Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Slapstick, or Lonesome No More!

Rate this book
Slapstick presents an apocalyptic vision as seen through the eyes of the current King of Manhattan (and last President of the United States), a wickedly irreverent look at the all-too-possible results of today’s follies. But even the end of life-as-we-know-it is transformed by Kurt Vonnegut’s pen into hilarious farce—a final slapstick that may be the Almighty’s joke on us all.

288 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1976

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

510 books32.6k followers
Kurt Vonnegut, Junior was an American novelist, satirist, and most recently, graphic artist. He was recognized as New York State Author for 2001-2003.

He was born in Indianapolis, later the setting for many of his novels. He attended Cornell University from 1941 to 1943, where he wrote a column for the student newspaper, the Cornell Daily Sun. Vonnegut trained as a chemist and worked as a journalist before joining the U.S. Army and serving in World War II.

After the war, he attended University of Chicago as a graduate student in anthropology and also worked as a police reporter at the City News Bureau of Chicago. He left Chicago to work in Schenectady, New York in public relations for General Electric. He attributed his unadorned writing style to his reporting work.

His experiences as an advance scout in the Battle of the Bulge, and in particular his witnessing of the bombing of Dresden, Germany whilst a prisoner of war, would inform much of his work. This event would also form the core of his most famous work, Slaughterhouse-Five, the book which would make him a millionaire. This acerbic 200-page book is what most people mean when they describe a work as "Vonnegutian" in scope.

Vonnegut was a self-proclaimed humanist and socialist (influenced by the style of Indiana's own Eugene V. Debs) and a lifelong supporter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The novelist is known for works blending satire, black comedy and science fiction, such as Slaughterhouse-Five (1969), Cat's Cradle (1963), and Breakfast of Champions (1973)

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
10,896 (26%)
4 stars
16,114 (39%)
3 stars
10,751 (26%)
2 stars
2,250 (5%)
1 star
436 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,900 reviews
Profile Image for J.L.   Sutton.
666 reviews928 followers
March 8, 2020
“If you can do no good, at least do no harm.”

“Love is where you find it. I think it is foolish to go around looking for it, and I think it can be poisonous. I wish that people who are conventionally supposed to love each other would say to each other, when they fight, 'Please — a little less love, and a little more common decency'.”

“What does seem important? Bargaining in good faith with destiny.”

Kurt Vonnegut's Slapstick, or Lonesome No More! is a sort of autobiography within an autobiography. In the prologue, Vonnegut, the author, meditates on the death of his sister, Alice, on loneliness and the assertion that the novel Slapstick itself is autobiographical. Slapstick then is written by the former last president of the United States, Wilbur Daffodil-11 Swain, from his nearly empty offices in the Empire State Building. It is a post-apocalyptic world. The U.S government has collapsed and much of humanity has been ravaged by plagues known as the green death (caused by the fatal inhalation of Chinese who have miniaturized themselves) and the Albanian flu.

Swain writes about his life, and the connection to his twin sister, Eliza, without whom neither one is really whole. They are viewed as simpletons; however, together they are brilliant and wildly creative. Their separation at age 15 signals the destruction of paradise. Apart, the twins refer to their simpleton selves as Betty and Bobby Brown. Even years later, Eliza asks Wilbur,"How could anybody love Bobby Brown?" Hi ho!

Though Vonnegut gave it a grade of 'D,' I really enjoyed Slapstick! Unlike some other works by Vonnegut, it was immediately engaging, and of course, fun and wildly irreverent! 4.25 stars.

Again, and as sort of a postscript, I wonder about Vonnegut's perception of Wyoming. "If you ever go to Wyoming..." This reference occurs with respect to a new scheme to create artificial families Swain is told he'd have connections, wouldn't be lonesome. Otherwise, and in so much of his other work, Wyoming exists on the edge of crazy!

“In case nobody has told you," she said, "this is the United States of America, where nobody has a right to rely on anybody else--where everybody learns to make his or her own way.”

