- Series: Delta Fiction
- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Dial Press Trade Paperback; Reissue edition (January 12, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385333870
- ISBN-13: 978-0385333870
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (317 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Galapagos: A Novel (Delta Fiction) Paperback – January 12, 1999
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From School Library Journal
YA Leon Trout, the ghost of a decapitated shipbuilder, narrates the humorous, ironic and sometimes carping decline of the human race, as seen through the eyes and minds of the survivors of a doomed cruise to the Galapagos Islands. Vonnegut's cast of unlikely Adams and Eves setting out in a Noah's ark includes Mary Hepburn, an American biology teacher and recent widow; Zenji Hiroguchi, a Japanese computer genius (who does not make it to the ship, although his language-translating and quotation-spouting computer does); his wife, Hisako, carrying radiated genes from the atomic bombs; James Wait, who has made a fortune marrying elderly women; and Captain Aolph von Kleist. Also included: six orphaned girls of the Kana-bono cannibal tribe, who will become the founding mothers of the fisherfolk after bacteria render all other women infertile. Serious fans of Vonnegut's wry and ribald prose will welcome this tale of the devolution of superbrained humans into gentle swimmers with small brains, but others may find this Darwinian survival tale too packed with ecological and sociological details that trap the story line in a series of literary devices, albeit very clever ones. Mary T. Gerrity, Queen Anne School, Upper Marlboro, Md.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
From Library Journal
For many Vonnegut fans, Galapagos will be a disappointment. The story is set ``one million years ago, back in 1986 A.D.'' and concerns the maiden voyage of the Bahia de Darwin to the Galapa gos Islands. The narrator is a ghost, and the main characters are those involved with the cruise. As the narrative devel ops, we learn that people have evolved from having ``big brains'' that always get them in trouble, to creatures with flippersbut they keep getting eaten by sharks. The narration jumps back and forth between past and future, so that there is no real sense of what life is like in the ``present'' of the story, and it is difficult to grasp what these new hu mans are really like. Vonnegut's usual stylistic devices just don't work here. Buy for demand. Susan Avallone, ``Library Journal''
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top customer reviews
I chose to read this one because, as a student of anthropology and biology, I am very fascinated with the Galapagos islands myself. This book was not exactly what I expected, but of all the Vonnegut books I've read, I've retained more of the plot of Galapagos than almost any other Vonnegut book (besides Slaughterhouse-Five). What I love about Vonnegut's books is that he uses absurd, farfetched storytelling to illustrate fallacies of American culture and consumerism. Being very satirical and almost lewd at time, it's also very thoughtful and poignant. For this reason, when I read a Vonnegut novel I keep a pencil in handle to underline or circle certain selections that are especially observant.
Because I feel Slaughterhouse-Five is a stronger book—even if only just—I'm rating Galapagos as four stars despite my desire to give it all five. Perhaps my biggest justification for subtracting a star so as to keep it markedly below Slaughterhouse is due to the occasionally glacial pacing of the book. In short, the book is about a group of strangers who board a cruise ship that's destined to take them on nature cruise to the Galapagos; however, the ship doesn't even depart until almost three-quarters through the book because of all the backstory for each character and their interactions as they meet. In Vonnegut's defense, most interactions have a greater purpose, either contributing to the overall story or as a way to illustrate some satirical point Vonnegut is trying to make about American culture. While I can appreciate the deliberacy of his pacing, it doesn't make Galapagos the most exciting read. However, the latter part of the book somewhat redeems the slow start by containing some of Vonnegut's trademark surreal and bizarre storytelling. I won't give anything away, but that's mostly because you really need to read the book to appreciate the strangeness.
Of all Kurt Vonnegut's novels, Galapagos is definitely one of my favorites, up there with Slaughterhouse-Five, Sirens of Titan, and Breakfast of Champions. As always, it's full of Vonnegut's impeccable humor as well as both his subtle and not-so-subtle wit. Highly recommended.
The circumstances surrounding the few survivors as humanity does itself in is just as intriguing as the results of the end of humanity as we know it. I love the imagination that went into describing the new humanity as a result of the next wave of evolution, Thought provoking and frightening to imagine something similar could happen at some point based on history and where we are today.