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Breakfast Of Champions (Unabridged) Audio Cassette – Audiobook, Feb 19 2004


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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Harper; Unabridged edition (Feb. 19 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060564970
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060564971
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 10.8 x 18.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 163 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (199 customer reviews)

Product Description

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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Vonnegut performs considerable complex magic... Fresh, funny, outrageous...he very nearly levitates" New York Times "A great deal of wit and playfulness...an entire universe of disorder is distilled" Guardian "Outrageous, witty, thought-provoking, unputdownable, scintillating, invigorating, ennobling, enlightening and masterly" Spectator "Brilliant... It seems, at times, as if Voltaire has returned to satirise the horrors of plastic, disposable America" Sunday Times --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "manning_in_sydney" on June 21 2002
Format: Paperback
Although not his most popular work, this is in my opinion Vonnegut's most brilliant novel. Superficially it seems childish, with it's inane illustrations (by the author) and rambling, seemingly unstructured text. But probe a little deeper and some truly profound insights emerge, and there is litle doubt that this is a work of carefully crafted, absolute genius.
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Keith Whitener on July 14 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is crazy. The main character, Dwayne Hoover, is an auto-dealer that suffers a mental break down because of a short story he read that Kilgore Trout, Vonnegut's alter ego, wrote. Then, after losing his mind, Dwayne goes on a shooting rampage. The narrative jumps between different time periods, but the story of Dwayne is still told effectively. There are many funny things going on in this book, like the career of Kilgore Trout, whose work only appears in dirty magazines albeit being about science fiction and dealing only with strange topics.
Vonnegut inserts himself into the book as God. He also describes the genitals of characters and gave himself the world's widest how do you do. Other types of insanity can be found in this book and it's worth reading just to encounter it. Vonnegut's style is simplistic and lucid, which means that this is a book that one can finish quickly.
There's no need to buy it because it can be found at your library. The one I frequent, for example, has three copies of this book and two shelves dedicated entirely to Vonnegut.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Irwin on July 6 2004
Format: Paperback
Although this novel was at times childish, shocking, humorous, and perhaps even a bit disturbing, I think Vonnegut effectively conveyed his feelings concerning the more peculiar social fixations and oddities that are prevalent in our time. However, what moved me most out of all of Vonnegut's blatant strikes were his remarks concerning the value of characters in literature. Of course, almost anybody reading this book can pick out a few characters who they consider to be "main" or key characters consistently throughout the novel, but Vonnegut raises the question of the equality of characters in a novel. While Vonnegut was not completely successful in blurring the status of the main characters in his novel, I felt like his attempt at creating his supporting characters as equals was well done and I commend him for it. I'm sure Vonnegut realizes that a story in which all characters are equal in detail/depth/development would destroy the staggered levels of complexity that make literature so fascinating, but raising the question in really caused me to stop and think. Vonnegut's illustrations prove why he's a writer rather than an artist, but I guess I appreciate how the drawings made the pages go by more quickly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 20 2004
Format: Paperback
I've read virtually every book Mr. Vonnegut has written, and my top favorites are this one, along with GOD BLESS YOU, MR. ROSEWATER, and WELCOME TO THE MONKEY HOUSE. BREAKFAST has a very interesting feel to it. I appreciated the way that the author would deliberatley stray from the subject from time to time as if he was telling a story rather than writing a book. I also liked the way he satirizes American culture. He describes a common occourence like it was the first time you had ever heard about it. For instance he feels he must remediate the reader as to why men buy pornography. Some other reviewers have commented about the amount of racism in the novel. It is true that there is a lot of racism in the book, but I think that the author does this to show the evil inherent in racism and not to be racist himself, much the way Mark Twain does in Huckleberry finn. To acknowledge that racism exists does not make you racist. I'm reminded of THE BARK OF THE DOGWOOD and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD as two examples of this. So approach this book with an open mind (as you must do with all of Mr. V's books) and you won't be disappointed. Highly, highly recommended.
Also, try "Clockwork Orange," "The Bark of the Dogwood," and "Cat's Cradle."
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