Thursday, May 28, 2009

Breakfast of Champions - post I

It took me a criminally long time, well after Slaughterhouse 5 and the Jail Bird, to finally 'get' Vonnegut and now having understood it, then it is simply a race against time to read as much of his work as I can afford to acquire.

The combination of humour, sci-fi but also a very strong but subtle commentary on world affairs is done in such a way that it feels as if once you appreciate it you have somehow landed membership of one of the coolest clubs around.

What adds to the experience here are the author illustrations. Little line sketches in pen that actually connect with the text in a way illustrations often fail to do. They add to the sense of disconnection between ordinary things and completely strange reactions they cause.

At the centre this is a story of two men who are travelling to meet each other and have an impact on each other's lives. One is a lonely science fiction writer Kilgore Trout and the other is millionaire businessman Wayne Hoobler. The influence of Trout on Hoobler is going to come at a time when the businessman has already lost his grip on reality.

But of course the point here is a wider one about what is reality anyway in a country where odd things seem to be hard wired into the norm.

That is the gift of Vonnegut because he gets you to see things with a different eye. As you laugh you also start to think.

More soon...


SugarCain said...

Simon, Don't miss Vonnegut's nonfiction.

Simon Quicke said...

Thanks for the tip will look out for some of that.