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Kurt Vonnegut : Novels & Stories, 1963-1973

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This volume, the first in what will be a multi-volume edition of Kurt Vonnegut’s enduring fiction, captures the satirist/moralist at the pyrotechnic heights of his powers. It opens with Cat’s Cradle (1963), in which a would-be historian of the bombing of Hiroshima finds himself a privileged witness to the icy end of the world. God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (1965) chronicles the alcoholic unraveling and spiritual rebirth of a good-hearted dreamer tormented by the question “What are people for?” Slaughterhouse-Five (1969) – the book that earned Vonnegut worldwide fame, and one of the great anti-war novels in literature – is the jump-cutting saga of Billy Pilgrim, who, having come unstuck in time, is doomed to relive continually both the destruction of Dresden and his abduction by space aliens. And in a text enhanced by the author’s spirited line drawings, Breakfast of Champions (1973) describes the fateful meeting of a luckless science-fiction writer and an unhinged Pontiac dealer who disastrously believes that everyone but himself is a robot. Rounding out the volume are three short stories – including the classic fantasy “Welcome to the Monkey House” – and moving autobiographical accounts of Vonnegut’s experience of war that shed light on events imaginatively treated in Slaughterhouse-Five. Notes. 851p.

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