“FËDOR Mikhailovich Dostoevski, the
Russian novelist, said one time that, "One sacred memory from childhood is perhaps the best education." I can think of another quickie education for a child, which, in its way, is almost as salutary: Meeting a human being who is tremendously respected by the adult world, and realizing that that person is actually a malicious lunatic.”
Profile Image for Darwin8u.
1,599 reviews8,732 followers
November 16, 2016
“And how did we
then face the odds,
of man's rude slapstick,
yes, and God's?
Quite at home and unafraid,
in a game
our dreams remade.”

― Kurt Vonnegut, Slapstick, or Lonesome No More!


My 15-ear-old son broke the screen on his iPhone 6s. I'm letting him buy down the debt (to me) by reading 6 Vonnegut novels before the end of the year. Every book he reads, drops his big OWE down by $10, upto $60. He is still on the hook for the other $80. This is what happens when daddy is an absurdist, but rules like a fascist King. Hi ho.

So, I've decided to read a lot of the Vonnegut novels he's going to be reading before the end of the year too. It has been 30 years since I went on a huge Vonnegut tear. It seems in an era of Donald Trump I'm going to need as many absurdist tools on my belt as possible. What better way than a book about loneliness, incest (perhaps not, or technically yes, but also not), disease, the destruction of America, and the Church of Jesus Christ the Kidnapped.

There are other, stronger Vonneguts where I could have started, but I'm also trying to go through my Library of America Vonnegut: Novels 1976-1985. Plus, it is hard to avoid a book that uses the phrase “Why don't you take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut? Why don't you take a flying fuck at the mooooooooooooon?” often and with literary abandon.

As far as the stars, the book itself probably only warrants a Vonnegut 3-star (except for the fact that the autobiographical introduction is so good, I'm tossing in another star because, well, I can).
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,883 reviews16.6k followers
October 14, 2019
Vonnegut's most farcical, most absurd, but also one of the more scathing satires.

Here Vonnegut takes on universalism, and totalitarianism, but on a grander scale than he allowed in Harrison Bergeron; but also this is more surreal. His genius, though, as seen in other novels, is to creatively intersperse pockets of stark realism to accentuate and to highlight the circus like theme.

Vonnegut also uses elements of grotesque to further illustrate his none too subtle rebuke of egalitarianism. This is thought provoking, though, in terms of his over the top humanism and decidedly liberal politics. A good read, and a must read for a Vonnegut fan. A new reader to his canon would be better advised to start with Slaughterhouse-Five or Cat's Cradle.

***** 2019 reread

Hi Ho!

Lyn Geranium 27 here, reporting on Kurt Vonnegut’s ninth novel, first published in 1974.

When I first read this back in the olden days of the late 80s, I didn’t like it so much. At the time I had no exposure of and a dim understanding of absurdist humor. After college introduced me to Eugene Ionescu, Albert Camus and Samuel Beckett, I had a little better idea about how much fun it could be, and through the microscope of hyperbole, how important as a literary device it could be.

Vonnegut tells this outrageous tale of the last President of the United States, a two-meter-tall, Neanderthal genius twin who presided over the fizzled out end of western civilization. What follows is disease, famine and decentralized fiefdoms.

But civilization is not over, the Chinese have learned, among a great many things, to go full Ant-Man and reduce their size to better utilize lessened resources.

What stands out the most to me was Vonnegut’s ideas, earlier hinted at in Cat’s Cradle and Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons, about how lonesome we are and what we desperately need are extended families as in primitive societies.

Our hero Wilbur introduces the law that everyone will replace their middle name with a randomly generated noun and number combination. An example is Daffodill 11, or Uranium 8. This then, would become the person’s family, and they could support each other or not, just like today. If you don’t want to deal with a non-family member, Wilbur invites us to say this to them:

“You can take a flying f*** at a rolling doughnut, you can take a flying f*** at the Moooooooon!”

And so on.

Vonnegut describes to us a world, through absurdist exaggeration, a world of desperate individuals who want connection, and a necessary ideal toward fixing such a calamity in the example of the little Chinese.

