Voici l'histoire d'une rencontre entre deux hommes solitaires, maigrichons et plus tout jeunes. Le premier, Kilgore Trout, obscur auteur de science-fiction, passe ses soirées à prédire l'apocalypse à son seul ami, Bill, une perruche. Quant à Dwayne Hoover, riche concessionnaire Pontiac dont l'unique compagnon est un chien nommé Sparky, il est sur le point de perdre la tête. Lorsque Kilgore Trout rencontre Dwayne au cours d'un festival, il lui offre l'un de ses romans. La lecture de ce livre va transformer Dwayne en monstre.
"Je suis américain de naissance, nazi de réputation et apatride par inclination." Ainsi s'ouvrent les confessions de Howard W. Campbell Jr. qui attend d'être jugé pour crimes de guerre dans une cellule de Jérusalem. Ce dramaturge exilé en Allemagne est connu pour avoir été le propagandiste de radio le plus zélé du régime nazi. Mais il clame aujourd'hui son innocence et prétend n'avoir été qu'un agent infiltré au service des Alliés. Il lui reste désormais peu de temps pour se disculper et sauver sa peau.
Riche héritier, pompier bénévole, vétéran de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, passablement porté sur la bouteille, Eliot Rosewater ne se reconnaît pas dans la devise de sa famille : Prendre trop, bien trop, ou se retrouver sans rien. Lui préférant de loin Nom de Dieu, il faut être bon, Eliot part appliquer sa maxime aux âmes qui vivent sur ses terres, dans le comté de Rosewater, Indiana. Là, en doux dingue, il répond aux appels au feu et aux appels à l'aide des infortunés. Mais le personnage principal de cette fable sur les gens est une somme d'argent qu'un avocat véreux tente d'empocher.
Avec un humour décapant et un esprit affûté, Kurt Vonnegut, immense figure de la littérature américaine, conte la destinée d'un illuminé qui a décidé d'en finir avec le capitalisme.
La réalité ? Quelle réalité ?
Le dernier roman inédit du trublion génial des lettres américaines.
2001 : un " tremblement de terre temporel " renvoie tout le monde en 1991. Un nouveau départ ? Pas vraiment. L'histoire recommence à l'identique. Les gens commettent des erreurs déjà commises, les mêmes catastrophes se produisent encore et encore. Qui délivrera l'humanité de son infernale apathie ? Kilgore Trout lui-même, l'alter ego littéraire de l'auteur ?
Tel aurait pu être le nouveau roman de Kurt Vonnegut, l'auteur culte d'Abattoir 5 et du Petit déjeuner des champions. Sauf que Kurt n'a pas envie de l'écrire. En tout cas, pas comme ça. À la place, il livre au lecteur la genèse de son récit avorté, et en profite pour l'embarquer dans un étourdissant voyage au pays de la fiction.
Brillante méditation sur les États-Unis, la guerre, les amis, la famille et les choix qui nous composent - la vie, quoi d'autre ? -, Tremblement de temps est un objet littéraire unique, à mi-chemin entre le roman et l'autobiographie.
Vonnegut s'y dévoile comme jamais, et livre les clés d'une oeuvre dont le succès, ici comme ailleurs, ne s'est jamais démenti.
Kurt Vonnegut, romancier et satiriste d'exception, était en son temps l'un des orateurs les plus demandés pour les cérémonies de remise de diplômes. Chaque fois, il savait trouver des mots originaux, pertinents et drôles, dont les étudiants se souvenaient longtemps. Elle est pas belle, la vie ? rassemble des discours que l'écrivain a prononcés dans neuf universités entre 1978 et 2004. Tantôt hilarantes, tantôt incisives, en roue libre ou du plus profond sérieux, ces réflexions sont parfaites pour quiconque fait l'expérience de ce que Vonnegut appelle la cérémonie tant attendue de la puberté, marquant la transition entre les études et la vie d'adulte.
Un cadeau sans pareil pour tous ceux qui souhaitent découvrir un point de vue différent, atypique, cerné par le sens de l'humour grinçant de Vonnegut, mais aussi par son humanité et la foi qu'il porte en notre morale fondamentale. Un livre prophétique et exaltant dont chaque mot résonne avec une modernité cinglante.
