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The Eden Express
 
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Mark Vonnegut
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The Eden Express

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3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  2,103 ratings  ·  162 reviews
The Eden Express describes from the inside Mark Vonnegut's experience in the late '60s and early '70s - a recent college grad; in love; living communally on a farm, with a famous and doting father, cherished dog, and prized jalopy - and then the nervous breakdowns in all their slow-motion intimacy, the taste of mortality and opportunity for humor they provided, and the gri ...more
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Published October 1st 2002 by Seven Stories Press (first published 1975)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Ben
The Eden Express was written by Kurt Vonnegut's son Mark, and is a memoir of his struggles with schizophrenia, or his struggles with, what he once called, "apocalypse, shit storms, and eternal truths."

The first 70 pages of this 214 page book were pretty slow, and barely interesting. They mainly describe Mark's post graduate life, his relationship with his girlfriend, his deep involvement with the hippie community, and his creating a commune in British Columbia. The writing during this first thir
...more
Laala Alghata
“I figured I had taken patience about as far as it could go and it didn’t seem to be working. Nothing good seemed to come out of it. It seemed the more patient I was, the more I had to be patient with.” — Mark Vonnegut, The Eden Express

I find that it’s hard to review books when you love them completely and want to buy copies for everyone you know. I end up just wanting to say read it read it read it — which probably isn’t very useful in a review.

Mark Vonnegut is Kurt Vonnegut’s son, but as that
...more
Danielle
This book was really hard for me to read and rate.
I say it was hard for me to read because I have had two people close to me go nuts.
All his ramblings reminded me so much of my friend's breakdown that I had to skip around because I couldn't take it.
It really brought back a lot of feelings I went through while trying to help my friend and family member.
It is not a fun or pleasant thing to go through for anyone, and if you read this and have no experience with a schizo, you may understand just a l
...more
Rickyjez
I highly recommend reading Mark Vonnegut's two books in the order they were written, which I did not do--although I'll probably read the second one (Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So) a second time now. Vonnegut says that the worst thing someone like him (who is prone to severe bipolar disorder) can do is probably to become a writer. In other words if he wants to stay healthy the best thing for him to do is to keep his job as a pediatrician and avoid becoming a reclusive alco ...more
Travis
May 09, 2008 Travis rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone.
Recommended to Travis by: k. vonnegut in "fates worse than death"
i would add this to the list of books i should have read years ago. While i have not lived the experiences of the writer, much of the material-- theory, visions and perspectives-- parallels much of what has been resident in my head since leaving college. I would recommend this tale to anyone who has ever felt driven to insanity by the world we face daily, or to those who have wanted to change or save the world, or to people who do not want or cannot blend with the herd or who have seen the apoca ...more
Eliza
This book brought me on an existential trip. I actually had to stop reading it for a couple of days because I was living in the book instead of real life. Perfect for someone making a big life change, especially if that includes travelling or moving somewhere else. Intriguing look at schizophrenia and mental illness and what role that played in the age of rampant psychadellic drug usage
Matt
I was drawn to this one because I'm a big Kurt Vonnegut fan; in his memoirs KV mentions his son Mark's struggle with, and subsequent recovery from, schizophrenia in the early '70's. This tale is as tough as it is interesting, because MV does a great job of setting the scene for his breakdown: he left college and joined the hippie movement, hoping to start a commune in Canada, only to see his idealism come to an end in a mental hospital. As he relates his thoughts and actions during the times tha ...more
Joanne
For reasons so recent and personal, the 1975 book written by Dr. Mark Vonnegut (son of the famed writer, Kurt Vonnegut) “The Eden Express: A Memoir of Insanity” was difficult to read. Reading this memoir is to accompany Mark Vonnegut in reliving a ‘psychotic episode’ which began after he left college and attempted to set up a self-sufficient farm in British Colombia. Events unfold in unfailingly honest detail, whether Vonnegut is recounting his relationships with family, interaction with others ...more
Susan
3 1/2 stars. This memoir of one man's descent into schizophrenia, as it was diagnosed then, was first published in 1975, and republished in 2002. I had never read it, and am getting a copy of Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So: A Memoir Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So A Memoir by Mark Vonnegut by the same author, so wanted to read the original before I read the followup.