Too much fun!

Hi Ho!

Profile Image for Tom Quinn.
552 reviews167 followers
December 19, 2022
SECOND READING, 2022: Nothing much to add. Kurt's misgivings about the L-word be damned: I love this book.

* * * * *

(appx 7 weeks before stay at home orders began)

Slapstick begins with a prologue that I won't hesitate to rank among Vonnegut's absolute best writing. It is honest, it is tenderhearted, it is sad and funny and bittersweet. It also provides an explicit key to deciphering the novel that follows, which is unusual. In another author's hands such a trick might seem overeager and embarassing. But Vonnegut does as he always does and makes the silly and embarrassing work gracefully towards his purposes—presenting his thoughts so concisely and so cheerily that it is impossible not to feel a groundswell of emotion and a firm, immediate rapport. Vonnegut knew what it was to be human, with all the messy ugly parts and all the beautiful triumphant parts and all the messy parts that become beautiful because they are real and essential to us.

As his 8th novel out of 14, I guess we'd place this one into his "middle era" and Slapstick is written in the staccato style I most often associate with Vonnegut's later books. Assuming his aim was to provide plenty of places to stop for reflection along the way, I took the opportunity to read this book slowly: a dozen pages a day or so, with lots of space between each of those pages to feel, to think about what made me feel that way, and then to feel again what thinking about feeling that way made me feel. It was pleasant, but potent.

This is Vonnegut, so there are quotable "zingers" all along the way (as usual). But it's also an exercise in actively caring (again as usual). Truth be told I need all the gentle reminders I can get to be a kind and decent person in this world we occupy. Vonnegut doles those reminders out liberally, and with more explicit comedy here than I recall in his other works.

I do have some criticism for this book, but when I go to write it down it seems trivial in comparison with the big feelings that it stirred up in me. About the most severe thing I can bring myself to say is this: it's not Vonnegut's strongest novel and it is cruder than his greatest hits.

But still, emphatically: 5 stars out of 5. There's a cliché frequently passed around parenting circles: "Find Your Tribe." For years I've dismissed it as empty pablum, but Vonnegut just made it real to me.
Profile Image for Jean-Luke.
Author 1 book394 followers
November 22, 2021
I don't usually read a book's preface, but I started with the preface in this one and it is gorgeous.
It's Angela Carter's Wise Children meets A Series of Unfortunate Events meets something like Muriel Spark's Symposium.
It also solves that ancient mystery of how the Pyramids came to be built so read it for that if for no other reason.
And it has jokes:
Q: Why is cream so much more expensive than milk?
A: Because the cows hate to squat on the little bottles.”
Oh, and it sums up why I hate the phrase 'I love you.' And I quote: “It’s as though you were pointing a gun at my head[...]It’s just a way of getting somebody to say something they probably don’t mean. What else can I say, or anybody say, but, ‘I love you, too’?”
Graham Greene apparently called Vonnegut "one of the best living American writers." They're both dead now, but I guess I agree.
All books in my library are alternately titled Lonesome No More

Hi ho.
Profile Image for Vit Babenco.
1,468 reviews3,644 followers
October 23, 2018
Loneliness and isolation… What can they do to one’s destiny? What does it mean to be different from the others?
We were aware of all the comedy in this. But, as brilliant as we were when we put our heads together, we did not guess until we were fifteen that we were also in the midst of a tragedy. We thought that ugliness was simply amusing to people in the outside world. We did not realize that we could actually nauseate strangers who came upon us unexpectedly.

Slapstick, or Lonesome No More! is post-apocalyptic burlesque… Everything in the novel is turned inside out and even the apocalypse is ludicrously absurd.
The old protagonist writes a preposterous story of his long life but, as usual, hiding behind the façade of fun Kurt Vonnegut explores the serious problems existing in the modern society.
Yes, and I write now with a palsied hand and an aching head, for I drank much too much at my birthday party last night.
Vera Chipmunk-5 Zappa arrived encrusted with diamonds, borne through the ailanthus forest in a sedan chair, accompanied by an entourage of fourteen slaves. She brought me wine and beer, which made me drunk. But her most intoxicating gifts were a thousand candles she and her slaves had made in a colonial candle mold. We fitted them into the empty mouths of my thousand candlesticks, and deployed them over the lobby floor.
Then we lit them all.
Standing among all those tiny, wavering lights, I felt as though I were God, up to my knees in the Milky Way.

