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Breakfast of Champions Mass Market Paperback – October 5, 1991
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"We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane." So reads the tombstone of downtrodden writer Kilgore Trout, but we have no doubt who's really talking: his alter ego Kurt Vonnegut. Health versus sickness, humanity versus inhumanity--both sets of ideas bounce through this challenging and funny book. As with the rest of Vonnegut's pure fantasy, it lacks the shimmering, fact-fueled rage that illuminates Slaughterhouse-Five. At the same time, that makes this book perhaps more enjoyable to read.
Breakfast of Champions is a slippery, lucid, bleakly humorous jaunt through (sick? inhumane?) America circa 1973, with Vonnegut acting as our Virgil-like companion. The book follows its main character, auto-dealing solid-citizen Dwayne Hoover, down into madness, a condition brought on by the work of the aforementioned Kilgore Trout. As Dwayne cracks, then crumbles, Breakfast of Champions coolly shows the effects his dementia has on the web of characters surrounding him. It's not much of a plot, but it's enough for Vonnegut to air unique opinions on America, sex, war, love, and all of his other pet topics--you know, the only ones that really count.
From the Publisher
Breakfast Of Champions is vintage Vonnegut. One of his favorite characters, aging writer Kilgore Trout, finds to his horror that a Midwest car dealer is taking his fiction as truth. The result is murderously funny satire as Vonnegut looks at war, sex, racism, success, politics, and pollution in America and reminds us how to see the truth.
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"Breakfast of Champions" is a popular Vonnegut title, but not usually the favorite of readers, it does not follow most writing conventions. Reading this title is sort of like playing dodgeball. The ideas come careening from all directions, and the reader is not able to prepare for what is in store.
Vonnegut does not pull any punched in this book. It is a revealing look at human nature, and the society that we live in. The language and ideas may pose some problems for the modern reader, even though the book is not that old.
"Breakfast of Champions" is not heavy on plot, in fact most of the action is revealed early on. The fun is in how he gets there. What he does not reveal, and what most people find hard to follow is that this is a story by "The creator of the universe" who makes the characters and then lets them roam in the world of his creation. I will not give away the ending, I am not here to provide any spoilers. The creator shows up in the story and is integral in the ending. This is not a technique that can be pulled off by a lesser writer.
The book is sprinkled with Vonnegut's whimsical drawings, and this adds greatly to the enjoyment of the text.
Put on your seatbelt, you are in for one heck of a ride.
forever by these simple interactions with these seemingly simple other people-yet how else could it be when the inner workings of their
mind is critiqued by the likes of 'Kilgore Trout' who has seen it all before and written stories about it. Will be rereading a lot more of
mister Vonnegut. I just totally enjoy his style.
My new favorite Vonnegut book. Even ahead of Galapagos, and Hocus Pocus!