Kurt Vonnegut Novels & Stories, 1963-1973 (Hardcover)
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|This first volume of a projected three-volume edition gathers four of Vonnegut''s most acclaimed novels: "Cat''s Cradle; God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater; Slaughterhouse-Five"; and "Breakfast of Champions." The volume is rounded out with three brilliant short stories and revealing autobiographical accounts of the bombing of Dresden.|
From the Publisher:
Like Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007) was a Midwestern everyman steeped in the rhythms of American speech whose anger at the way things are was matched only by his love for the best that we can be. His cunningly relaxed delivery was so original, so finely calibrated, and so profound an articulation of the Sixties' spirit that many critics overlooked the moral seriousness behind the standup-comic craftsmanship.
Capturing Vonnegut in pyrotechnic mid-career, this first volume of a projected three-volume edition gathers four of his most acclaimed novels. Cat's Cradle (1963) is a comedy of the end of the world (it ends with ice). God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (1965) is the tale of a so-called fool, his money, and the lawyer who contrives to part them (it ends with fire). Slaughterhouse-Five (1969), Vonnegut's breakout book and one of the iconic masterpieces of twentieth-century American literature, is the tale of Billy Pilgrim, who, being unstuck in time, is doomed to continually relive both the firebombing of Dresden and his abduction by space aliens. And, in a text enhanced by the author's spirited line drawings, Breakfast of Champions (1973) describes the fateful meeting of "two lonesome, skinny, fairly old white men," one of whom disastrously believes that everyone else is a robot. The volume is rounded out with three brilliant short stories and revealing autobiographical accounts of the bombing of Dresden.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr., a satirical essayist and novelist who blended science-fiction and humor with literary themes and topics of philosophical weight, become an icon of 1960 and 1970s counterculture. A bestseller who also experimented with form, genre, and voice, he was frequently compared to Mark Twain (the writer who Vonnegut most admired) for his fusion of cynicism, humanitarianism, comedy, and social critique. Born during the depression, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. was the youngest of three children. His father was an architect and his mother suffered from bouts of severe mental illness, eventually committing suicide during World War II, an event that would haunt Vonnegut his entire life. Vonnegut enlisted in the army in 1943, and was captured by the Germans at the Battle of the Bulge. He was a prisoner of war in Dresden and was working in an underground meat locker during the firebombing of the city in 1945; in the aftermath, he worked disposing the thousands of charred corpses. Upon his return to the states, Vonnegut married his high school sweetheart and had three children; they also adopted his sister's children after she and her husband died within a day of each other. Vonnegut worked as a police reporter and studied anthropology in the M.A. program at the University of Chicago, but his thesis on "The Fluctuations Between Good and Evil in Simple Tales" was rejected. He went to work as a public relations writer for General Electric, taught emotionally disturbed children, and began publishing his first short stories. In 1952 he published his first novel, PLAYER PIANO, a science-fiction send-up of corporate culture. His science-fiction novels, such as CAT'S CRADLE, were filled with outlandish concepts such as "Karass" (an unwitting group of people who serve some larger purpose) and "Foma" (harmless untruths), and attracted a small but devoted cult-following. His semi-autobiographical time-traveling novel SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE, which dealt deeply with his experiences during the war, brought him worldwide fame, and from that point on his novels have met with commercial and mostly critical success. However in the 1980s Vonnegut fell into a deep depression, culminating with an attempted suicide in 1984. He published his last novel, TIMEQUAKE, in 1997. In 2005, Vonnegut, a fierce pacifist, human-rights, and free-speech advocate, published a best-selling collection of essays, MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY. In April 2007, several weeks after falling and suffering brain damage, Vonnegut passed away.