“Bear ye one another’s burdens…” Galatians 6:2 This remedy for loneliness is known since the ancient times.
Profile Image for Barry Pierce.
576 reviews7,779 followers
December 30, 2013
Hmmm deformed, incestuous fraternal twins become geniuses when they touch their heads together. One is the last President of the United States of America. Ridiculous, yes? No. This is Vonnegut! I liked this one. I like all Vonnegut actually. I'm very biased, don't listen to me. Hi ho.
Profile Image for Paul.
16 reviews3 followers
September 20, 2007
At this point I've gotten fairly familiar with Kurt Vonnegut's tone and flavor. The sense of universalism and equality consistently sound as often as his humor and irony rings.

This books reads as a perversion of all four themes.

To me.

Usually Vonnegut's works seem to read with some underlying sense that no matter how bizarre everything seems, no matter how depressing or how inspiring a situation seems, there's always a punchline, and that punchline brings you back to reality, forcing the reader to realize that we're all human. We're all prone to make mistakes just as often as we succeeed. We're all prone to die just as sure as we're prone to live. We're all prone for 15 minutes of fame surrounded by an average of 76.4 years of mundaneness.

But that doesn't ring the same for Slapstick. The introduction gives you an immediate idea of why Vonnegut steps out of his comfort zone on this one.
If the introduction reads true, and there's no guarantee that reality and honesty aren't being blurred in any of Vonnegut's novels, then he wrote this following the death of his sister. His sister, coincidentally, died days after her husband was killed in a freak accident. As if this pit of depression didn't dip far enough down, the couple left a cadre of children that Vonnegut would go on to adopt.

So this is understandingly, sympathetically a departure from the Vonnegut norm. The main character is a freak that finds himself surrounded by similarly freakish people. Smartly, the freaks in this novel are those people that perhaps seem the most normal and successful. The main character is a grotesque monster who is a successful pediatrician (though he graduated at the bottom of his Ivy League class), a former Senator, and currently the reluctant President of the United States. He had written the best selling novel about child care with his best friend and twin sister. He has revolutionized mankind's interpretation of family. He is one of the few, healthy survivors left on the Island of Death (Manhattan). He has just sold the Louisiana Purchase to the King of Michigan for a dollar. And he regularly gets an erection.

Ok. Fair enough. The novel does take place in a post-apocalyptic future where most humans have been killed by a mysterious plague, Manhattan is a haven of corpses, slaves, and candlesticks, and gravity fluctuates with the weather. The usual science-fiction elements are still in place.

However, I do not put this side by side with the normal Vonnegut works, and I cannot. There is not a happy ending. However, in hindsight, I don't believe I've read a happy ending in any of his works. I suppose it's safer to say that there's more of an impending doom with little to no hope of salvation in Slapstick. But, to be fair to the reader, Vonnegut delicately expressed this very early in the book when he compared salvation to a Turkey farm one can communicate with via a lunch box.

Read it if you're curious. Read it if you're a Vonnegut fan. Go take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut if you're neither. Or take a flying fuck at the moooooooooon!

I love and miss you, Kurt Vonnegut.
Profile Image for Tim.
477 reviews664 followers
May 22, 2019
I never put Kurt Vonnegut on my list of favorite authors… and shame on me for that as I’ve at the very least liked everything I’ve read by the man. One of the things I always love about his work is that he was quite possibly the most hopeful cynic in existence. Pessimism is borderline overwhelming in his work, but it always seemed like deep down he still liked people and hoped we would do better, even while being positive that we were doomed by our own failures.

