dreams to come true while standing by a Holiday Inn dumpster. The third theme is on the meaning of all art, both in Rabo Karabekian's stunning exposition on modern painting, and on Vonnegut's own musings about the point of writing a novel (which occurs within the narrative).
And the final theme, binding it all together, is that of love and connection. As is found in many of Vonnegut's works, he argues that the giving and receiving of love is the only thing that makes our otherwise meaningless lives valuable. Many people miss this point when they read Vonnegut, and hence come away feeling Vonnegut is a very bitter man. If you see this, you'll discover he is actually a deeply compassionate one.
I have read this book many times, and each time come away with a new insight. Read it and treasure it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars best book ever written
best book ever written!my favorite by is so different from any other book.its what made Vonnegut my favorite writer
Published 4 hours ago by neal niess
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE
Breakfast of Champions: A Novel My all-time favorite Vonnegut treat! A must read for his fans!
Published 10 days ago by Shirley M. Lute
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Vonnegut has a way of telling you the future and still surprising you!
Published 18 days ago by Daniel Haynes
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes cynicism fun!
For my son 15. First Vonnegut I read 35 yrs ago. Makes cynicism fun. Figured he'd need something - coming of age in R.C.A.
Published 21 days ago by Tom Pain
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Best book ever written
Published 24 days ago by Nathan R. Germain
4.0 out of 5 stars Nutritious in strange ways
I most certainly enjoyed this book, although the reasons why would either escape or frighten most people. Breakfast of Champions truly is strange, but it is also truly human. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sharp
4.0 out of 5 stars The first time I read this was about 40 years ...
The first time I read this was about 40 years ago and it was very enjoyable. It was still a hoot reading it a second time.
Published 1 month ago by NMARK
4.0 out of 5 stars Your martinis will never taste the same again...
What a classic! What a critic of American values. So much still of it still resonates.
Published 1 month ago by Andrew
5.0 out of 5 stars ha ha ha ha ha
Kurt Vonnegut just cracks me up!
Published 1 month ago by islander
5.0 out of 5 stars BOC is ine of Kurt Vonneguts best works. He has outdone himself inb...
BOC is ine of Kurt Vonneguts best works. He has outdone himself inb the humor of life. Gotta love him.
Published 2 months ago by Cindee Goodspeed
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