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Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons: (Opinions) Paperback – January 12, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Press Trade Paperback (January 12, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385333811
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385333818
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #560,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“He is our strongest writer . . . the most stubbornly imaginative.”—John Irving

“A book filled with madness and truth and absurdity and self-revelation . . . [Vonnegut is] a great cosmic comedian and rattler of human skeletons, an idealist disguised as a pessimist.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Vonnegut is George Orwell, Dr. Caligari and Flash Gordon compounded into one writer.”—Time

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

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Bill R. Moore on March 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
Although you'd never guess it from the title, Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons is a collection of essays, speeches, and reviews from Kurt Vonnegut - along with one piece of fiction and one interview. Certainly, it isn't on par with his wonderful fiction (or even his marvelous non-fiction book, Fates Worse Than Death), but neither does it pretend to be. This is a book for those who have already read most of what else Kurt Vonnegut has written. The reviews are nothing to write home about, though some of the essays are quite good - but his public speeches, as always, make for excellent reading. There is a handful of them in here. The highlight of the book, though, for any Vonnegut fan is his long interview with Playboy magazine that closes the book. It's an essential read for any KV fan. I reccommend this book to those who love Kurt Vonnegut and his fiction, and know it. If you're not familar with this quite amusing author, you should pick up some of his marvelous fiction first...
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By arye orona on June 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
This collection is probably most interesting to those who are arleady Vonnegut fans. It doesn't really even pretend to contend with the writer's greater works. I think that, perhaps, this book is most helpful to those who already know Vonnegut's body of work, and simply wish to understand more about the author himself. "Wampeter's, Foma, and Granfalloons" basically consists of Vonnegut's public speeches, as well as various essays. The book can help a reader, already familiar with Vonnegut, understand more about the writer, and the ideas behind his novels. However, I would recomend that a first time reader pick up one of Vonegut's actual novels (Slaughter House five and Mother Night are higly recomended) before looking at this. I would recomend this book to an avid Vonegut reader/fan.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By James F. Barron on February 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
Again, Kurt Vonnegut produces an excellent work of art through literature. This book, Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons (Opinions) is a collection of essays written by Vonnegut. It took me only a few hours to begin and finish this book while drinking coffee in front of a coffee shop on a Saturday morning. I found the book to be highly entertaining, generously humorous, and, of course, packed with blithe satire.

Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons (Opinions) exists in an aura of surreality, recounting the experiences had by Vonnegut. The preface, itself, explains that the novel contains situations related to ideas that are not only abnormal but not tangible, either. The word wampeter comes from Vonnegut's book, Cat's Cradle (see my review of Cat's Cradle at [...] ), and it describes any "object around which the lives of many otherwise unrelated people may revolve". This definition, alone, prompts the reader to realize that the book will involve many exemplifications of abstract ideology.

The novel contains essays describing events and satiring politics and societal figures. Vonnegut is one of the world's greatest black-humorists, and it is expected that he will try to offend quite a few persons while writing his works. Thus, Vonnegut's writing may not be for the light-hearted, and if this means you, then maybe you should not rush out to the bookstore and buy this book. However, if you dare to delve into the depths of derogatory literature, then this should be your next book. Another book I need to recommend -- completely unrelated to Vonnegut, but very much on my mind since I purchased it off Amazon is "The Losers' Club" by Richard Perez, an exceptional, highly entertaining little novel I can't stop thinking about.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A reader on February 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
Hilarious, frightening, saddening, moving. I love this book and open it often, just to dip in and out, when I need some Vonnegutian insight and humor. It collects his nonfiction from 1965 through 1973, and the contents comprise one gem after another. You find KV expounding on subjects he hasn't engaged elsewhere, like murder (the Cape Cod serial killer Tony Costa), yachting ("Brief Encounters on the Inland Waterway"), and popular spiritualism (the once-notorious Madame Blavatsky). Since many of the pieces date from the late '60s and early '70s, you find him also expressing his own version of disgust and moral outrage at the various wars of attrition then being fought by America and other nations. Then there are the incisive speeches, the modest tributes to the unsung, and a classic Playboy interview. The reviewers are correct who say this collection is more for the Vonnegut fan than the casual or uninitiated reader, but once you've crossed the line from observer to fan, "Wampeters" will flesh out your experience of KV's fiction in surprising ways.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mike Lisman (ml005f@uhura.cc.rochester.edu) on September 22, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book offers my idea of the essential quick-reading; short, quip-loaded, quasi-autobigraphical chapters on the life and mind of Vonnegut. Particularly memorable is his "On my own death", a three-paged pontification on the remembrance of dead authors. A must-read for any Vonnegut afficionado, and an enjoyable collection of anecdotes for the bathroom or bedtime reader!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jason in Portland on March 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
I have been a big fan of Vonnegut since reading Breakfast of Champions. This book, tho one of his most obscure, is an exceptional collections of all sorts of things Vonnegut has undertaken throughout the years. For me this book was the ultimate bathroom reader with pieces ranging from 2-30 pages. His Playboy interview is the gem of the book.
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