Novels & Stories 1963-1973: Cat's Cradle / God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater / Slaughterhouse-Five / Breakfast of Champions / Stories
Library of America
On Sale: April 28, 2011
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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
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.
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