persona non sequitur

a review of media by a slightly jaded baby boomer.

Friday, April 28, 2006

TIMEQUAKE by Kurt Vonnegut.

The book is no deal. It's from Berkeley. It should cost $13.00 at a book store. It's not worth that. I bought it at a thrift store for $.79. It was a waste of money.

It's a mess. It is not a novel, and it doesn't have much by way of characterization, no plot to speak of, no pace, no flow, no interaction. It is inelegantly written. There are old dirty jokes inserted into this mess, and Vonnegut can't write them well enough to make them work. That's how bad this book is.

The book has Kilgore Trout in it, and he is not distinguishable from any character in the book save from name. Vonnegut never could characterise.

For some reason time stops and flows back ten years and repeats itself. This not a new idea. In some religions and thought systems it's called the eternal recurrence. A novel was written about the life of a man called THE STRANGE LIFE OF IVAN OSOKIN by P.D. Ouspensky. He keeps living his whole life over and over, and knows and cannot change anything. Vonnegut did not interject one sense of wonder or terror at the knowledge of such a happening.

And of course, Vonnegut repeats a phrase over and over until it becomes annoying as he tries to leverage some intellectual weight onto the new cliche.

And this was a New York Times Best Seller? I knew there was a reason to avoid it as a suggested reading list.

Rating -1 *

And I must add a footnote: many years ago I wrote a review of VENUS ON THE HALF SHELL, that novel Philip Jose Farmer wrote under the name Kilgore Trout. I jokingly wrote it was "Vonnegut's best novel" in a review that was published in an advertising rag.

Someone who knew Vonnegut phoned me at my job and threatened to sue me on Vonnegut's behalf, unless I retracted my claim. "Sure, Okay," I said.

Another issue never appeared.

Vonnegut must be peeved by that book. It's better written, funnier and is more interesting than anything he's ever written.


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