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Timequake Paperback – August 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Trade (August 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425164349
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425164341
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (236 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Think of Timequake, Kurt Vonnegut's 19th and last novel (or so he says), as a victory lap. It's a confident final trot 'round the track by one of the greats of postwar American literature. After 40 years of practice, Vonnegut's got his schtick down cold, and it's a pleasure--if a slightly tame one--to watch him go through his paces one more time.

Timequake's a mongrel; it is half novel, half memoir, the project of a decade's worth of writer's block, a book "that didn't want to be written." The premise is standard-issue Vonnegut: "...a timequake, a sudden glitch in the space-time continuum, made everybody and everything do exactly what they'd done during past decades, for good or ill, a second time..." Simultaneously, the author's favorite tricks are on display--frequent visits with the shopworn science fiction writer Kilgore Trout, a Hitchcockian appearance by the author at the book's end, and frequent authorial opining on love, war, and society. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Delayed over a year, Vonnegut's latest finally arrives, with alter ego Kilgore Trout facing millennial catastrophe.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --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

I recommend this book to all fans of Kurt Vonnegut's work.
T. Stanley
This book was published and how many people will buy and read it like I did to find that it is a waste of ink.
Bob_Bryan
Before I finished reading the book's prelude, I was laughing.
Maximus Atheist

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Michael Battaglia on July 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
Vonnegut's novels were never tightly plotted or dizzlingly complex, and ever since The Sirens of Titans there's been less and less plot. But what we've gotten is more and more Vonnegut, which has turned out to be a good thing. His latest and (he says) his last novel turns out to be a hodgepodge of random musings, Vonnegut family history lessons, irrelevant asides and once in a while something that touches on a story. And somehow it works. The premise is that Vonnegut was trying to write a novel about everyone in the world being thrown back ten years and then being forced to relive those ten years. After it's over and time runs normally again, everyone is so used to not having free will that they don't know what to do. But that idea didn't take off and so we have this. Toeing the line between fact and fiction (among the best is the meeting between Vonnegut and longtime alter ego Kilgore Trout), this novel is more about Vonnegut than any other novel previously. He talks about life in general, speaks bluntly and warmly of his family, both living and dead, all in his easily read style, which makes pages fly past as you read but somehow they still manage to stick in your head. Yeah, it's not the innovation of Slaughterhouse-Five and the cutting cynicism of the earlier novels has been replaced by a sort of contented cynicism, as if his bitterness has settled on him like a comfortable old skin. There's nothing new here that you couldn't find in his other novels (all of which are highly recommended), even the structure is reminiscent of Breakfast of Champions, but the presentation is what counts here and everything comes across so effortlessly that it's a joy just to watch him put the novel together, even when chapters race past that are really only barely connected strings of random thoughts.Read more ›
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Eileen_KM on August 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is the third Vonnegut novel that I've read so far. I loved and hated this book. The 3 stars that I gave this book is somewhat unfair to Vonnegut because the book wasn't necessarily poor, it's just not what I had expected.
What I loved: the idea and creativity of a "timequake" and the scraps here and there of the timequake.
What I didn't expect: these little extra memoirs and the last third of the novel. You find yourself reading "a completely different book" consisting of Vonnegut's own personal reflections; you can just about call it an autobiography.
In conclusion, this is probably not the book for you if you're looking for something that flows and has well, a plot. Otherwise, if you're simply in for chunks of Vonnegut's classic satire, look no further!
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By KlgreTrout@aol.com on January 26, 1998
Format: Hardcover
If you are looking for a plot, rising action or deep characters, don't read this. For those of us who have been Vonnegut fans, it reads like a Bible of his ideas. The best parts of a good number of his novels are the prologues. This book is a 195 page prologue, with about 10 pages of fiction. I had the opportunity to read Timequake back in July, (about three months before its offical release date) and I was thrilled when I reached the final page. Many of his devoted readers find his humanistic ideas to be the best stuff he writes. This book holds more of that than any other he has written. His ideas on his own age and demise as a writer add a ton to this beautiful farewell to the philosophy of Kurt Vonnegut. If you are unfamilar with him, and looking for a great book to start on, go back to Slaughterhouse-Five, Sirens of Titan or Cat's Cradle. If you are familiar with his stuff, this book simply serves as a great companion piece to his other books.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Paul O'Brian on December 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
Reading TIMEQUAKE makes two things eminently clear.
One, Kurt Vonnegut has become a cranky old man. The book is full of diatribes about how newfangled gadgets like TVs and computers have ruined the world. He even occasionally lets slip a wistful cliche like "the lost art of conversation." In contrast to his SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE character Billy Pilgrim, Vonnegut himself has become stuck in time, viewing today's world from the distant vantage of the 1930s and 40s, and declaring the modern era postliterate, and therefore fallen. He even lends authority to his viewpoint by finally acknowledging his place in the pantheon of the century's greatest writers, a place which he richly deserves.
And that brings me to the second insight that TIMEQUAKE makes readily apparent: Vonnegut's literary genius is undimmed. The man can put words together like nobody else on earth -- his passages and paragraphs are so mind-altering that they ought to be considered controlled substances. The timequake at the center of this book is a wonderfullly pliable symbol, allowing Vonnegut fresh takes on all his familiar themes: war, suffering, the arts, the human capacity for evil, and the mysterious dynamic of free will versus predetermination. What's more, the book is unfailingly, hysterically funny, resonating with that particular Vonnegutian laugh, a laugh that carries an abyss of blackness within its mirth, but is nonetheless somehow comforting.
Those who complain that the book is rambling or lacks direction are missing the boat entirely. As Vonnegut himself explains midway through the book (perhaps in anticipation of this very criticism), his writing style is that of a "basher.
Read more ›
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