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Breakfast of Champions (English Edition)
 
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Breakfast of Champions (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Kurt Vonnegut
4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)

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Descriptions du produit

Amazon.com

"We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane." So reads the tombstone of downtrodden writer Kilgore Trout, but we have no doubt who's really talking: his alter ego Kurt Vonnegut. Health versus sickness, humanity versus inhumanity--both sets of ideas bounce through this challenging and funny book. As with the rest of Vonnegut's pure fantasy, it lacks the shimmering, fact-fueled rage that illuminates Slaughterhouse-Five. At the same time, that makes this book perhaps more enjoyable to read.

Breakfast of Champions is a slippery, lucid, bleakly humorous jaunt through (sick? inhumane?) America circa 1973, with Vonnegut acting as our Virgil-like companion. The book follows its main character, auto-dealing solid-citizen Dwayne Hoover, down into madness, a condition brought on by the work of the aforementioned Kilgore Trout. As Dwayne cracks, then crumbles, Breakfast of Champions coolly shows the effects his dementia has on the web of characters surrounding him. It's not much of a plot, but it's enough for Vonnegut to air unique opinions on America, sex, war, love, and all of his other pet topics--you know, the only ones that really count.

Extrait

Dwayne was a widower. He lived alone at night in a dream house in Fairchild Heights, which was the most desirable residential area in the city. Every house there cost at least one hundred thousand dollars to build. Every house was on at least four acres of land.

Dwayne's only companion at night was a Labrador retriever named Sparky. Sparky could not wag his tail--because of an automobile accident many years ago, so he had no way of telling other dogs how friendly he was. He had to fight all the time. His ears were in tatters. He was lumpy with scars.

Dwayne had a black servant named Lottie Davis. She cleaned his house every day. Then she cooked his supper for him and served it. Then she went home. She was descended from slaves.

Lottie Davis and Dwayne didn't talk much, even though they liked each other a lot. Dwayne reserved most of his conversation for the dog. He would get down on the floor and roll around with Sparky, and he would say things like, "You and me, Spark," and "How's my old buddy?" and so on.

And that routine went on unrevised, even after Dwayne started to go crazy, so Lottie had nothing unusual to notice.

Kilgore Trout owned a parakeet named Bill. Like Dwayne Hoover, Trout was all alone at night, except for his pet. Trout, too, talked to his pet.

But while Dwayne babbled to his Labrador retriever about love, Trout sneered and muttered to his parakeet about the end of the world.

"Any time now," he would say. "And high time, too."

It was Trout's theory that the atmosphere would become unbreathable soon.

Trout supposed that when the atmosphere became poisonous, Bill would keel over a few minutes before Trout did. He would kid Bill about that. "How's the old respiration, Bill?" he'd say, or, "Seems like you've got a touch of the old emphysema, Bill," or, "We never discussed what kind of a funeral you want, Bill. You never even told me what your religion is." And so on.

He told Bill that humanity deserved to die horribly, since it had behaved so cruelly and wastefully on a planet so sweet. "We're all Heliogabalus, Bill," he would say. This was the name of a Roman emperor who had a sculptor make a hollow, life-size iron bull with a door on it. The door could be locked from the outside. The bull's mouth was open. That was the only other opening to the outside.

Heliogabalus would have a human being put into the bull through the door, and the door would be locked. Any sounds the human being made in there would come out of the mouth of the bull. Heliogabalus would have guests in for a nice party, with plenty of food and wine and beautiful women and pretty boys--and Heliogabalus would have a servant light kindling. The kindling was under dry firewood--which was under the bull.

Trout did another thing which some people might have considered eccentric: he called mirrors leaks. It amused him to pretend that mirrors were holes between two universes.

If he saw a child near a mirror, he might wag his finger at a child warningly, and say with great solemnity, "Don't get too near that leak. You wouldn't want to wind up in the other universe, would you?"

Sometimes somebody would say in his presence, "Excuse me, I have to take a leak." This was a way of saying that the speaker intended to drain liquid wastes from his body through a valve in his lower abdomen.

And Trout would reply waggishly, "Where I come from, that means you're about to steal a mirror."

And so on.

By the time of Trout's death, of course, everybody called mirrors leaks. That was how respectable even his jokes had become.

In 1972, Trout lived in a basement apartment in Cohoes, New York. He made his living as an installer of aluminum combination storm windows and screens. He had nothing to do with the sales end of the business--because he had no charm. Charm was a scheme for making strangers like and trust a person immediately, no matter what the charmer had in mind.

Dwayne Hoover had oodles of charm.

I can have oodles of charm when I want to.

A lot of people have oodles of charm.

Trout's employer and co-workers had no idea that he was a writer. No reputable publisher had ever heard of him, for that matter, even though he had written one hundred and seventeen novels and two thousand short stories by the time he met Dwayne.

He made carbon copies of nothing he wrote. He mailed off manuscripts without enclosing stamped, self-addressed envelopes for their safe return. Sometimes he didn't even include a return address. He got names and addresses of publishers from magazines devoted to the writing business, which he read avidly in the periodical rooms of public libraries. He thus got in touch with a firm called World Classics Library, which published hard-core pornography in Los Angeles, California. They used his stories, which usually didn't even have women in them, to give bulk to books and magazines of salacious pictures.

