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Slapstick or Lonesome No More

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  27,601 Ratings  ·  929 Reviews
Manhattan has become the Island of Death. The former President of the United States stands barefoot in a purple toga around a cooking fire in the lobby of the Empire State Building. He is Dr Wilbur Daffodil-II Swain and Slapstick or Lonesome No More! is his story - one of monstrous twins, orgies, revenge, golf, utopian schemes, and very little tooth brushing. In this post- ...more
Paperback, 170 pages
Published October 17th 1991 by Vintage Classics (first published 1976)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lyn
May 21, 2015 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 i
...more
Imogen
May 11, 2008 Imogen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 pers
...more
Paul
Sep 19, 2007 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vonnegut
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
...more
Dan
May 16, 2007 Dan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Barry Pierce
Dec 29, 2013 Barry Pierce rated it really liked it
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.
Helene
May 10, 2016 Helene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
STRANGEST OF THE STRANGE

This is the first book by Vonnegut that I have read . And honestly it was odd. (But in a good way). One can be odd ,different even eccentric without stereotyping them as weird

Back to the book . I felt his book was both happy even humorous at times . As I read more I felt sadness , deep sorrow . Vonnegut highly imaginative and intelligent book. And I found it written in the most uncomplicated , simple manner . It read much like having a conversation with a very creative
...more
Katya Bogdanov
Mar 13, 2014 Katya Bogdanov rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 especial
...more
Wanda
I was prompted to re-read this Vonnegut novel by a non-fiction work that I read recently. The Juggler’s Children was about the use of genetic research in relation to genealogical research and about the search of the modern North American to make some connections with people around them. People are lonely and looking for distant relatives assuages the loneliness somewhat.

I was put in mind of this novel and its alternate title, Lonesome No More! I’m not sure why that slogan and the new middle-name
...more
R.
Feb 07, 2009 R. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
I was amazed with Vonnegut's tour through an apocalyptic world; his mixture of Gothic, science-fiction and comedy.

That said, I stepped toward this reading tentatively, with visions of the horrible Jerry Lewis movie from the 1980s in my head. It was a rental: "Hey! This movie's got Jerry Lewis!" - a man whose cinematic ouevre is unparalleled if you give it a chance, you're 10 and the videocassette market is pretty slim pickings (it was, in the 80s).

So I feared this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
...more
Elizabeth
Sep 03, 2011 Elizabeth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club-books
If I could give no stars, I would. I hated every sentence of this book.
Joel Lacivita
May 28, 2016 Joel Lacivita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is definitely a farcical style Vonnegut novel that takes the reader into a satirical and dark world that Vonnegut fans love. The time is far into the future when the government of the United States barely exists and the protagonist of the novel, the president of the United States, explains how things got this way.

The book was written 40 years ago, and its is amazing how Kurt made predictions that have come into being. There are also many comical observations about politics that still hold
...more
David
Apr 23, 2011 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourite-books
Slapstick, or Lonesome No More, is a self indulgent book by Kurt Vonnegut in his later years. He writes the book as if he's speaking to you, as a friend, in conversation. This style is great for the many Vonnegut fans, it conveys immediacy, friendliness and humour. For people who aren't fans of Vonneguts I wonder what they would make of his addressing his readers so intimately. He drops many of the contraints and conventions in story telling, but picks up other ways to carry the story. If aspiri ...more
Kate
Jun 17, 2010 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
My first Vonnegut book. For many years I felt like I should read something by KV as I have always heard great things about him and his writing. Ben suggested I start with this book, so I did. Slapstick was pitched as "hilarious", but I found it to be profoundly sad.

It took me back to Christmas morning in Singapore when I had a conversation with an aunt of two of our friends. She was Singaporean of Chinese ancestry but lived in San Diego, and was back visiting for the holidays. She said that she
...more
J.P.
Nov 14, 2007 J.P. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: literary/speculative fiction fans
This one was one of Vonnegut's best. He was creating worlds here, folks. Most specifically, a world---ours.

The narrator happens to be the President of the United States---the LAST one, as a matter of fact.

Wilbur Daffodil-11 Swain and his sister, Eliza, have got to be two of the most sympathetic characters KV ever created. Their voices just envelope you and draw you in.

Some of Vonnegut's most ingenious devices & characters are in here---Green Death, the Hooligan (a thingie to communicate wit
...more
Christie
Vonnegut is always a bit strange, isn't he? I picked this book up at a hostel swap library and I read it in an afternoon. It has a bit of the sci-fi quality that he apparently says he doesn't write anymore, but nevertheless, it's there. The book was written in the late 70s, but some of the cultural predictions are, if not accurate, hilarious to read today.

For example, the Chinese genetically develop themselves to be even tinier so that they consume less food. They get down to 6cm in size! Also,
...more
FeReSHte
Jul 15, 2015 FeReSHte rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: america

یه کتاب دیگه از ونه گات و من متاسفانه هنووووز "سلاخ خانه شماره پنج" رو نخوندم
جالبیش به این بود که این کتاب انگار ترکیبی بود از داستان "گهواره ی گربه" و غرغرهای پیرمرد تو کتاب " مرد بی وطن" ، دو کتابی که قبل تر از ونه گات خوندم. یه داستان ونه گاتی تیپیکال

