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God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian

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Overview

In what began as a series of quirkily characteristic ninety-second interludes for New York's public radio station, Kurt Vonnegut asks, on behalf of us all, the Big Questions. Could death be a quality? A place? Not an ending but an occurrence that changes those to whom it happens?

As a "reporter on the afterlife," Vonnegut bravely allows himself to be strapped to a gurney by his friend Jack Kevorkian and dispatched round-trip to the Pearly Gates. Or at least that's what he claims...

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2001 Paperback First Edition; First Printing New 0743422007. 8vo 8"-9" tall; 80 pages.

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God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian

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Overview

In what began as a series of quirkily characteristic ninety-second interludes for New York's public radio station, Kurt Vonnegut asks, on behalf of us all, the Big Questions. Could death be a quality? A place? Not an ending but an occurrence that changes those to whom it happens?

As a "reporter on the afterlife," Vonnegut bravely allows himself to be strapped to a gurney by his friend Jack Kevorkian and dispatched round-trip to the Pearly Gates. Or at least that's what he claims in the introduction to these thirty-odd comic and irreverent "interviews" with the likes of William Shakespeare, Adolf Hitler, and Clarence Darrow, bringing readers to an entirely new placeā€”a place to which only Vonnegut could bring us.

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Editorial Reviews

Time Magazine
Vonnegut is George Orwell, Dr. Caligari, and Flash Gordon compounded into one writer....A zany but moral-mad scientist.
Providence Sunday Journal
Vonnegut devotees will love this little book, and I'm sure anyone else with a sense of humor and the desire to fulfill his or her "right to know" will enjoy it as well....A tidy smorgasbord of ficto-journalism and journo-fictionalism and various other forms of writing that deftly defy classification.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As a "reporter on the afterlife," Kurt Vonnegut bravely allows himself to be strapped to a gurney by his friend Jack Kevorkian and dispatched--round-trip--to the Pearly Gates. Or at least that's what he claims in the introduction to this series of brief pieces originally read as 90-second interludes on WNYC, Manhattan's public radio station. Revised and rewritten for this slim volume, Vonnegut's "interviews" range from the gossamer-slight to the deliciously barbed. Among the dead people he is privileged to talk to are Salvatore Biagini, a retired construction worker who died of a heart attack while rescuing his schnauzer from a pit bull; John Brown, still smoldering 140 years after his death by hanging; William Shakespeare, who spouts quotations and rubs Vonnegut the wrong way; and one of Vonnegut's own personal heroes, socialist and labor leader Eugene Victor Debs. The tables are turned on Vonnegut when he runs into Sir Isaac Newton, who is lurking near the Heaven end of the "blue tunnel" of the Afterlife. Newton, tireless in his quest for knowledge, wants to find out what the tunnel is made of, and he takes over the interview, besieging Vonnegut with questions. Unfazed, the writer moves on, looking up Martin Luther King's assassin, James Earl Ray, and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. It is only when Dr. Kevorkian is inconveniently convicted for murder that Vonnegut is forced to desist. This may be Vonnegut (or his publishers) scraping the bottom of the barrel, but no matter: there are few writers whose scrapings we'd rather have. (Jan.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743422000
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2001
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 80
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Kurt Vonnegut
Kurt Vonnegut
Kurt Vonnegut was forever established in the literary pantheon and on the school syllabus with the publication of his brilliant antiwar novel Slaughterhouse-Five, but he endured as a purveyor of mind-warping, surreal fiction that just so happened to be funny.

Biography

Born in 1922, Vonnegut grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. His architect father suffered great financial setbacks during the Depression and was unemployed for long stretches of time. His mother suffered from mental illness and eventually committed suicide in 1944, a trauma that haunted Vonnegut all his life. He attended Cornell in the early 1940s, but quit in order to enlist in the Army during WWII.

Vonnegut was shipped to Europe, fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and was captured behind enemy lines and incarcerated in a German prison camp. As a POW, he witnessed the firebombing of Dresden by Allied forces, an event of devastating magnitude that left an indelible impression on the young soldier.

After the war, Vonnegut returned home and married his high school sweetheart. In addition to two daughters and a son of their own, he and his first wife adopted three children orphaned in 1958 by the death of Vonnegut's sister Alice. (He and his second wife adopted another daughter.) The family lived in Chicago and Schenectady before settling in Cape Cod, where Vonnegut began to concentrate seriously on his writing. His first novel, the darkly dystopian Player Piano, was published in 1952 and met with moderate success. Three additional novels followed (including the critically acclaimed Cat's Cradle), but it was not until the publication of 1969's Slaughterhouse Five that Vonnegut achieved true literary stardom. Based on the author's wartime experiences in Dresden, the novel resonated powerfully in the social upheaval of the Vietnam era.

Although he is best known for his novels (a genre-blending mix of social satire, science fiction, surrealism, and black comedy), Vonnegut also wrote short fiction, essays, and plays (the best known of which was Happy Birthday, Wanda June). In addition, he was a talented graphic artist who illustrated many of his books and exhibited sporadically during his literary career. He died on April 11, 2007, after suffering irreversible brain injuries as a result of a fall.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Kurt Vonnegut
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 11, 1922
    2. Place of Birth:
      Indianapolis, Indiana
    1. Date of Death:
      April 11, 2007
    2. Place of Death:
      New York, New York

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 19 )
Rating Distribution

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(13)

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Sort by: Showing all of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2002

    This is a piece, Ta Ta!

    If you need to laugh and wish to be enlightened through the teachings of Kurt, you must pick up this book. I laughed all the way through, and when it was over I was craving more. A great work of literary loopiness, my my my, this is worth checking out. This is a happy reader signing off, ta ta!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2001

    Better than anything Kilgore Trout EVERY wrote!

    This book is good. KV does a really good job with these little interviews. KV's alter ego shows up once, although he's not quite dead. It's a fast read, and if your looking for something humorous, I highly recommend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2001

    Brilliant!!!!!!!

    This book is brilliant! It is impossible to put down, once opened! You will laugh and truly love these wonderful conversations! It is a masterpiece! Vonnegut is a genious!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2000

    AMAZING

    This book rendered Mr. Vonnegut as my favorite author, hands down, even without my having read more than 2 of his other novels. I went out and purchased all of the rest and they're sitting like unopened Christmas presents on the floor of my apartment. PlEaSe, DO YOURSELF A FAVOR and read this book (it only takes about an hour anyway) because if that wasn't nice, I don't know what was.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2000

    God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut

    Rather than waste your time going on about how Mr. Vonnegut is a genius and a prolific writer of the 20th century - I'm just going to talk about this book. Loved it! Hysterical..to the point...concise...brilliant...READ IT!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Nearly-Dead Reporter Takes You to Heaven's Front Lawn

    I love Vonnegut and this book was no exception. His quirky social commentary is there in full force with this set of short, interview-style pieces.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 1999

    God Bless You, Kurt Vonnegut

    Wow, what a great little book. A brief meditation on what it is to be alive and what it might be like (probably not) to be dead. Vonnegut's dark humor is once again used to take the air out of a very somber subject. His interviews with the departed are subtle and jarring all at once. Vonnegut has to considered one of the great authors of the 20th century.

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