Well, not so here. This book is Slapstick, and like the slapstick comedies of old, there is only failure here. Some people may be good, and some may improve along the way, but there is no hope here. This is easily the bleakest novel I’ve read by Vonnegut

The plot follows Dr Wilbur Daffodil-II Swain, current (and last) president of the United States of America, King of Manhattan and owner of 1,000+ candlesticks, as he documents his life story and how the world declined. It’s a tale of genius twins, mad schemes, name changes, orgies, revenge, drugs, dystopia and utopia. It’s a tale where everything can go right, even while everything goes to hell. It’s about life, the afterlife and about how to cope with both. It doesn’t make any sense in description, and yet it makes perfect sense while reading.

In other words, it’s a slapstick comedy in literary form. The bleakest slapstick you will ever read, and while it does have Vonnegut’s touches of humanity, this is very clearly a novel where he’s working out his own demons. What was he working out? I feel I can’t explain it, but he will. Literally he opens the book telling you why he wrote it… and it all makes sense, and makes it even more depressing.

This one is unfocused and all over the place (even by Vonnegut standards) and overall it feels like a bit of a mess. It is easily my least favorite of his novels, yet I’m still giving a solid 3 stars. Even at his worst, Vonnegut is able to speak to me in a way that few authors… hell, few humans in general, have ever been able to speak to me.

I’d like to close with just a general note. Vonnegut was not an author to be read for beautiful prose. He liked quick simple sentences, that said only as much as they needed to. Despite that, here he finds a moment or two to bring a touch of awe out of that simple prose. “Standing among all those tiny, wavering lights, I felt as though I were God, up to my knees in the Milky Way.”
Profile Image for John Hatley.
1,215 reviews205 followers
June 7, 2021
It would probably take Kurt Vonnegut Jr. himself to explain all of the imagery in this amazing book. I shook with laughter many times while reading it. I consider it a necessary addition to my collection of titles by this ingenious author!
Profile Image for Brett C.
806 reviews180 followers
May 2, 2021
Kurt Vonnegut is one of my favorite authors. His writing style is clear and concise yet delivers a punch that will leave you feeling it long after you've finished reading.

This one however fails to deliver. I was disinterested after a few of its short chapters. I picked up on the dark humor from the beginning but it quickly became boring. Overall I didn't enjoy the story and feel his earlier works are the strongest. I would describe it as silly and as the title says, "slapstick". I found the plot boring and the characters ridiculous.

I hate to be cliche but 'Mother Night', "Slaughterhouse-Five', and 'Breakfast of Champions' are superb. 'Player Piano' and 'God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater' are other great works by Kurt Vonnegut. These works highlight the black humor yet have emotional connectivity that anyone can relate to one way or another.

I recommend reading his earlier works because they have so much more meaning and depth. Thanks!
259 reviews23 followers
November 22, 2016
The problem I have with most Vonnegut books is that they feel like they've been churned out of a random plot generator machine. I imagine Vonnegut throwing a bunch of scraps in a hat and then challenging himself to string the items together into some sort of book which will then fly off the shelves because he's VONNEGUT, for chrissakes. Sometimes the ideas hang together in interesting and fun ways. Other times they just flop around uselessly, sort of cute but really kind of gross, like a beagle without any legs. The former would be Cat's Cradle. The latter would be Slapstick.

The repetition of hi-ho, which I suppose Vonnegut's idea of being cutesy, drove me crazy by the end of the book. I've seen this sort of writerly tic in some of his other books, and I've never understood why he did it. I get the feeling that he was just looking for filler in a book that was already chock full of nothing anyway.

It was a quick read and vaguely entertaining, but definitely not a book I'd recommend to a friend.
Profile Image for Imogen.
Author 6 books1,384 followers
May 12, 2008
And with that, I learned once again that I was an asshole. I read 'Cat's Cradle' when I was in high school and taking a lot of ecstasy, so I hated everything except the Chemical Brothers. Since I hated Cat's Cradle then, I've assumed that I didn't like Mr Vonnegut for the last, what, dozen years? I only picked this one up 'cause I never see old editions of it and Josh said it's his favorite.

