Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Slapstick” as Want to Read:
Slapstick
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Slapstick

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  33,320 ratings  ·  1,287 reviews
Perhaps the most autobiographical (and deliberately least disciplined) of Vonnegut's novels, Slapstick (1976) is in the form of a broken family odyssey and is surely a demonstration of its eponymous title. The story centers on brother and sister twins, children of Wilbur Swain, who are in sympathetic and (possibly) telepathic communication and who represent Vonnegut's rela ...more
Kindle Edition, 274 pages
Published 2011 by Rosetta Books LLC (first published 1976)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Slapstick, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Slapstick

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  33,320 ratings  ·  1,287 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Darwin8u
Mar 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
“And how did we
then face the odds,
of man's rude slapstick,
yes, and God's?
Quite at home and unafraid,
Thank-you,
in a game
our dreams remade.”

― Kurt Vonnegut, Slapstick, or Lonesome No More!

description

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, bu
...more
Lyn
Jul 20, 2011 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
Vit Babenco
Apr 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 p
...more
Paul
Aug 24, 2007 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
Barry Pierce
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.
Tim
May 21, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1970s, humor
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 Sl
...more
Susan Budd
Any other Sunflower-13’s out there?
Imogen
May 11, 2008 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
Danger
Mar 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Daniel
May 14, 2007 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
Katya Bogdanov
Dec 27, 2013 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
Chris Dietzel
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Ethan
Jun 25, 2009 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 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 ...more
Steven
"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
...more
Joel Lacivita
May 15, 2016 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
J.P.
Oct 24, 2007 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
Kyle
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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*

Absurd
Profound
Endlessly comical
Hi Ho
Tony
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A long way from his best but still rather magical. A trip along the absurd which shows Vonnegut up to his knees in stars!
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
Alex
Sep 09, 2011 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
David
Apr 23, 2011 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
R.
Feb 04, 2009 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
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
Donovan
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At times meandering and tangential, Slapstick is probably Vonnegut’s most bombastic work of satire, a hard slap in the face of the rich and famous, while always keeping it ridiculous, half-dark, and supremely clever.
britt_brooke
"Why don't you take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut? Why don't you take a flying fuck at the mooooooooooooon?"

I don't really know what to say about this book. It's totally absurd. Also smart, witty, and completely entertaining. Not my favorite KV, but a worthy read.
Mike
Jul 29, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jerry Lewis. Oh wait, too late.
Slapsucked.

Hi-ho.
Joshum Harpy
Nov 13, 2010 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
Jim
Apr 24, 2014 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
Kate
Jun 17, 2010 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
Sarthak Pranit
Aug 15, 2016 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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Corrections 1 8 Dec 24, 2018 01:56PM  
MLR Reading Group: Finished book discussion ** spoilers ** 2 3 Sep 06, 2018 12:35PM  
MLR Reading Group: End of Chapter 20 **SPOILERS** 2 6 Aug 27, 2018 05:44AM  
MLR Reading Group: Prologue -- Hi ho! 3 6 Aug 22, 2018 12:39PM  
2015 Reading Chal...: Slapstick by Kurt Vonnegut 1 28 Jun 11, 2015 08:42AM  
Dunedin Public Li...: Slapstick 1 3 Jun 15, 2014 07:12AM  
Does anyone else love this book? 5 62 Jan 23, 2014 10:17AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Lord of the Flies
  • Conversations with Kurt Vonnegut
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)
  • Venus on the Half-Shell
  • The Eden Express: A Memoir of Insanity
  • Still Life with Woodpecker
  • Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam, #1)
  • A Confederate General from Big Sur
  • Slippage: Previously Uncollected, Precariously Poised Stories
  • The Clothes Have No Emperor: A Chronicle of the American '80s
  • We Can Build You
  • Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle (Modern Critical Interpretations)
  • Songs of the Doomed: More Notes on the Death of the American Dream
  • Giraffes? Giraffes! (With 5 Giraffe Information Cards)
  • [citation Needed]: The Best of Wikipedia's Worst Writing
  • Letters from the Earth: Uncensored Writings
  • Quicker Than the Eye
  • Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit
See similar books…
25,791 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 journali
...more
“If you can do no good, at least do no harm.” 765 likes
“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'.” 640 likes
More quotes…