Timequake

Timequake

4.0 35
by Kurt Vonnegut
     
 

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There's been a timequake. And everyone—even you—must live the decade between February 17, 1991 and February 17, 2001 over again. The trick is that we all have to do exactly the same things as we did the first time—minute by minute, hour by hour, year by year, betting on the wrong horse again, marrying the wrong person again. Why? You'll have to ask… See more details below

Overview

There's been a timequake. And everyone—even you—must live the decade between February 17, 1991 and February 17, 2001 over again. The trick is that we all have to do exactly the same things as we did the first time—minute by minute, hour by hour, year by year, betting on the wrong horse again, marrying the wrong person again. Why? You'll have to ask the old science fiction writer, Kilgore Trout. This was all his idea.

Editorial Reviews

Valerie Sayers
Highly entertaining. -- NY Times Book Review
New York Times Book Review
Wry and trenchant. . .highly entertaining.
Newsweek
His funniest book since Breakfast of Champions
Chicago Sun-Times
Irresistible reading.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Vonnegut is at his best.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Its publisher calls this Vonnegut's "first full-length work of fiction in seven years" (since the novel 'Hocus Pocus'), which seems like a polite way to avoid claiming it as a novel. It's certainly not that, nor is it, strictly speaking, a collection of stories. It is, rather, a good-natured and delightful ramble around the problem of not being able to get a book to work. Using his science-fictional alter ego Kilgore Trout, Vonnegut talks about a recalcitrant book of Trout's whose premise would have been that "a sudden glitch in the space-time continuum'' occurs, creating a 10-year hitch in time in which everyone is forced to live that period of their lives over again, every word and action exactly repeated, from 1991 until 2001, at which point their lives move forward once more. It is a nice conceit, and Vonnegut and Trout have some fun with it, all interwoven with anecdotes about the Vonnegut family, how it feels to be an aging author and suchlike. There are plenty of Vonnegut gems for the taking (he and William Styron agree at one point that only 17% of people in the world have lives worth living), but the effect of the book is more like a relaxed, jokey conversation than anything else. Call it a patchwork of brief, semi-fictional essays; no matter, Vonnegut is always good company.
Library Journal
Delayed over a year, Vonnegut's latest finally arrives, with alter ego Kilgore Trout facing millennial catastrophe.
Kirkus Reviews
Vonnegut's first "novel" in seven years (and 14th overall) might by an extremely generous extension of the term be labeled an unassuming metafiction.

Actually, it's unequal parts commonplace book, fragmentary autobiography, dystopian romance, and bemused meditation on our planet's presumable determination to destroy itself. The premise goes as follows: In the year 2001, "a sudden glitch in the space-time continuum, made everybody and everything do exactly what they'd been doing during the past decade . . . a second time": i.e., 2001 reverted to 1991, and "free will kicked in again" only after said decade had torturously re-run itself. One yearns to know what Thomas Berger might have made of this idea. Vonnegut, essentially, settles for employing it as an excuse to rummage through his own past and that of his alter-ego, the fictional science fiction writer Kilgore Trout. Accordingly, the novel about this "timequake" becomes a free-form farrago in which the author tenderly salutes and mourns his living and dead siblings, wives, and children; pays tribute to favorite books and writers; retells old jokes; reminisces about his experiences in WW II, and about his experiences also as a later respected public figure (visiting Nigeria after the Biafran War; giving a speech on the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima); and woolgathers—often cloyingly—about the fate of "humanism" in an age dominated by technology. The book severely tests a reader's patience when it's padded with random bits of semi-relevant information and needless explanations (the plot of 'The Scarlet Letter'; the full text of the 23rd Psalm). And yet, Vonnegut's fitful summaries of the life and writings of the Hunter Thompsonlike Kilgore Trout are often very funny (the story "The Sisters B-36," set on "the matriarchal planet Booboo," really ought to have been written).

So, as he himself might say, it goes. "We are here on earth to fart around" runs one of Vonnegut's more endearing pronouncements. Nobody does it better.

From the Publisher
"This is the indispensible Vonnegut."
San Francisco Chronicle

"Wry and trenchant . . . highly entertaining."
—The New York Times Book Review

"His funniest book since Breakfast of Champions . . . There are nuggets of Vonnegutian wisdom throughout."
Newsweek

"Timequake is a novel by, and starring, Kurt Vonnegut . . . What Vonnegut does, which no one can do better, is give a big postmodern shrug . . . You've got to love him."
—The Washington Post Book World

"Humorous, sardonic . . . Timequake makes for irresistible reading that's loaded with more important truths than it lets on . . . Moralizing has never been funnier."
Chicago Sun-Times

"Vonnegut is at his best."
Atlanta Journal & Constitution

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781440674389
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/01/1998
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
175,512
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"This is the indispensible Vonnegut."
San Francisco Chronicle

"Wry and trenchant . . . highly entertaining."
—The New York Times Book Review

"His funniest book since Breakfast of Champions . . . There are nuggets of Vonnegutian wisdom throughout."
Newsweek

"Timequake is a novel by, and starring, Kurt Vonnegut . . . What Vonnegut does, which no one can do better, is give a big postmodern shrug . . . You've got to love him."
The Washington Post Book World

"Humorous, sardonic . . . Timequake makes for irresistible reading that's loaded with more important truths than it lets on . . . Moralizing has never been funnier."
Chicago Sun-Times

"Vonnegut is at his best."
Atlanta Journal & Constitution

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