They never told him where or when he might expect to find himself in print. Here is what they paid him: doodleysquat.

They didn't even send him complimentary copies of the books and magazines in which he appeared, so he had to search them out in pornography stores. And the titles he gave to his stories were often changed. "Pan Galactic Straw-boss," for instance, became "Mouth Crazy."

Most distracting to Trout, however, were the illustrations his publishers selected, which had nothing to do with his tales. He wrote a novel, for instance, about an Earthling named Delmore Skag, a bachelor in a neighborhood where everybody else had enormous families. And Skag was a scientist, and he found a way to reproduce himself in chicken soup. He would shave living cells from the palm of his right hand, mix them with the soup, and expose the soup to cosmic rays. The cells turned into babies which looked exactly like Delmore Skag.

Pretty soon, Delmore was having several babies a day, and inviting his neighbors to share his pride and happiness. He had mass baptisms of as many as a hundred babies at a time. He became famous as a family man.

And so on.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1194 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 322 pages
  • Editeur : RosettaBooks (1 juillet 2010)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B003XRELEI
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°56.918 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 breakfast of champions 16 juillet 2014
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Great work but slightly disappointing and repetitive by the end. Very enjoyable reading. Kurt Vonnegut is at his best in making unbelievable characters believable and in few lines only. A great piece of litterature with interesting triangular relations between two characters and the novelist who set them into motion.
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Par Théodore
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Délicieux <3 <3 A recommander aux amateurs des Monthy Python et d'humour absurde. Et cet humour n'empêche pas Vonnegut d'être innovant tant dans sa narration que son écriture, ce pas rapide qu'il emprunte pour brosser une histoire improbable et drôlatique.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 étoiles sur 5  448 commentaires
50 internautes sur 50 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Vonnegut at his most enjoyably incoherent 2 décembre 2000
Par Stone Junction - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. has specialized in two types of novels. The first types are made up of sharp, witty tales that poke fun at humanity, while all the time keeping one eye on the plot. Both SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE and MOTHER NIGHT are sterling examples.
The second type of Vonnegut novel is awkward and unusual in the extreme, often leaving the reader dazed, thumping his or her head on the floor in a vain attempt at comprehension. They are enjoyable, but their precise meaning continues to elude. TIMEQUAKE is a fine example. BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS is another.
BREAKFAST, to define some semblance of a plot, follows two main story threads. In the first, Vonnegut presents us with Dwayne Hoover, car-salesman extrordinaire, who is slowly and surely losing his mind. In the second, we have Vonnegut regular Kilgore Trout, the unemployed and unlikable science-fiction writer, who is hitch-hiking his way across the country to recieve a sizable award at an arts convention.
This is the plot, but Vonnegut adheres to it only in passing. In countless asides and divergences, Vonnegut explores sex, race, politics, sex, enviromental catastrophe, sex, aliens, robots, god, and sex. All this, plus numerous obscene doodles and an appearance from Vonnegut himself, bestowing wisdom upon his creations.
What, exactly, is Vonnegut trying to say? American culture is a vast wasteland of imbecility? People are generally self-centred and greedy, and above all, not nice? As a culture, America is doomed to die in its own sewage? The answer to all would seem to be yes. Vonnegut has often had a core of anger in his writings, and BREAKFAST is perhaps his angriest.
But BREAKFAST is not simply a gloomy discussion of the end of us all. Vonnegut is far too wise to dwell on man's foibles for long. He continues on his merry way, drawing our attention to this event and that one, all the while reminding us that perhaps Dwayne Hoover is correct: We ARE all robots, grinding our gears, fulfilling our functions, not considering any sorts of consequences.
An astonishing thing has just happened: While penning this review, I realized just how much I enjoyed the book. It was confusing, bizarre, and often irritating. But many of Vonnegut's themes have remained in my consciousness, continuing to dispense nuggets of thought to my often-addled brain. If that isn't the mark of a memorable novel, I don't know what is.
73 internautes sur 81 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Weird and wonderful: pure Vonnegut 28 mars 2002
Par Michael J. Mazza - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Kurt Vonnegut's novel "Breakfast of Champions" follows the odyssey of oddball science fiction writer Kilgore Trout from his melancholy childhood in Bermuda, to the sleazy underside of New York City, and eventually to a fateful encounter with car dealer Wayne Hoover, a man "on the brink of going insane." Within this framework Vonnegut weaves an amazing satiric tapestry that looks at racism, mental illness, environmental crises, the nature and function of art, and many other issues. The book is filled with Vonnegut's own quirky illustrations.
"Breakfast" is harsh, even cruel, but also tender and compassionate; it's laugh-out-loud funny, yet haunting and tragic. It's also a reality-warping metaphysical triumph; Vonnegut breaks down the barriers between reality and fiction, and invites the reader into the very process of the novel's creation. He creates a more intimate bond between author, reader, and fictional character than any other writer I can think of.
Vonnegut presents some of American literature's most memorable characters in "Breakfast." But my favorite is undoubtedly Trout. Throughout the book we also get glimpses of Trout's own voluminous body of work, and meet some of his bizarre sci-fi characters. The book as a whole is also enriched by Vonnegut's unique style; he writes as if for an extraterrestrial audience to whom humanity is utterly alien.
"Breakfast" is a profane, naughty, yet profoundly spiritual book. Filled with strange and vivid details, it's an oddly comforting modern-day testament for our fractured world. Thanks, Kurt.
31 internautes sur 35 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Vonnegut is Creator of my Universe 6 janvier 2000
Par Count Zero - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Is it possible to say anything new about a book that has been in print for ~30 years, that has been read by millions, and which is widely studied in schools and universities?
No... but I do want to say that I loved every word (and illustration). You can pick up this old novel and get a very fresh outlook both on the human condition and on how novels ought to be written.
Vonnegut writes like he is explaining life on Earth to alien children. It is a tool that produces incredibly poignant satire, which he uses effectively to give commentary on conditions of life that the vast majority of us accept without even noticing. The language used is very simple but wonderfully lyrical, less-than-average readers will fly right through it.
Although clearly sadenned by his life, and by his observations of the planet, Vonnegut wrote a masterpiece that remains hopeful in its despair.
Kurt Vonnegut is a genius, and will no doubt be recognized as one of the 20th Century's greatest.
22 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A lyrical fugue on madness, modernity, art and love. 22 juin 2002
Par "manning_in_sydney" - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Although not his most popular work, this is in my opinion Vonnegut's most brilliant novel. Superficially it seems childish, with it's inane illustrations (by the author) and rambling, seemingly unstructured text. But probe a little deeper and some truly profound insights emerge, and there is litle doubt that this is a work of carefully crafted, absolute genius.
There are at least four main themes in this book, and the way Vonnegut weaves them together is both masterful and unorthodox. (In no particular order) the first theme is of madness - Dwayne Hoover has finally fallen victim to the chemicals in his brain, and much of the narrative unfolds around his descent into lunacy and violence. The second theme is that of the alienation of modern-day life, as a despairing Kilgore Trout makes his "Pilgrim's Progress" across small-town USA, and Wayne Hoobler spends the novel waiting pathetically for his dreams to come true while standing by a Holiday Inn dumpster. The third theme is on the meaning of all art, both in Rabo Karabekian's stunning exposition on modern painting, and on Vonnegut's own musings about the point of writing a novel (which occurs within the narrative).
And the final theme, binding it all together, is that of love and connection. As is found in many of Vonnegut's works, he argues that the giving and receiving of love is the only thing that makes our otherwise meaningless lives valuable. Many people miss this point when they read Vonnegut, and hence come away feeling Vonnegut is a very bitter man. If you see this, you'll discover he is actually a deeply compassionate one.
I have read this book many times, and each time come away with a new insight. Read it and treasure it.
21 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Perfect reading for the trying times in life 12 avril 2007
Par K. Rickson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I learned tonight of Kurt Vonnegut's passing, at age 84. I immediately thought of this book, Breakfast of Champions, as the quintessential Vonnegut novel -- not just for what is on the page, but moreso for what it meant to me, especially when I read it for the first time so many years ago.