Mark was an idealistic, just-out-of-college hippie who thought starting a commune in British Columbia was a great idea. He was just trying to do the best he knew ho
...more
Mariam
I'd describe this book as a "heavy" read. Heavy mostly due to the emotional roller coaster that comes in, the Eden Express might be able to make you relate to or at least truly empathize with what people who have schizophrenia go through....

Sometimes it was hard for me to read and relate to the hippiedom that he was describing, so the reading was a bit slow at the start, but reading further in the book, i wished i had cherished that part more because it got stressful fast (but difficult to put
...more
Kristin
Holy moley. Could this man write like his father - but in an entirely opposite style. If you are from BC, you will especially like this, as it takes place on a commune near Powell River, and in Vancouver. I wrote "could" because his recent memoir is an utter disappointment. This is a speeding mind at its most intense. If you've ever felt overwhelmed, read this and know that you are far from overwhelmed.
Tom Schulte
One of my favorite biographies; an era, a family, a unique life!


This really puts a different spin on Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. and makes him one of the many artists where I separate my love for the art from any appreciation for the man!
Renata
Never before has a book so successfully made me feel like I was loosing my grip on reality. In doing such however, the author has made several sections of the book somewhat incomprehensible.
John
fascinating look beyond the walls of sanity, a self-portrait from a gifted writer
Adriana Paramo
At various points it felt as though it was me who was losing it.
Jessica Rose
Kurt Vonnegut is one of my favorite authors of all time. Before goodreads I didn't even know his son had written anything, but after reading the reviews on this book I decided to pick it up.

The first half of this book Is just Mark Vonnegut describing life after college on his hippie commune with his hippie college friends and although the writing wasn't terrible, I had to push myself through because it was a pretty boring. I found myself thinking, "come on, just go crazy already!!"

And then it h
...more
Zack
An extremely well-written book by Kurt Vonnegut's son about his own experience of mental illness. Although not much happens, objectively
speaking, in this novel, I never got bored. M. Vonnegut's writing style reminds me especially of John Fante's (which is unusual), enough so as to seem deliberate, but not imitative. This novel is similar enough to Behrmen's "Electroboy", like a prehistoric version, that if I was still in grad school, I'd've combined the two reviews in one paper. Vonnegut's acce
...more
Seth
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Beav
This book was an adventure into madness. Amazing, if its accurate of how good a memory mark has. He is the son of the author kurt vonnegut and thats how i got turned on to the book. A first person autobiography of about 2 years of his life when he suffered from schizophrenia and then somehow came out of it. It reminded be of the movie A Beautiful Mind alot, except Mark was an upper middle class Swarthmore grad hippy in the early 70's, went up to BC, started a commune, didn't do to many drugs, an ...more
Emily Dawn Shader
The Eden Express: A Memoir of Insanity is the story of a man named Mark Vonnegut. Mark is the son of the famous author Kurt Vonnegut (author of Salughterhouse-Five). This memoir tells the tail of Mark's journey through insanity. He was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. Through this journey he has several mental breakdowns and has to be institutionalized, but he overcomes his disease and become a successful pediatrician after attending Harvard Medical School.
This story of Mark's life starts
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Nathan
Nov 11, 2012 Nathan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those suffering with mental illness
Written from the perspective of someone caught in the grip of schizophrenia, The Eden Express is, for the most part, very difficult to read. For one thing, it resonated with me because of my own bout with bipolar disorder. It was also difficult to read because of the disconnected nature of the narrative. The author's point of view, for the first 3/4 of the book is tainted by his chemical imbalance. The part of the book concerning his treatment is far more palatable and informative. Vonnegut, in ...more
Antoinette
It seems sometimes that there is a direct relationship between how hard I try to be a good person and how sad I get about the world. Mark Vonnegut became insane chasing a lot of the feelings I sometimes get caught up in. During the 1960s he is very involved in being a "good hippie" (his words, not mine). His quest to be unselfish and rational leads him down a frightening path of insanity, and eventually recovery. This is an amazing memoir, and I'm very glad I read it. I related so much to his fe ...more
Noelle (Pandora) Kukenas
Read this back in the '70s because the author is the son of one of my favorite authors, only to discover what a brilliant writer he is in his own right. While reading about his journey with schizophrenia, it felt like I haw crawled into his mind and was experiencing everything he was experiencing. This a book that stays with you years after you had read it.
Jeff
Kurt Vonnegut's son graduates from college circa '69 and goes off with friends to a farm in B.C. to live the hippie-new-society-commune dream. But, oops, along the way he goes nuts! That always throws a monkey wrench into the works.
This autobiographical work (sole book by Vonnegut Jr. as far as I know) provides a good glimpse into schizophrenia, but is perhaps equally valuable as a contemporary portrait of hippie life, culture & philosophy by a participant. He indicts hippie culture to some
...more
Nate Jordon
A beautiful, terrifying memoir about one man's descent into mania and insanity. As the only son of a father who was a paranoid schizophrenic, who died before I got a chance to know him and understand his condition, Vonnegut's book answered many questions I've had for a long, long time. What the disease does to the diseased, the consequences it has on friends and family, social and cultural implications...Vonnegut approaches all these themes and ideas while maintaining a cohesive narrative that i ...more
Philipp
Relatively interesting autobiography of Vonnegut's son developing schizophrenia, while being part of the 70s counter-culture - realistic (albeit tiring) rambling of all the things that went through his head, and interesting reactions of his surroundings (something like "mental illness is a myth perpetuated by the man to keep us down"). It does get boring in endless descriptions of those people around him.