That all sucks. I mean, I don't think he's perfect- I'd remembered his kind of smug, eccentric uncle persona being at the fore kind of like Tom Robbins tends to do. (Which, by the way, is a big part of why I find Tom Robbins so unreadable- I get it, you're smart, you're charming, you're just like every other straight boy who thinks he's hot shit. Next.) But it wasn't so out front! In fact, this was just a bizarre story about genius twins that Aimee Bender would've told differently, but which she could have told.

I also feel like- I don't want to give away anything, but there are some bizarre structural things that happen. Mostly it's nice. Sometimes the way he'll gloss over a few decades is jarring for me. The bit where the main story ends and the postscript starts is such a funny, fuck-you plot decision. Love it.

So... yeah. So now I'm gonna read more of this guy. Kerry, you were right about this guy the whole time.
Profile Image for Danger.
Author 33 books656 followers
October 8, 2017
2ND READ-THROUGH: I enjoyed this immensely, probably even more than the first time I read it (probably back in 2002). It’s a little more plot-driven than most of Vonnegut’s works, but it still explores the same basic concepts you’ll find in most of his oeuvre - in fact - diving deeper and more direct into one concept in particular that doesn’t *quite* find its way all of his novels: love. Specifically, familial love, and the meaning and purpose of family. Utilizing copious dystopian imagery and weaving chaotically (but still coherently) between two narratives, there is not a dull moment in this book, even if most of it boils down to a mediation of human connection. This might be one of my favorite Vonnegut books now.
Profile Image for Katya.
32 reviews5 followers
March 14, 2014
This was the very first Vonnegut book I’ve read, and while Slaughterhouse 5 is probably the most popular starter (as far as I’ve heard) I picked this volume at complete random because Barnes & Noble didn’t have Sirens of Titan which is what I originally wanted.

In any event, I think this was quite a stroke of luck: Slapstick, or Lonesome No More! is a semi-autobiographical work, and for someone like me, who prefers to begin everything with first principles, I think this makes for an especially great start. It gives you a sense of the author’s primary perspective before you venture off to study its other manifestations.

I preface my further thoughts with an expression of reservation - I am reluctant to judge a man by his book. Nonetheless, to whatever extent this is true of Vonnegut is a person, I felt that his worldview was most informed by loneliness… loneliness of a very special kind, a sort of intellectual isolation which, it seems, could only be broken by his sister. With his sister dead of cancer in her forties, the novel (and the autobiographical introduction) convey the sense that her death left Vonnegut very much alone.

This loneliness permeates every page and it translated instantly to me as the reader. I’m not quite sure how. It is somehow ingrained in the desperation of the prose, and the foolish hope and desire to well, not be lonely anymore. I was surrounded by family as I finished the novel in one sitting, but the isolation Slapstick left me with was overwhelming. Some believed this to be an overstatement, but I think the only other author who left me with such a heavy emotional burden was Dostoyevsky. I couldn’t shake it for a couple of days. It seems to me that Vonnegut is a master of meanings, conveyed with every word and phrase and period - not just broad structural and literary brushstrokes.

I am astounded by Vonnegut’s ability to take individually absurd events and ideas and combine them into something so powerful and tremendous. I don’t know whether to let his wit make me laugh or cry. I don’t know if I’m ready for the full extent of his ability to manipulate me.

In other words, I’m in love.

Hi ho.
Profile Image for Daniel.
181 reviews
May 16, 2007
Note that I am giving this book a low rating as compared to Vonnegut's other books, and is not necessarily reflective of my opinion of it as a fine work of fiction.

Really, when compared to the similarly-themed Cat's Cradle and The Sirens of Titan , this one just doesn't hold up as well. It boasts a classic Vonnegatian comedic end-of-the-world scenario, but Slapstick just doesn't quite live up to the standard set by his previous novels, and achieved again by later ones. I guess I can't really offer a better explanation.

