Breakfast of Champions

  • by Kurt Vonnegut
  • Narrated by John Malkovich
  • 6 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Finalist, Best Male Narrator, 2016
Breakfast of Champions (1973) provides frantic, scattershot satire and a collage of Vonnegut's obsessions. His recurring cast of characters and American landscape was perhaps the most controversial of his canon; it was felt by many at the time to be a disappointing successor to Slaughterhouse-Five, which had made Vonnegut's literary reputation.
The core of the novel is Kilgore Trout, a familiar character very deliberately modeled on the science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon (1918-1985), a fact which Vonnegut conceded frequently in interviews and which was based upon his own occasional relationship with Sturgeon. Here Kilgore Trout is an itinerant wandering from one science fiction convention to another; he intersects with the protagonist, Dwayne Hoover (one of Vonnegut's typically boosterish, lost, and stupid mid-American characters), and their intersection is the excuse for the evocation of many others, familiar and unfamiliar, dredged from Vonnegut's gallery. The central issue is concerned with intersecting and apposite views of reality, and much of the narrative is filtered through Trout, who is neither certifiably insane nor a visionary writer but can pass for either depending upon Dwayne Hoover's (and Vonnegut's) view of the situation.
America, when this novel was published, was in the throes of Nixon, Watergate, and the unraveling of our intervention in Vietnam; the nation was beginning to fragment ideologically and geographically, and Vonnegut sought to cram all of this dysfunction (and a goofy, desperate kind of hope, the irrational comfort given through the genre of science fiction) into a sprawling narrative whose sense, if any, is situational, not conceptual. Reviews were polarized; the novel was celebrated for its bizarre aspects and became the basis of a Bruce Willis movie adaptation whose reviews were not nearly so polarized. (Most critics hated it.)
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A strange experience!

I love the book. I read it multiple times in different languages, watched the movie so I was really curious how this will be. Especially having JM reading it. And his performance is awesome. I was wondering how it'll be done with the lack of drawings but the way JM explains them is probably the best part of the audiobook. Because, to be honest, this brilliant piece of literature simply is not an audiobook material, even if you have the perfect performer... And I don't think there would be anybody better than JM. I never thought that I would submit a review like that, the highest scores in story and performance but only one star for overall. And yet there I have it and it actually makes perfect sense.
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- Malwina Tritt

Still pointed

Vonnegut revived by Malkovich's performance/reading in this audio recording. The sexism - not the worst of its times - is a little wearing but the book does stand up still, shifting wickedly between worlds, perspectives and outrageous calling-of-bluff regarding the usual conventions of fiction. I loved it.
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- Lulubeth

Book Details

  • Release Date: 23-06-2015
  • Publisher: Audible Studios