- Paperback: 295 pages
- Publisher: Delta Book (Dell); Soft Cover edition (1973)
- Language: English
- ASIN: B000HKL1QU
- Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (612 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,349,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Breakfast of Champions Paperback – 1973
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
"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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I hated this book. It made no sense. I have no idea what it was about. It is a literary Seinfeld.Published 3 days ago by Sheila Gallagher
Whimsical and sarcastic view of "rights and wrongs" of American life, the "best in the world of freedom of will".Published 25 days ago by A BANCILA
One of the best books I have ever read. The style of writing is hilarious and yet dark and serious.Published 1 month ago by Keith Roe
LOVED IT! I'm a huge Vonnegut fan, and have read almost his entire catalog and this one wa just differs so much from the rest, with writing himself into the story and being... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mr. One-Two
Ummm...you can't go wrong with Vonnegut. PURE. GENIUS.
I honestly haven't read this book, but purchased as a gift for a friend. Read more
I read Slaughterhouse 5 which made me want to pick up more of Vonnegut's books and I'm so glad I chose this one. I loved the way it read and how it was full of surprises. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer