Thursday, June 04, 2009

Breakfast of Champions - post III

The Breakfast of Champions introduces a technique that other authors hint at but never go the whole hog with. Occasionally you are reading about a main character and an author will slip in some sort of preview about what is going to happen next.

You always suspect it is aimed at preventing boredom or convincing you that a main character is going to be alright in the end. Vonnegut keeps telling you that Dywane Hoover is going to go mad and that Kilgore Trout is instrumental in it. But the reason he keeps telling you that is because he is showing just how much he is in control of the story. Because he suddenly has the creator of the fictional world sitting in the middle of the action wearing a pair of sunglasses in a dark bar.

he takes fiction to somewhere that it rarely goes and it leaves you asking just who is in control of our lives and just why are the limitations on our horizons accepted as if they were established background to introduce a chapter sketching out the landscape?

The world that Trout and Hoover inhabit is sick and dying and despite the attempts of major corporations to pump some positivity into it through marketing messages "the breakfast of champions" it just makes the unreal nature of our existence all the more obvious to Vonnegut.

This is a bit like watching a flim with the last third ending up with you sitting with the cast and crew and the film happening all around you. The power with that is that after you get used to the idea you start asking why the film is being made in the way it is, why the characters are acting in such a way and wonder just why the world they inhabit is so bleak and artificial. If nothing else Vonnegut gets you thinking.

A review will come soon...

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