- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Dial Press Trade Paperback (Sept. 8 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 038533351X
- ISBN-13: 978-0385333511
- Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 272 g
- Average Customer Review: 52 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #51,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Bluebeard: A Novel Paperback – Sep 8 1998
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From Library Journal
Vonnegut rounds up several familiar themes and character types for his 13th novel: genocide, the surreality of the modern world, fluid interplay of the past and present, and the less-than-heroic figure taking center stage to tell his story. Here he elevates to narrator a minor character from Breakfast of Champions , wounded World War II veteran and abstract painter Rabo Karabekian. At the urging of enchantress-as-bully Circe Berman, Karabekian writes his "hoax autobiography." Vonnegut uses the tale to satirize art movements and the art-as-investment mind-set and to explore the shifting shape of reality. Although not among his best novels, Bluebeard is a good one and features liberal doses of his off-balance humor. Recommended. A.J. Wright, Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.
“Ranks with Vonnegut’s best and goes one step beyond . . . joyous, soaring fiction.”—The Atlanta Journal and Constitution
“Vonnegut is at his edifying best.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Vonnegut is George Orwell, Dr. Caligari and Flash Gordon compounded into one writer . . . a zany but moral mad scientist. ”—Time
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Top Customer Reviews
This time around Vonnegut uses an autiobiographical setting, much like 'Mother Night', to delve into the human condition. Although 'Mother Night' seems to be more satisfying, in whole, 'Bluebeard' is a much more impressive outing. As you can tell, I've read most of his works. Which tells you I'm a bit partial to him as an author. But, I still recommend 'Bluebeard' very highly to those that know his previous works. To those beginners, I'd recommend starting with one of his more famous novels.
Yes there are the wonderful lessons that we have come to expect from our buddy Kurt, but here we have a group of people who for once seem to grasp their lives in a way that makes them jump above the considerable intellectual content of the novel in which they are living.
i think this may be due to the fact that most Vonnegut novels chronicle some poor souls world falling down in a slow earthquake of time, Bluebeard shows a man living a life that builds in complexity towards a powerful climax of wisdom, of heart. Rabo Karabekian finds a way to bring his soul to the world. Rather than being a typical vonnegut hero going to hell on a road paved with his own good intentions, Rabo takes the various hells of his life and finds a way to turn them all into little jewels.
A sobering but ultimately marvelous gift to the world
_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.