Cat’s Cradle is Kurt Vonnegut’s satirical commentary on modern man and his madness. An apocalyptic tale of this planet’s ultimate fate, it features a midget as the protagonist, a complete, original theology created by a calypso singer, and a vision of the future that is at once blackly fatalistic and hilariously funny. A book that left an indelible mark on an entire generation of readers, Cat’s Cradle is one of the twentieth century’s most important works--and Vonnegut at his very best.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Look at the Birdie evokes a world in which squabbling couples, high school geniuses, misfit office workers, and small-town Lotharios struggle to adapt to changing technology, moral ambiguity, and unprecedented affluence. In "Confido," a family learns the downside of confiding their deepest secrets into a magical invention. In "Ed Luby's Key Club," a man finds himself in a Kafkaesque world of trouble after he runs afoul of the shady underworld boss who calls the shots in an upstate New York town. In "Look at the Birdie," a quack psychiatrist turned "murder counsellor" concocts a novel new outlet for his paranoid patients. The stories are cautionary they also brim with his trademark humour.Wry, ironic, satirical and poignant Look at the Birdie reflects the anxieties of the postwar era in which they were written and provides an insight into the development of Vonnegut's early style
First published on the anniversary of Kurt Vonnegut's death, Armageddon in Retrospect is a collection of twelve new writings - a fitting tribute to the author, and an essential contribution to the discussion of war, peace and humanity's tendency towards violence. Imbued with Vonnegut's trademark rueful humour, the pieces range from a visceral non-fiction recollection of the destruction of Dresden - to a painfully funny short story about three soldiers and their fantasies of the perfect meal.
Eliot Rosewater is tortured by a fabulous inheritance he feels he does not deserve, so he devotes himself to drink, and to a life serving the dull, the ugly, the irrelevant and the useless. This is a novel about the pleasures, pains and perversions of people and money. It is the story of a millionaire's lunacy, the obsessions of a famous family and the collective madness of a nation.
In a frolic of cartoon and comic outbursts against rule and reason, a miraculous weaving of science fiction, memoir, parable, fairy tale and farce, Kurt Vonnegut attacks the whole spectrum of American society, releasing some of his best-loved literary creations on the scene.
Rudolf Waltz's principal objection to life was that it was too easy to make horrible mistakes. He was himself to become a double-murderer at the age of twelve - on Mother's Day. This would at least make subsequent mistakes seem fairly trivial. Rudolf's father, Otto Waltz, had in 1910 bought a painting in Vienna from a destitute Adolf Hitler, thereby possibly saving him from starvation for a future generation. He made the further mistake of setting himself up as an artist when he returned from Europe to Midland City, Ohio, where everyone knew Otto couldn't draw for sour apples. He had funds to indulge this grand illusion (in the splendor of a vast converted 'medieval granary' studio, reminiscent of Mount Fujiyama) because his father had made a fortune producing an opium-and-cocaine-laced quack medicine called Saint Elmo's Remedy, popularly known to be 'absolutely harmless unless discontinued'. The Waltz inheritance even stretched to a troupe of black servants, which was just as well since Rudy's mother was as disinclined to look after a home as his 'artist' father was to paint.
Kurt Vonnegut, described by Graham Greene as "One of the best living American writers", is equally well known as an essayist and commentator on American society as he is as a novelist. This volume brings together the best of his shorter work - essays, stories, speeches, letters, articles and autobiography.
While Mortals Sleep is a smart, clear-eyed collection of stories from one of the most original writers in American fiction. Set in trailers, bars and factories, Vonnegut conjures up a world where men and machines, art and artifice, fame and fortune become curiously twisted and characters pit their dreams and fears against a cruel and comically indifferent world.Written early in his career, and never published before, these tightly plotted stories are infused with Vonnegut's distinctive blend of observation, imagination and scabrous humour. This collection features an introduction by Dave Eggers.
Pay attention please to the life of Walter F. Starbuck. Nineteen-hundred and Thirteen gave him the gift of life. Nineteenth-hundred and Thirty-one sent him to Harvard. Nineteen-hundred and Thirty-eight got him a job in the federal government. Nineteen-hundred and Seventy gave him a job in the Nixon White House. Nineteen-hundred and Seventy-five sent him to prison for his part in the American political scandals known collectively as 'Watergate'.Now Walter F. Starbuck is coming out of jail, into the brave new world of 1980s Manhattan, and this is the story of his first twenty-four hours of freedom.
“A funny, savage appraisal of a totally automated American society of the future.”--San Francisco Chronicle
Kurt Vonnegut’s first novel spins the chilling tale of engineer Paul Proteus, who must find a way to live in a world dominated by a supercomputer and run completely by machines. Paul’s rebellion is vintage Vonnegut--wildly funny, deadly serious, and terrifyingly close to reality.
