Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Even the Creator Gets Repetitive

50. Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

All Kurt Vonnegut's books are the same. That is a blatant lie, and you should disagree with me. But his style, the sense of humor, the actual characters or at least the type of characters are the same, and the settings often are as well. There are always coincidences, rudely drawn pictures, and nothing makes any sense (just like real life).

Breakfast of Champions at least delves into Vonnegut's most recurring character, Kilgore Trout. The best parts of the book, in my opinion, are the plots of Trout's stories. Like Vonnegut, Trout is a science fiction writer whose writing demonstrates the chaos of the universe. His books and short stories are illustrated with unrelated pornographic pictures and sold only in pornography shops.

I was told that this book was difficult to understand, that there was confusing switching back and forth between narration. It was no more difficult than any other Vonnegut novel, in that regard. In fact, I think I find his stories so easy to get through because of that organization. It leaves less time to be bored and builds anticipation.

The one conceit that made this book a little different is Vonnegut's insertion of himself as a character, as the Creator of Kilgore Trout and his entire literary universe. Of course I have always loved the idea of Author as Creator, and by extension, Man as Creator. Kilgore Trout's answer to an anonymous scribbling in a bathroom, "What is the purpose of life?," is "To be the eyes and conscience of the Creator...you fool."

No matter what your religious persuasion or lack thereof, it is hard to disagree with that!

This book is certainly worth reading, it's quick, it has some fantastic one-liners and even better ideas. Unfortunately, it just seems that Vonnegut will never again have the magic for me that he once did. Finally, I remember thinking to myself when I first read Cat's Cradle, finally, an author who really understands the world. It's unfortunate his understanding never changed.

On a completely separate note, I MADE IT TO 50!!!!!

I do plan to keep going and see how many more I can read before Jan 1st.

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