It was 1979, just six years after he wrote Breakfast, and I was 15, a callow and precocious and dependable and rebellious lad, all at once in those crazy mid-adolescent years. And no one's words spoke quite as eloquently or directly to my fevered brain as did this aging, iconoclastic, sublimely inventive and imaginative author. He was only two years older than my father, and yet light years different in terms of his world view and humor. And to me, this out-of-left-field novel, about banal, blase and boring car salesman Dwayne Hooper and his sudden awakening and transformation into someone so much more complex, is brilliant absudist humor.

I think even the oft-derided cartoon drawings Vonnegut peppers his writings with -- and he uses them liberally throughout Breakfast -- work to perfection here. Vonnegut's drawings deftly set the tone and constantly remind the reader that this is not the overstuffed, pretentious stuff of Mailer or Vidal or any of Vonnegut's other contemporaries.

Re-reading Breakfast a few years ago, I couldn't help but think that an adolescent of today might consider the style almost quaint, considering how much snark and absurdist humor has permeated popular culture over the last 20 or 30 years. To some, I guess the discerning minority, it would be as powerful today as it was more than 30 years ago. There is humor that makes you laugh, and then there are works that also make you think and help expand your horizons to boot. To me, Breakfast of Champions is that kind of brilliance.

I found it deliciously ironic that it was my father's copy of Breakfast that I had swiped all those many years ago, a copy he never opened as far as I know, but a copy that still sits in my library to this day. I loved my father then as I do now, but at age 15 was discovering (as all boys do) that he was not the perfect hero I imagined when I was 6 or 7. Reading Vonnegut's brilliant, out-there work helped put in stark relief that there were so many different ideas and experiences and universes than the suburbia in which I'd grown up. And that was fine by me. Farewell, Kurt, and thanks for sharing your brilliance; I for one will miss it.
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