4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
I'm a fan of Vonnegut, this is less sensational than most of his novels but it does have a great story and a gift at the end.
Published 1 month ago by Brian M. Guthreau
3.0 out of 5 stars It's Vonnegut... but:
I read Breakfast of Champions first, and I have to say that I find this work much more subdued and 'unengaging' in a way -- not for lack of philosophy, but because KV seems to be holding back his personality a bit. Maybe it's the device of him telling the whole story as Rabo writing an autobiography, but it feels like we are not getting Rabo but just a rather muted Kurt...
Published on Jun 12 2001
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good read,
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This review is from: Bluebeard: A Novel (Paperback)I'm a fan of Vonnegut, this is less sensational than most of his novels but it does have a great story and a gift at the end.
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Vonnegut's Most Hearfelt Works,
This review is from: Bluebeard: A Novel (Paperback)I'm a huge Vonnegut fan. He is one of the strongest influences on my own writing. However, while I usually find his stories full of real characters who are in unreal situations (Time Quake, Galapagos, etc.) Bluebeard is full of real characters in a very real setting. It is a character story through and through, and is refreshingly Earth-bound. If you like Vonnegut but dislike his tendencies towards sci-fi, you'll love this book. If you love the sci-fi edge, well... you'll probably still like this book.
5.0 out of 5 stars One of his best books,
This review is from: Bluebeard: A Novel (Paperback)I am a big fan of Vonnegut. This author will amaze you every time. Bluebeard is deffinatly in the same ranks with Cat's cradle and Breakfast of Champions
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Vonnegut,
This review is from: Bluebeard: A Novel (Paperback)In the 5 or 6 Vonnegut books I've read so far, I've yet to be disappointed, and Bluebeard is certainly no exception. It is, however, one of his less fantastic tales. Karabekian has a less than ordinary past, but the story itself seldom leaves his house in the Hamptons, except for the random flashbacks to his childhood or his time during the war as a camouflage artist. The genius in this book is truly the characters and the twists of admiration, disgust, comraderie and annoyance that keeps even an old bluebeard constantly evolving.
Though not my favorite of Vonnegut's books, I consider even the worst of what he's written absolute masterpieces.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, Solid, Funny/Sad Book!,
This review is from: Bluebeard: A Novel (Paperback)This is book is an exemplification of life and its ironies. The author has such a witty yet down-to-earth writing slyle that makes the reader curious as to what lies ahead. I marvelled at the way the author goes back and forth in time and places without ever confusing the reader. The flow of the book is magnificent, and the story in it is so human that one can alsmost empathize with Rabo though he is a fictional character. Kurt Vonnegut is definitely a genius of American literature and a much under-rated at that. Very beautifully written from a person who could have easily turned bitter or tormented by blows life has dealt him. Excellent penmanship, excellent story.
5.0 out of 5 stars "How Did your Parents Die?",
This review is from: Bluebeard: A Novel (Paperback)_Bluebeard_ has no time-travel, aliens, human robots, or Kilgore Trout, but is a very Kurt Vonnegut book, and my favorite of his novels. _Bluebeard_ is a very life-affirming novel over-all: a rare Vonnegut stance, but one I wish he'd explored more often.
_Bluebeard_ is the story of Rabo Karabekian, an Armenian-American Abstract Expressionist painter, told from the point of view of a autobiography/diary. Rabo is inspired to begin this work after an encounter with a bright, vibrant woman, Circe Berman, a writer of bright, vibrant novels for young adults, who doesn't believe in saying "hello" and instead greets him with the question "how did your parents die?"
These quirky moments of conversation and life color the whole novel. But the novel is not all humor and lightness; Circe's question demonstrates the bitter-sweet nature of much of the novel. Much of that which gives the novel its humanity are the moments of despair and sad revelation. But the revelations are not that of destiny controlling aliens, or the author giving free-will to his creations, a strength of the book, and over-all the book is positive.
Like Rabo, Vonnegut departs from the genre that he's known for, but both end up creating masterpieces that touch the soul and open room for wonder in Vonnegut's world.
4.0 out of 5 stars Vonnegut hasn't failed me yet,
This review is from: Bluebeard: A Novel (Paperback)Bluebeard was the 4th Vonnegut novel I've read, and after reading it, I'm now almost done with my 5th. He never ceases to amaze me with how he pulls it all together in the end. Vonnegut has the knack for perfect endings, and this is no exception.
I was a bit scared at the 'topic' of the book, which is a mock autobiography of an impressionist painter, as I've never been too heavily into the artistic world of painting, but regardless of the subject matter, the book is very much more.