ویلبر شخصیت اصلی و راوی که حالا رییس جمهور امریکاییه که نابود شده در ملاقاتش با پادشاه میشیگان که در حال مطالعه ی تاریخ بوده این طور میگه
بله اگر اعقاب ما زمانه ی ما را به دقت مطالعه نکنند یکباره خواهند دید که دوباره سوخت های سنگواره ای کره زمین ر
...more
Susan Budd
Any other Sunflower-13's out there?
Chris
Oct 17, 2014 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Here's a very personal example of how the "grotesque situational poetry" of Vonnegut's life spun off a weird, post-apocalyptic, loosely structured novel. He begins the book with a 21-page factual Prologue containing a wistful accounting of his sister's tragedy which sets up the novel itself. For me, this 21-page Prologue was the best and most moving part of the book—by far. The novel itself uses the frequent Vonnegut technique of snippets of text, presenting and associating events with each othe ...more
Ethan
Jun 25, 2009 Ethan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 scaps 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 w ...more
Alex
Sep 09, 2011 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the things that I've always loved about Vonnegut is how simply he expresses complex ideas. Slapstick is no different. Here, he expands on the ideas of artificial families first imagined in his concepts of karass and duprass... the Swain children may be duprass personified, with their collective brilliance and their intimacy far beyond what is appropriate for siblings. Their isolation, however, is what leads Wilbur to create what could be the anti-karass... families built at random, not br ...more
Adriana
No es el mejor Vonnegut pero es Vonnegut.

Ya que todas las reviews dicen esto mismo, agrego dos citas.

La definición de fascismo de Vonnegut, muy buena:
"-Lo dijeron otros y tú les creíste -dijo ella-. Eso es peor. Eres un fascista, Wilbur. Eso es lo que eres.
-Eso es absurdo.
-Los fascistas son gente inferior que se lo creen cuando alguien les dice que son superiores.
-Bueno, bueno...
-Y luego quieren que todos los demás se mueran".

Y esta discusión sobre historia:
"-Lo único que leo es historia -dijo
...more
Sarthak Pranit
Aug 18, 2016 Sarthak Pranit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, re-readers
Clearly my favourite of all of Vonnegut's books until now. I actually wondered why this book isn't as famous as Slaughterhouse Five or Breakfast of Champions. But then, not everyone thinks similarly.

This book is an 'imaginative fictional autobiography', possibly the only one in the world because writing one of these requires hazardous levels of daydreaming coupled with an unbreakable commitment to write. But then it's His Holi-Moliness Vonnegut we are talking about.

The book begins with an fair
...more
Mind the Book
Fem stjärnor till förordet! Hi ho. Läser det flera gånger - in easy circumstances i solen på East Sheen Common. För att det är så mänskligt. För att det är så sorgligt. För att det är fullt av miniromanstoff.

Vår käre författare berättar bl.a. att idén till Slapstick kom när han satt på ett plan och dagdrömde på väg till sin farbror Alex* Vonneguts begravning. Dennes liv sammanfattas på följande rader: "He was eighty-seven years old. He was childless. He was a graduate of Harvard. He was a retir
...more
Madara
Jan 08, 2016 Madara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pilnīgs Vonnegūtisma haoss ar mikroskopiskiem, ieelpojamiem ķīnietīšiem vēl turklāt.
Jim
Apr 25, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Slapstick or Lonesome No More! is a rather strange sort of book, about a United States in a future when gravity becomes wildly variable, where millions have died of the Albanian Flu or The Green Death, and in which the Chinese have miniaturized themselves to microbe size and developed a means of space travel that did not involve space ships. The author, Kurt Vonnegut, sees it as the closest he would ever come to writing an autobiography.

The author's alter ego is one Dr. Wilbur Daffodil-11 Swain
...more
Joshum Harpy
Nov 14, 2010 Joshum Harpy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vonnegut at his best. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. At once apocalyptic and whimsical, this book juxtaposed the complete collapse of civilization and a decimated human population with a lovable and lighthearted hideous neanderthal of a main character whose demeanor is endearingly naive and accepting of the extreme circumstances by which he is surrounded. This character, which the prologue clearly establishes as Vonnegut's own image of himself, truly embodies the essence of why I love Ku ...more
Arjun Mishra
Dec 20, 2014 Arjun Mishra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
It was difficult for me to understand the black humor or comedic and acerbic wit of Vonnegut when I picked him up (school mandated) almost a decade ago. I have a much better grasp of it now. The stories and characters are bonkers and the writing is uproarious good. I am tempted to go for the entire Vonnegut oeuvre. There's no Bokonism in this one but still memorable.

And a Batavia, NY mention!!!
Liam Perrin
Not my favorite Vonnegut. I picked this up on sale based on an Amazon reader recommendation declaring it Vonnegut at the top of his form or some such. I can't disagree more. Vonnegut is always bizarre but it's usually an endearing sort of bizarre - this was more of a circus side show bizarre. About 3 quarters of the way through the book it felt like Vonnegut just gave up on the story and started working as quickly as he could to end it. The finish is abrupt and unsatisfying though it contains th ...more
Maya
Sep 17, 2016 Maya rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
My first Kurt Vonnegut novel.
While I understood that this book wasn't supposed to be taken seriously, I still found the plot ridiculous and pointless (the writing is in the form of an autobiography)

Dr. Wilbur Daffodil-11 Swain: Weird name, right? Read the book and you will find out why. He is the narrator of the story, and he recounts how he became president of the United States. As president, he plans on eradicating loneliness. Not hunger, or poverty, or taxes - loneliness. Again, I just didn't
...more
Aug Stone
Strange one, this. While I enjoyed it, I seemed to have to force myself to finish it as it didn't grip me enough to want to keep going. Those whilst I was reading, I thought it was ok. Quick read too. Most interesting was Vonnegut's prologue filled with autobiographical detail. But I must give the book credit for its profound points, often humorous too. The idea that if we act to our greatest capabilities we face an enormous responsibility as others will be appalled, perhaps mortified, to witnes ...more
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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 journali
...more
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