Praise for Player Piano
“An exuberant, crackling style . . . Vonnegut is a black humorist, fantasist and satirist, a man disposed to deep and comic reflection on the human dilemma.”--Life
“His black logic . . . gives us something to laugh about and much to fear.”--The New York Times Book Review
Kurt Vonnegut has surpassed even his own giddy heights of hilariously bitter irony in Bluebeard. It is a novel so funny and yet so terribly serious that you will read it - then reconsider your own life.
According to science-fiction writer Kilgore Trout, a global timequake will occur in New York City on 13th February 2001. It is the moment when the universe suffers a crisis of conscience. Should it expand or make a great big bang? It decides to wind the clock back a decade to 1991, making everyone in the world endure ten years of deja-vu and a total loss of free will - not to mention the torture of reliving every nanosecond of one of the tawdiest and most hollow decades. With his trademark wicked wit, Vonnegut addresses memory, suicide, the Great Depression, the loss of American eloquence, and the obsolescent thrill of reading books.
From Slapstick's "Turkey Farm" to Slaughterhouse-Five's eternity in a Tralfamadorean zoo cage with Montana Wildhack, the question of the afterlife never left Kurt Vonnegut's mind. In God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian, Vonnegut skips back and forth between life and the Afterlife as if the difference between them were rather slight. In thirty odd "interviews," Vonnegut trips down "the blue tunnel to the pearly gates" in the guise of a roving reporter for public radio, conducting interviews: with Salvatore Biagini, a retired construction worker who died of a heart attack while rescuing his schnauzer from a pit bull, with John Brown, still smoldering 140 years after his death by hanging, with William Shakespeare, who rubs Vonnegut the wrong way, and with socialist and labor leader Eugene Victor Debs, one of Vonnegut's personal heroes.
What began as a series of ninety-second radio interludes for WNYC, New York City's public radio station, evolved into this provocative collection of musings about who and what we live for, and how much it all matters in the end. From the original portrait by his friend Jules Feiffer that graces the cover, to a final entry from Kilgore Trout, God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian remains a joy.
One of the great American iconoclasts holds forth on politics, war, books and writers, and his personal life in a series of conversations--including his last published interview.
During his long career Kurt Vonnegut won international praise for his novels, plays, and essays. In this new anthology of conversations with Vonnegut--which collects interviews from throughout his career--we learn much about what drove Vonnegut to write and how he viewed his work at the end.
From Kurt Vonnegut's Last Interview
Is there another book in you, by chance?
No. Look, I’m 84 years old. Writers of fiction have usually done their best work by the time they’re 45. Chess masters are through when they’re 35, and so are baseball players. There are plenty of other people writing. Let them do it.
So what’s the old man’s game, then?
My country is in ruins. So I’m a fish in a poisoned fishbowl. I’m mostly just heartsick about this. There should have been hope. This should have been a great country. But we are despised all over the world now. I was hoping to build a country and add to its literature. That’s why I served in World War II, and that’s why I wrote books.
When someone reads one of your books, what would you like them to take from the experience?
Well, I’d like the guy--or the girl, of course--to put the book down and think, “This is the greatest man who ever lived.”
This collection of Vonnegut's letters is the autobiography he never wrote - from the letter he posted home upon being freed from a German POW camp, to notes of advice to his children: 'Don't let anybody tell you that smoking and boozing are bad for you. Here I am fifty-five years old, and I never felt better in my life'. Peppered with insights, one-liners and missives to the likes of Norman Mailer, Gunter Grass and Bernard Malamud, Vonnegut is funny, wise and modest. As he himself said: 'I am an American fad-'of a slightly higher order than the hula hoop'.Like Vonnegut's books, his letters make you think, they make you outraged and they make you laugh. Written over a sixty-year period, and never published before, these letters are alive with the unique point of view that made Vonnegut one of the most original writers in American fiction.
Broad humor and bitter irony collide in this fictional autobiography of Rabo Karabekian, who, at age seventy-one, wants to be left alone on his Long Island estate with the secret he has locked inside his potato barn. But then a voluptuous young widow badgers Rabo into telling his life story--and Vonnegut in turn tells us the plain, heart-hammering truth about man’s careless fancy to create or destroy what he loves.
From the Trade Paperback edition.