Saturday, January 17, 2015

Breakfast of ChampionsBreakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My book reviews are too long as it is very difficult to write a short yet accurate review when one, like myself, has no writing talent. "Breakfast of Champions" (1973) is a good book, but in no way even close to the greatness of Kurt Vonnegut's masterpiece, "Slaughterhouse Five".

Two main characters in this preposterous story are Dwayne Hoover, a Pontiac dealer, and Kilgore Trout, an obscure science-fiction writer, whose novels and stories are published in porn magazines to fill space between pictures of "wide-open beavers". Mr. Vonnegut, who participates himself in the story at the end, makes Kilgore Trout travel towards Dwayne Hoover and towards the climactic confrontation in a cocktail lounge.

The entire Trout - Hoover story is just a pretense to show what is wrong with the United States of America. "Breakfast of Champions" shows an ironic picture of a deeply flawed country. Many things criticized by the author, like the ubiquitous racism, social injustice, moral hypocrisy, destruction of the environment, are now in the forefront of national concerns. Yet some other irreverent bits, such as making fun of the national anthem, the flag, or of the Founding Fathers of the nation, those theoreticians of freedom and liberty, who kept slaves, would be still treated as risqué. Also, greed is still in vogue.

I like the recursive nature of Mr. Vonnegut creating Mr. Trout who creates whole worlds in his science-fiction writing. I do not like the story itself , but of course I love Mr. Vonnegut's observations:
"Everybody in America was supposed to grab whatever he could and hold on to it."
"Much of the conversation in the country consisted of lines from television shows, both present and past."
"We Americans require symbols which are richly colored and three-dimensional and juicy."

And so on.

Three stars.

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