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Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical Collage Paperback – May 11, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Press Trade Paperback (May 11, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385334265
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385334266
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.9 x 5.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Vonnegut is George Orwell, Dr. Caligari and Flash Gordon compounded into one writer . . . a zany but moral mad scientist.”—Time

“[Kurt Vonnegut] is either the funniest serious writer around or the most serious funny writer.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Vonnegut is at the top of his form, and it is wonderful.”—Newsday

About the Author

Kurt Vonnegut’s black humor, satiric voice, and incomparable imagination first captured America’s attention in The Sirens of Titan in 1959 and established him as “a true artist” (The New York Times) with Cat’s Cradle in 1963. He was, as Graham Greene declared, “one of the best living American writers.” Mr. Vonnegut passed away in April 2007.

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

I recomend it to anyone.
ptlbjl@aol.com
Autobiographic and wide-ranging in his iconoclastic commentary on life, literature, education and social relations, Vonnegut is at his best.
Henry R. Feldman
If you value Kurt Vonnegut's opinions then this book will be a great read.
Tyler J

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By owookiee VINE VOICE on January 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
Palm Sunday is exactly what it is advertised - an autobiographical collage. KV tells his life story through bits and pieces of short stories, interviews, and ancestral writings. It gives you insight into his motivations from various points of view. The origins of all the plots of all his novels are revealed through him recounting his life experiences, the people he knew, the things he's seen. I feel as if all his novels I've read were clues in some elaborate murder mystery, and the long sought missing link has suddenly been revealed, and I now understand the butler did it.
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Norm Zurawski on November 20, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's hard to call this book anything but average, especially for Kurt Vonnegut. In fact, when it comes right down to it, it's even hard to call this a book. This is a collection of speeches and assorted writings that have been compiled and thrown together between 2 covers. There is some new material (mainly commentary) intermingled among these speeches and essays. That commentary is probably the most entertaining aspect of the whole book.
All in all this rates as an average of all the material included, and that average is no more or less than, well, thoroughly average. 3 stars. By giving it 3 stars I think it says the book is worth reading. But it's clearly not worth getting too excited about. No, this is not one of Vonnegut's greatest works. But it is interesting at spots.
In this book Vonnegut touches on all sorts of things, but as many seasoned KV readers will know, it would not be a vintage Vonnegut without mentioning Dresden, Indianapolis, and his son Mark's insanity. All 3 make numerous appearances in the book. It could probably be argued that the name of this book should be exactly that: Dresden, Indianapolis, and Mark's Insanity.
But it's not. It's called Palm Sunday for whatever reason. In it, he rates all of his works to date and I think he does a fair job doing so. For this one, he gives himself a C+, which is fair enough. He also said it took 6 years. If time is an indicator, I'll give him an A for effort.
Those interested in getting to know Vonnegut from the start should try The Sirens of Titan, Cat's Cradle, or Slaughterhouse-5. Those 3 are vintage Vonnegut and worth every good word ever expressed about them. Those who have read all of his fiction works and are looking to peer even deeper into his writings should indeed read this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David Robinson on May 12, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This volume is a time-capsule of information about Vonnegut's life, as revealed by Vonnegut himself. This book is timely information not only as a memorial to his life, but also as a source of insights about the nature of the world he lived in, specifically including the McCarthy red-baiting years, but the shadows of WWII. Anyone who isn't already familiar with the U.S. fire-bombing of Dresden should be required to read this book in order to get a fuller understanding of the full consequences of warfare. There are implications for current U.S. war efforts.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Professor Joseph L. McCauley on February 18, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Of interest to all Americans who feel rootless because we live in cities (see Spengler also) and because we are no longer hyphenated Americans. Vonnegut bemoans that his family, 'Indiana-Germans', lost the language and thereby passed none of the former culture on to him, leaving him (like the rest of us) at the mercy of football, basketball, TV, and shopping. Good and bad news for him, however: where the German language still survives after 150 years (central Texas ranchers, e.g.), it carries with it none of the German culture.Prerequisite for both 'Mother Night' und 'Schlachthof Funf'.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Sunclades on March 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is simply "An Autobiographical Collage". A collection of Op-Ed pieces, speeches givin, short family tree and some things that had no where else to go. As a fan of Kurt, I own most of his books, and I had this one for 3 years before I read it because I wanted to read more of his fiction before I found out about the man. Some of the articles mention his past novels and it is helpful to have read them to get a true understanding of what he is talking about. It was refreshing to see that Kurt believes the worst book he ahs written is Slapstick, he gives it a D. I never liked that book, and now I feel like it is OK to not like it. All in all this is no more than a short attention span book that will fill 5 minutes here or there. If you have just a passing interest in Vonnegut, do not bother with this book. However if you are a big Vonnegut fan like me, you might want to pick this up and get a little insight into his warped mind.
T
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B. Wilfong on March 2, 2013
Format: Paperback
"Palm Sunday" is a book that dedicated Vonnegut fans should read, but not the casual reader. I imagine they would not appreciate what Vonnegut is doing here. The book is subtitled an "autobiographical collage", and that is an apt description. It is nonfiction, with the exception of two short humorous creative pieces that Vonnegut throws in. It has hints at the bitterness that would come to swallow up Vonnegut's' later works, but it had not consumed him yet when he wrote "Palm Sunday".
One of the most interesting aspects of the text is when Vonnegut lies about himself. For instance, he states that there were no other women involved in the breakup of his first marriage, and this is patently untrue. I love that aspect of this book, seeing how Vonnegut selects bits of autobiography to make himself look good. It makes him seem so human. He probably needed to believe a lot of good things about himself during the time he wrote this. His last novel had been roundly trashed by critics, and a lot of personal family junk had broken apart all over his head. I think most of us would have cleaned up our past a little if we could have, and Vonnegut's humanity is what has always drawn me to him and his writing.
Any avid reader will enjoy the opening chapter of "Palm Sunday" which deals with the first amendment and censorship. Vonnegut is at his biting and indignant best in this chapter. Chapter four of the text also includes a lovely essay on literary style. It is a profound and simple statement on what makes the best writing, which does not have to be "literature", but just the stuff we scribble in our everyday lives. It is the act of communicating with each other that powers the soul and Vonnegut is eloquent in his defense of it.
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