Recommended for: those interested in what happens to people developing a mental illness
Katelyn
Apr 05, 2007 Katelyn rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: hippies, ex-hippies, and lovers of Kurt Vonnegut
Shelves: favorites
Far out, real life tale of Mark Vonnegut's initial bout with schizophrenia while living on a commune in British Columbia. He has a really hard time figuring out if he's discovered the meaning of life, has taken too many drugs, or is going insane. Reveals a bit about Mark's relationship with his father Kurt, too.

Basically, the reason you should read this book is because it's so bizarre and spell-binding. Reminiscent of the late 60s, early 70s. Amazingly well written first-person perspective.
Meagan Houle
In this gorgeous exploration of schizophrenia, Mark Vonnegut (yes, that's Kurt's son) allows us a glimpse into his psychotic breakdowns and eventual recovery. The narrative starts off easy to follow: Mark, inspired by hippie culture, moves to British Columbia and establishes "the farm" from the ground up. For awhile, he finds his own Eden there, enjoying the escape from urban life and the crippling demands of society. Unfortunately, even he must admit that he is starting to "go nuts". He ends up ...more
Brittany Kubes
Like most people, I read this book out of my love and affection for Kurt Vonnegut, the father of Mark Vonnegut. Obviously, Mark was riding on this connection for the interest base of this story, and it was likely the very reason this book was published. The memoir details the life of Mark Vonnegut: a hippie who took too many drugs and went insane. I am sensitive to mental illness, but I hated Mark by page 15. I could not get past his delusions of hippie grandeur (“…but the big problem was that a ...more
Sdrucciola
Non quello di Mattatoio n.5.
Non quello che è stato prigioniero a Dresda durante la Seconda guerra mondiale.
Non quello che ci ha lasciato quasi un anno fa, probabilmente per Trafalmadore.

Non Kurt, ma Mark, suo figlio.

Mark che ha mollato tutto (anche lui, non si esce dal filone) per fondare una comune nella British Columbia e a un certo punto è semplicemente impazzito.

Non nel modo carino in cui pensiamo che impazzirebbe un hippie, ma come tutti quelli in cui un bel giorno la schizofrenia si svegli

...more
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Mark Twain Vonnegut is an American pediatrician and memoirist. He is the son of the late writer Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. and his first wife, Jane Cox. He is also the brother of Edith and Nanette Vonnegut. He described himself in the preface to his 1975 book as "a hippie, son of a counterculture hero, B.A. in religion, (with a) genetic disposition to schizophrenia."
More about Mark Vonnegut...
Just Like Someone Without Mental Illness Only More So Armageddon in Retrospect All That Glitters: A Sliver of Stone Nonfiction Anthology Health Humanities Reader

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“Knowing that you're crazy doesn't make the crazy things stop happening.” 90 likes
“It's regrets that make painful memories. When I was crazy I did everything just right.” 50 likes
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