I read somewhere that Vonnegut considered this one the weakest of his catalog. I'm inclined to agree with the old man.
Profile Image for Steven R. Kraaijeveld.
502 reviews1,766 followers
January 1, 2017
"I wish that people who are conventionally supposed to love each other would say to each other, when they fight, “Please—a little less love, and a little more common decency." (3)
Vonnegut famously, while self-assessing his work, gave Slapstick a D. Writers are notoriously poor at evaluating their own work, however, and Vonnegut's assessment of Slapstick is no exception. The Prologue is one of his most personal pieces of writing, as is the work itself – revolving, as it does, around the death of Kurt's sister and the close bond they always shared. Sure, the novel is not as well-thought-out as some of his others, but it is funny and sad and clever in good portions – and hey, after all, it is supposed to be Slapstick.
Profile Image for Erik Graff.
5,031 reviews1,169 followers
May 2, 2012
Although not his best work, Slapstick is still pretty good if you are able to enjoy the creative mix of pathos and humor characteristic of Vonnegut's style. As ever, the book is a meditation on the human condition as if seen by Kant's hypothetically impotent, but wholly good, god.
Profile Image for Lita.
213 reviews23 followers
January 20, 2022
A tragicomic dystopia that you cannot stop reading. It's probably a lot more relevant today than when it was written. Lonesome no more!
Profile Image for Olha.
108 reviews137 followers
April 29, 2020
Тому, кого це стосується:

Книжки Воннеґута дивні, незвичайні, прекрасні і чесні. Важко второпати, смішно і боляче від правдивого чорного гумору, сумно через події, але відірватися неможливо.

«Буфонада, або Більше не самотні» – добра і чутлива історія, хоч і, як же інакше, з еволюцією людства щось пішло не так. Курт Воннеґут грає за власними правилами, тому описати сюжет чи мораль книжки важко. Чи маємо ми бути добрішими один до одного? Чи маємо ми більше радіти простим речам і бути свого роду дурнями замість втискатися в соціальне життя і «правильну» поведінку? Чи людство таки зруйнує все, а природа візьме своє? У кожного після прочитання будуть свої питання. Одне з яких, не виключено, – «що за маячню я тільки-но прочитав/ла?».

Здається, що Воннеґут не дуже любив людей. Хоча скоріше не любив те, що люди роблять з планетою та самими собою. Пережив бомбардування Дрездена, бачив на власні очі, як за кілька днів люди можуть зруйнувати красиве місто, яке будувалося століттями (читайте «Бойня номер п’ять, або Хрестовий похід дітей»); пережив втрату близької душі і взяв у власну сім’ю вже з трьома дітьми ще трьох дітей (частково про це у «Буфонада, або Більше не самотні»). Тому якось і цікаво, чому у Воннеґута з людством завжди щось йде не так: він хоче відомстити чи навпаки хоче зробити добре і повернути людство до природи?

А взагалі мені подобається, як легко ллється фантазія Воннеґута в «Буфонаді» та й інших книжках. Ніби здається, що автор вже виклав всі карти на стіл, а насправді читаєш і все дивуєшся, яким чином так гарно сюди приплелося ще й це. Цей ефект до всього посилюється через те, що розповідь йде від першої особи, цього разу від Короля канделябрів. Воннеґут частенько любить на початку книжок розповідати, що саме привело його до майбутньої історії. Тому і виходить така тонка грань між реальним і особистим життям автора та його вигаданим майбутнім. Не встигаєш закрити рота від подій, які пережив автор, як вже доводиться пристосуватися до дивацтв його персонажів та сюжету, які пов’язані з реальністю, хоч і вигадані.

І наостанок: дивним чином історії Воннеґута не викликають страх, а скоріше сміх і спокій.

Хоча подеколи страшно.

