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God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian Paperback – December 14, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press; Later printing edition (December 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609800737
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609800734
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #338,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As a "reporter on the afterlife," Kurt Vonnegut bravely allows himself to be strapped to a gurney by his friend Jack Kevorkian and dispatched--round-trip--to the Pearly Gates. Or at least that's what he claims in the introduction to this series of brief pieces originally read as 90-second interludes on WNYC, Manhattan's public radio station. Revised and rewritten for this slim volume, Vonnegut's "interviews" range from the gossamer-slight to the deliciously barbed. Among the dead people he is privileged to talk to are Salvatore Biagini, a retired construction worker who died of a heart attack while rescuing his schnauzer from a pit bull; John Brown, still smoldering 140 years after his death by hanging; William Shakespeare, who spouts quotations and rubs Vonnegut the wrong way; and one of Vonnegut's own personal heroes, socialist and labor leader Eugene Victor Debs. The tables are turned on Vonnegut when he runs into Sir Isaac Newton, who is lurking near the Heaven end of the "blue tunnel" of the Afterlife. Newton, tireless in his quest for knowledge, wants to find out what the tunnel is made of, and he takes over the interview, besieging Vonnegut with questions. Unfazed, the writer moves on, looking up Martin Luther King's assassin, James Earl Ray, and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. It is only when Dr. Kevorkian is inconveniently convicted for murder that Vonnegut is forced to desist. This may be Vonnegut (or his publishers) scraping the bottom of the barrel, but no matter: there are few writers whose scrapings we'd rather have. (Jan.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

John Irving Vonnegut is our strongest writer...the most stubbornly imaginative. -- Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Kurt Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis in 1922. He studied at the universities of Chicago and Tennessee and later began to write short stories for magazines. His first novel, Player Piano, was published in 1951 and since then he has written many novels, among them: The Sirens of Titan (1959), Mother Night (1961), Cat's Cradle (1963), God Bless You Mr Rosewater (1964), Welcome to the Monkey House; a collection of short stories (1968), Breakfast of Champions (1973), Slapstick, or Lonesome No More (1976), Jailbird (1979), Deadeye Dick (1982), Galapagos (1985), Bluebeard (1988) and Hocus Pocus (1990). During the Second World War he was held prisoner in Germany and was present at the bombing of Dresden, an experience which provided the setting for his most famous work to date, Slaughterhouse Five (1969). He has also published a volume of autobiography entitled Palm Sunday (1981) and a collection of essays and speeches, Fates Worse Than Death (1991).

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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See all 63 customer reviews
This book is one of my favourite Vonnegut works.
Lindsey
Most will take about one minute to read, leaving the reader always wanting more.
Chuck Augello
It is a very easy and very quick read and worth reading again and again.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas on December 19, 1999
Format: Hardcover
For those of you who are Vonnegut fanatics, this is a book that you must have, but on the same token you may be slightly disappointed. An interesting and funny plot, placing Kurt Vonnegut in the hands of Dr. Kevorkian, but that may be one of the few humorous antics of the book.
Vonnegut's visits with the other side are short, often leaving the reader wanting to know just a little bit more. He uses an interesting approach, interviewing a wide variety of people...from famous thinkers to the typical Joe, reminding us that we much too often overlook the significance of every life.
Vonnegut's liberal-self shines through when he jokes around about the death penalty and the Texas facility that him and Jack must evacuate several times so that it may be put to "full" use. And for history buffs, his interview with Eugene V. Debs will keep you laughing. :)
This work is a short and fast read, which will start the reader off laughing. (The introduction is typical Vonnegut satire.) Not to be compared (by any means) to his major works such as Cat's Cradle, Slaughterhouse Five, or Mother Night, but nonetheless worth the read.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Craig VanDerAa on April 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
You know why I'm giving this book a '4'? Because it's not a masterpiece, but it IS unique and it stuck with me more than any book I've read in the past couple of years. Yes it's short book, but I have come to realize that not all great stories need to be long, drawn-out novels filled with plot twists and dozens of interesting characters. Vonnegut gets quickly to the point here. He usually does. I think that's one of his greatest strengths as an author. And what a great concept! It is collection of interviews with people who have passed away. As the story goes, Vonnegut has worked a deal with Jack Kevorkian whereby he is able to go to the pearly gates, interview someone, and then come back before it's too late. The resulting interviews with both famous and non-famous people are interesting, funny, sad, and, most of all, thought provoking. So if you want a quick read that gives you all of those emotions, get it.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By RSRitsma on January 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Old Kurt has done it again...Further pushing back the walls of reality to make room for his outlandish yet all too believable fiction. In "God Bless You, Dr Kevorkian" Vonnegut presents written transcripts from the post-mortem interviews he's conducted with dead celebrities(both well known and obscure) through controlled near death experiences courtesy of Dr. Jack Kevorkian. It is through these fictional interviews that Vonnegut gives his take on life, death, and the human experience and ends up at his familiar refrain: Life may be meaningless--but at least it's beautiful. This is vintage Vonnegut--A gospel of the laughable irony of human existence. This book was a joy to read.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Mazza HALL OF FAME on March 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
"God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian," by Kurt Vonnegut, is a short book (only 78 pages), but fun. The back cover notes describe it as "ficto-journalism and journo-fictionalism," and also observes that the book "began as a series of [...] ninety-second interludes for New York's public radio station."
The book is presented as a series of reports from the afterlife; according to Vonnegut, controversial assisted suicide advocate Dr. Jack Kevorkian guided him through controlled near-death experiences, during which Vonnegut interviewed a series of dead individuals: abolitionist John Brown, convicted murderer Karla Faye Tucker, beloved sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov, scientist Sir Isaac Newton, etc.
Along the way Vonnegut touches on such topics as humanism, slavery, genocide, ballooning, writing, and more. There are a number of curious revelations about the afterlife, such as the fact that Louis Armstrong leads a band which includes two Tasmanian musicians. "Dr. Kevorkian" is whimsical, cynical, irreverent, and altogether enjoyable.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Chuck Augello on February 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is a must for all Vonnegut fans, as the author demonstrates his usual wit and wisdom in a series of "interviews" with the famous and the dead. As usual, Vonnegut tweaks society for its failings while exhalting the human race for its loyalty and ability to love. These stories originated as a series of radio spots which Vonnegut did for New York City public radio station WNYC. The only complaint is that each piece is so short. Most will take about one minute to read, leaving the reader always wanting more. Vonnegut could have easily built this into a novel-length work. The idea is a great one, and it is the perfect canvas for him to explore issues and characters from all historical periods. However, one must be thankful for anything from this veteran author, and "God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian" is well worth the purchase price. It is one of the most enjoyable short fictions in many years.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By R. Kelly Wagner on August 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Vonnegut's sense of humor is as ascerbic as ever. He speaks to us "from the death chamber in Huntsville" (Texas). Those of us from Texas have long had cause to be ashamed of that particular place, but Vonnegut's use of it may be the only one that wouldn't embarrass us.
The "interview" with Isaac Asimov is priceless. You will be pleased to hear that Asimov is still writing, although avoiding the embarrassment of publishing new books years after he's dead (unlike, say, L. Ron.)
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