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Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

Breakfast of Champions by Kurt VonnegutI think it’s fair to say that Kurt Vonnegut’s writing tends to polarise people, you either love his work or hate it. Always quirky and full of the unexpected, he has a knack of exposing the madness of the everyday world and laying it bare in a way that is often highly amusing.

Breakfast of Champions which was first published in 1973, certainly continues in this theme, having many of those all too rare “laugh out loud” moments.

Kurt Vonnegut died in 2007, several weeks after a fall at his home in which he suffered brain injuries. I would say genius is a much over-used word, but certainly one that is safe to use when referring to the late Vonnegut.

Read on for a full review….

-- Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut a Review by Des Greene --
The two central characters in Breakfast of Champions are successful small town car dealer Dwayne Hoover, and one of Vonnegut’s recurring characters, the almost unknown science fiction author Kilgore Trout.

Despite or maybe partly because of his success, Dwayne Hoover is on a steady spiral into insanity. The death of his wife by a particularly unpleasant suicide, is another factor in his precarious mental state. Dwayne is also one of the few people who has ever read the works of Kilgore Trout, whose sci-fi stories only ever made it into print in low rent pornographic magazines. When the two finally meet and Trout inadvertently convinces Hoover that his novel “Now it Can be Told” is the one true message of his creator, carnage ensues.

However, the main plot is only half of the beauty of this book, the above story line is also liberally spiced with Vonnegut’s unique take on life, and we are treated to explanations of many different and diverse subjects. These range far and wide, from racism to gang warfare, and beetles to bargain buckets, and even why someone would name their haulage company after pyramids which have not moved an eighth of an inch since before Christ was born!

Breakfast of Champions whilst at times very funny, cleverly uses satire to deal with some very serious subjects. Like Slaughterhouse Five, I find it is a book I can happily re-read and still find enjoyable. If you like your novels with a generous twist of the strange and zany, then I’m sure you will enjoy it just as much as I have.

Already read Breakfast of Champions? What did you think of it? Please post a comment below, Novel Suggestions is always keen to hear your opinions.

Novel Suggestions only provides fiction book reviews of books that we personally recommend. We don’t spend our valuable time writing reviews of books which we feel would be a waste of your valuable time!

2 Comments

  1. Jay says:

    Hello! Thanks for this review. I plan to read Breakfast of Champions soon. I’ve only read Cat’s Cradle and Slaughterhouse Five by Vonnegut thus far. I was just reminded of him this weekend when I learned in our local paper (I live in the Indianapolis Metropolitan area) that a Kurt Vonnegut Library and Museum will be opening this fall. Their website, if you’d like to take a look, is http://www.vonnegutlibrary.org/.

    I’m going to try to talk my book club into reading some Vonnegut for our October or November meeting (in conjunction with the opening of the library). We usually have a ‘theme’ in October anyway (Ghost Stories, Edgar Allen Poe, etc.) so I think Vonnegut would be a good subject.

    1. Des says:

      Hi Jay,
      thanks for dropping by and commenting.

      Just had a look at the Vonnegut Library link. It sounds like that is going to be quite a fascinating place to visit when they get it going.

      All the best,
      Des.

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