Listen to Kurt Vonnegut’s first public reading of Breakfast of Champions, three years before it was published, here.
“So this book is a sidewalk strewn with junk, trash which I throw over my shoulders as I travel in time back to November eleventh, nineteen hundred and twenty-two. I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy, and when Dwayne Hoover was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.
Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not. So I will throw Veterans’ Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don’t want to throw away any sacred things.”
—Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions, 1975
“Reading and writing are in themselves subversive acts. What they subvert is the notion that things have to be the way they are, that you are alone, that no one has ever felt the way you have. What occurs to most people when they read Kurt is that things are much more up for grabs than they thought they were. The world is a slightly different place just because they read a damn book. Fancy that.”
—Mark Vonnegut (on Kurt Vonnegut in Armageddon in Retrospect). (via callumcanreadandwrite)
“1492. As children we were taught to memorize this year with pride and joy as the year people began living full and imaginative lives on the continent of North America. Actually, people had been living full and imaginative lives on the continent of North America for hundreds of years before that. 1492 was simply the year sea pirates began to rob, cheat, and kill them.”
—Kurt Vonnegut (via mynamesnotjonas)
As a kid I was the youngest member of my family, and the youngest child in any family is always a jokemaker, because a joke is the only way he can enter into an adult conversation.
By now, attuned readers will note that The Vonnegut Review has long-sinced reviewed Vonnegut’s final novel, Timequake, and, after fourteen novels and eighteen essays, the road ahead may seem unclear. Indeed, we have completed the fundamental goal of our project, and greatly appreciate all of the support and enthusiasm you have shared. Participating in a vibrant community of Vonnegut readers has been a wonderful experience for both of us. “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”
However, we have not yet resigned to hanging our hats. We have found Vonnegut an invaluable companion to our own American lives, and do not rush to re-shelve his voice. We are working to expand significantly the scope of the project, and we look forward to sharing such journeys with you all. We also will be working on some capstone essays, intended to function as retrospectives, encapsulations, and, most importantly, continued explorations of the contours of Vonnegut’s literary visions of the human in the world.
Please stay tuned, Vonnegut readers. The Vonnegut Review is not finished. Excitement lies just beyond the horizon.
Until then, please follow us on Twitter and Tumblr, where we will be posting more regularly. And be sure to explore our archives, which you will find on the right sidebar of this page. Most importantly, we urge you to read, and to read Vonnegut.
Wilson Taylor and Matthew Gannon
“Well, I felt after I finished Slaughterhouse-Five that I didn’t have to write at all anymore if I didn’t want to. It was the end of some sort of career. I don’t know why, exactly. I suppose that flowers, when they’re done blooming, have some sort of awareness of some purpose having been served. Flowers didn’t ask to be flowers and I didn’t ask to be me.”
“You know what truth is? It’s some crazy thing my neighbor believes. If I want to make friends with him, I ask him what he believes. He tells me, and I say, “Yeah, yeah - ain’t it the truth?”
—Kurt Vonnegut (via charminglyneurotic)
The Man and his Wisdom