Contains 4 novels and three short stories of Kurt Vonnegut including his two most famous works, Cats Cradle and Slaughterhouse 5. An appendix gives a few further pieces - an address to the American Physical Society about Cats Cradle, some autobiographical writings about Vonnegut's wartime experience (letters from 1944 and a piece from 1945-47 which show his writing style already largely formed) and a couple of prefaces to later editions of Slaughterhouse 5.
Altogether it's an impressive body of work. Vonnegut is not a realist novelist, but a satirist and fabulist, compared on the dust jacket to Mark Twain. He doesn't really know what to think (as he makes clear in the appendix pieces), but he is very powerfully persuasive in these novels about weapons of mass destruction (ice-nine in Cats Cradle, the nuclear bomb, the fire-bombing of Dresden) - they're bad; and on the inequality of income distribution (God Bless You Mr Rosewater) - this too is bad. Beyond that, Vonnegut says it's not clear what you should think on some of the issues - after all, World War II was worth fighting, as he also points out.
However, the point of reading this is not to learn the meaning of life from a fully argued philosophical treatise. Rather to have these very powerful reminders of how things are. The novels have a very powerful cumulative effect.
- Hardcover: 851 pages
- Publisher: Library of America (16 October 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1598530984
- ISBN-13: 978-1598530988
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 3.5 x 20.7 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 739 g
- Customer Reviews:
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 194,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)