These are reviews originally posted to Amazon as customer reviews. They're intended for entertainment and informational purposes only. (Apologies for any typos, bad grammar, or offensive language.) This isn't sponsored by Amazon or represent them in any way, although they do have a very nice site and I recommend checking it out for your next book purchase. Feel free to comment on the books if you've read them or tell me how much my reviews suck or whatever.
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Tuesday, July 17, 2007


by Kurt Vonnegut

Don't be fooled by the "plot" descriptions of a "timequake" making everyone have to do the same things over again from the last ten years. That makes up possibly 1% of the this novel. Another 50% is dedicated to Vonnegut's memoirs with the balance being dedicated to the life and stories of the fictional Kilgore Trout.

What this book ends up being is one of those rambling yarns Abe Simpson might spin that starts, "Back in my day..." There's no cohesive narrative in the slightest and you know what, that's OK by me. I've never read any Vonnegut except a short story back in high school (I hated that story, BTW) so maybe this wasn't the place to start, or maybe it was a great place to get a little background--if you believe anything Vonnegut tells you. After reading I'm a little dubious about what is fact and what is fiction, but now I'm rambling.

The simple truth is that Vonnegut's writing is so smooth and so funny that the lack of cohesive narrative or characters or any of that jazz one excepts from a book in the "Fiction" section isn't all that disconcerting. There are some great insights into life, history, science, and writing that are worth reading even if they aren't "true" as in actually having happened they're true in spirit and that's what's important. More to the point, this book is so short that I breezed through it in about 5 hours.

So if you're going on a trip, why not take along something that will make you think instead of another crime story or romance novel or Hollywood gossip rag? You'll be better off for it.

On a side note, it was eerie reading this a few months after the author passed away. (I trust I don't need to include a spoiler warning for that.) Vonnegut makes several references to his death--and those of various relatives and acquaintances. Most disturbing was he predicted he would still be alive in 2010. He ended up a little short from that mark, but in the meantime he accomplished far more than most of us.

That is all.

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