Profile Image for Chris Dietzel.
Author 27 books406 followers
February 4, 2017
Another example of what makes Vonnegut so great. "Slapstick" combines sarcasm, humor, an absurd plot, and a critique of society and every part of it works. This is no where near his best book and yet it's still leaps and bounds over most other books.
Profile Image for Kyle.
379 reviews557 followers
January 11, 2018
Actual rating: 4.5

*This shall be one of my shortest reviews, because all that needs to be said of this book, can be derived from the next six words*

Endlessly comical
Hi Ho
Profile Image for Tracey.
425 reviews93 followers
February 6, 2021
Whenever I finish a book written by Kurt Vonnegut, I sit back and wonder 'What on earth did I just experience?'
Because with KVs books it's never as simple as just reading it and grasping what is being said, it's, for me anyway a feeling, a thought, a process to be enjoyed or endured even, then mostly, not always but mostly it sinks in that the man who wrote this is totally nuts and also a genius.

I would strongly suggest not reading this as a first time reader of Kurt Vonnegut though maybe try Slaughterhouse 5...

The dedication at the front of this book is to Arthur Stanley Jefferson and Norvell Hardy
Two of Slapsticks finest.

Profile Image for Адриана К..
194 reviews18 followers
April 28, 2021
Странен, странен Вонегът... ; ))

"Светът е пълен с хора, които са много изкусни в създаване на впечатление, че са по-умни, отколкото са в действителност. Те ни заплитат и омайват с факти, цитати, чужди езици и т.н., докато всъщност не знаят почти нищо за полезното в живота и как истински да се живее. Моята цел е да откривам тези хора и да защищавам обществото от тях, както и самите тях от собствената им личност."
Profile Image for Kevin.
122 reviews
December 23, 2020
Coincidence: choosing this book including a mysterious disease named ‘The Green Death’ which is actually microscopic Chinese people; invariably fatal when ingested by normal-sized humans. Hi ho!

It is also quite possibly my greatest ever secondhand book find - a first edition Vonnegut 🙌🏻 Not only that, it cost a mere 99 pence 🙌🏻.

As Vonneguts go, this was by no means his finest but there is enough there for an enjoyable read and lasting message: be kind.

It is in fact the prologue to the book, where the real steel lies. Not only is it a heartfelt and honest account of the passing of his sister (and how he and his wife adopt her three sons) but it also the key to the way the book should be interpreted: ‘It is what life ‘feels’ like to me.’

It is about an old man named Dr. Wilbur Daffodil-11 Swain, ‘The king of the Candlesticks’ who became president of the United States and is now writing his autobiography in the the Empire State Building amidst an apocalypse/global pandemic. Hi Ho. He is one half of a freakish neandethaloid set of dizygotic twins, hideously ugly yet physically extreme and of superior health, complete with immense intelligence (but only when he and his equally grotesque sister press their heads together and, um, kind of, touch each other up.) Hi Ho.

There are some interesting and hilarious ideas included: giving a nation’s population new randomly generated middle names in order to establish huge families of people, thus creating more relatives to increase community and support across the country; gravity being tampered with until it henceforth fluctuates - giving all males left alive, erections on the days that it is light; a race working at shrinking themselves as a means to survive more efficiently (needing less food, needing less oxygen so as to be able to travel farther distances in space). All from 1976, what a man.

I wouldn’t make this your first Vonnegut since I don’t think it showcases his full genius, but if you are a seasoned Vonnegut reader, Slapstick has more than enough to spark those feelings of awe and enjoyment we fans get from his absurd but profound work. Hi ho.
Profile Image for Vaclav.
61 reviews5 followers
January 12, 2022
In Slapstick, published towards the end of the Cold War, Kurt Vonnegut adopts Confucianism in the opposition to the state of war. Condemning the ultra-individualism begotten by the Founding Fathers, Vonnegut bemoans the ineptitude of the state and predicts the People's Republic of China's assent on the global stage.
Profile Image for Joni.
705 reviews36 followers
November 21, 2019
Un libro flojo a lo que es la obra de Vonnegut. Sus ideas humanitarias siempre claras, pero es el humor el que falla, encima abordado con insistencia fútil resultando en un libro aburrido y pesado. Se pasa de absurdo.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,900 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.