Rabo Karabekian, a minor character in "Breakfast of Champions," is a stubborn, ghost of his past self at the opening of the book, until Circe Berman, a widow and pop novelist, shows up at his estate and begins to seek the non-ethereal man.
While the novel is in the style of an autobiography, it is also crossed with a sort of journal of Karabekian's relationship with Berman, his cook, and his last surviving painter friend. All of the characters have depth, yet are developed slowly enough to be well digested.
Throughout the novel, a Bluebeard theme is carried out, with Karabekian having locked up something in his potato-barn-turned-studio that everyone is dying to discover. Like something out of Catch-22, there are other smaller "Bluebeards" throughout the novel, as we see Rabo's childhood, 'apprenticeship', military service, marriages, painting career, and retirement.
Anyone that likes Vonnegut will love this book, and anyone that hasn't read Vonnegut should.
5.0 out of 5 stars eessential reading,
This review is from: Bluebeard: A Novel (Paperback)Vonnegut's sem-autobiography, based on the interesting life of Rabo Karabekian, an Armenian-American, war veteran, abstract expressionalist painted, who after the death of his 2nd wife to cancer, became a morose recluse in his house in the Hamptons. He's decaying one day at a time, until an eccentric young woman named Circe Berman invades his privacy, bullies him into writing his autobiography, and revitalizes him with a new approach to life. It has many uncanny similarities to Vonnegut's life, such as the experiences in Dresden, Germany, being married twice, and being unconventional and unique in their respective art forms (writing and painting in this case).
The journey begins with Rabo's parents escaping the Armenian Holocaust, then leads to his apprenticeship to Dan Gregory, a prominent Norman Rockwell-type painter who treats him like a peasant, and who is infatuated and enchanted by Hitler's philosophy, and the dictatorship in Europe circa World War 2. It also shows his affair with Gregory's girlfriend, Marilee Kemp, and their betrayal to Dan Gregory by going to the Museum of Modern Art and by making love to each other. It also shows his introduction to abstract-expressionism, and being in the same ilk as gorundbreaking and innovative painters, such as Jackson Pollock and Terry Rothko, both died due to self-destructive behavior.
This is a book you have to follow carefully in order to understand, since Vonnegut likes to switch back and forth to different time periods and zeitgeists in the course of this book. But it is essential reading, and certainly one of the most memorable books I have ever read in my entire life.
4.0 out of 5 stars More Kurt,
This review is from: Bluebeard: A Novel (Paperback)Kurt Vonnegut is one of our most treasured modern American writers, and with good reason. Although it is not one of his masterpieces, Bluebeard is another fine novel from Vonnegut. It's written in the highly caustic first-person style of many of his books, and his writing is just as devastatingly clever as ever. The amazing thing about Vonnegut is that his prose is very simple - almost child-like at times. This would seem at first glance to trivialize the contents or take away from the produndity of the book, but this it does not do. As Michael Crichton has pointed out in his essay on Vonnegut, this seems like a really simple way to write; but, as anyone who has actually tried to do it knows, it is actually much more difficult than it seems. What makes this particular book special is that here we encounter perhaps Vonnegut's most recognizably human character. He has his faults, like all of us, and is a very tender and lovable character (as opposed to, say, the narrarator in Hocus Pocus.) We feel this man's tragedies as we go along. That his story is told to us through typical Vonnegut wit and farce makes it only that much the better. Highly reccommended for fans of the author.
5.0 out of 5 stars Behind the simplicity, sheer genius.....,
This review is from: Bluebeard: A Novel (Paperback)I don't normally write reviews for books that I've read, but on this one I couldn't remain silent. As good as Slaughterhouse Five was, Bluebeard shows a more mature, well-refined Vonnegut at the top of his game. This is a story that could be considered rags-to-riches on one level, and the supreme failure on another of a famous artist's life. The sarcastic wit and humor so prevelant in Slaugterhouse Five is present here too, but is used in a much more forgiving and less taunting fashion, as if Vonnegut has become more tolerant of his own idiosyncracies late in life. The book is a kinder, gentler Vonnegut with enourmous depth.
Without giving away the story, the "big secret at the end of the book" lives up to its billing; in so many books, the "big ending" falls flat. Not so in this case. I was floored, moved, elated, and generaly in awe of the genius of the idea. It made me realize that the helter-skelter events in the main character's life had been anything but; Vonnegut had written every event in the main character's life like Mozart placing every note it its correct place. This may be the most human book I've ever read; it is teaching the reader about life without being preachy, witty without being annoyingly sarcastic and thoughtful about the state of human existence and how we all interact. Most of all, it makes the reader really think about what he or she ultimately does with his life. This book is a must-read.
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Bluebeard: A Novel by Kurt Vonnegut (Paperback - Sep 8 1998)
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