Breakfast Of Champions (Unabridged) Audio Cassette – Audiobook, Feb 11 2004
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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 the Audio CD edition.
"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 Audio CD edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
The focus of the novel is the important meeting between two men: a Midwestern car dealer named Dwayne Hoover and a prolific yet unknown science fiction writer named Kilgore Trout. What happens during this critical encounter is that Dwayne reads a book by Trout about how there is only one real human on Earth and everyone else is just a robot put there so the Creator of the Universe can observe his reactions. Unfortunately, Dwayne interprets this as the truth and goes crazy, believing himself totally surrounded by robots.
Like some other Vonnegut books I have read, the outcome of the book - Dwayne's insanity due to Trout's book - is told from the very beginning and is mentioned throughout the novel as the date for their fateful meeting nears. Does knowing what will happen from the start ruin the enjoyment of the book? Not at all! In Breakfast of Champions , it is not the main event which is so funny, but everything leading up to it. As Trout journeys to meet Dwayne, we are introduced to some very funny and some very sad characters. It is these side characters, many playing a stereotypical role in society that form the backbone of Vonnegut's harsh commentary on American life. The writing style is sleek, quick and sarcastic. The book is divided up into rather short paragraphs, allowing for fast reading. It also features amusing illustrations by Vonnegut.Read more ›
Listen: This story revolves mainly around two characters. There's Kilgore Trout who is an aging and bitter sci-fi writer that nobody has ever heard of (except for one person). His stories have only appeared in very adult magazines. So naturally, he has "doodley-squat" to show for it. The other person that this story is about is a car dealer by the name of Dwayne Hoover, a man that everyone in town considers a "fabulously well-to-do" person. Dwayne is losing his mind and is ever so gracefully slipping into the cozy and wonderful world of insanity. What pushes him over the edge will take place when the two meet and Hoover takes one of Trout's literary works as reality. The results are unforgettable and hilariously disturbing in this dark and offbeat tale of the flawed human beings who are destroying Mother Earth.
This amazingly written book is completely ADDICTING. I easily finished it within a week. Once you start you do not want to stop reading until you have finished. Very rarely does a book have the power to make me laugh aloud so frequently and carelessly. People must've thought I was on something when they saw me laugh so uncontrollably while reading this in public.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I read Breakfast of Champions years ago, but thought I’d revisit it, so I got the Kindle edition. It’s an unusual novel, even by Vonnegut’s standards. Read morePublished 27 days ago by Troy Parfitt
Vonnegut's unique style and wild imagination makes this story worthwhile reading. It is hilarious, strange, bizarre and curious but always interesting. Read morePublished on April 17 2014 by Yvan Clermont
I came late to Kurt Vonnegut but Youtube Conferences are responsible for my late arrival in the K.V. continent. Read morePublished on March 25 2014 by Jean-pierre Petits
I am a huge Vonnegut fan, but I have to say that this one didn't do it for me.
Maybe it's because "Cat's Cradle" or "Slaughter house 5" and many others... Read more
Bought this as a gift for a voracious reader....it was on his wish list so I got it for him. He devoured it in a day. Like I mentioned...a voracious reader.Published on April 23 2013 by Marie Lennox
If you like satire, it doesn't get any better. The things Vonnegut comes up with is just unbelievable, he's got to be the most creative writer ever. Read morePublished on Jan. 11 2011 by Mektwist