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Slapstick, or Lonesome No More!

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  34,935 ratings  ·  1,395 reviews
Slapstick presents an apocalyptic vision as seen through the eyes of the current King of Manhattan (and last President of the United States), a wickedly irreverent look at the all-too-possible results of today’s follies. But even the end of life-as-we-know-it is transformed by Kurt Vonnegut’s pen into hilarious farce—a final slapstick that may be the Almighty’s joke on ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 11th 1999 by Dial Press (first published 1976)
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Emily I don't think there is an overt connection. They're mentioned in the forward by Vonnegut. But I think it was more of a connection to the spirit of sla…moreI don't think there is an overt connection. They're mentioned in the forward by Vonnegut. But I think it was more of a connection to the spirit of slapstick comedy instead of Laurel & Hardy themselves. Maybe a point of inspiration. (less)

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J.L.   Sutton
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
“If you can do no good, at least do no harm.”

“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'.”

“What does seem important? Bargaining in good faith with destiny.”

Kurt Vonnegut's Slapstick, or Lonesome No More! is a sort of autobiography within an autobiography.
Mar 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
“And how did we
then face the odds,
of man's rude slapstick,
yes, and God's?
Quite at home and unafraid,
in a game
our dreams remade.”

― Kurt Vonnegut, Slapstick, or Lonesome No More!


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
Jul 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Vit Babenco
Apr 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Tom Quinn
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Slapstick begins with a prologue that I won't hesitate to rank among Vonnegut's absolute best writing. It is honest, it is tenderhearted, it is sad and funny and bittersweet. It also provides an explicit key to deciphering the novel that follows, which is unusual. In another author's hands such a trick might seem overeager and embarassing. But Vonnegut does as he always does and makes the silly and embarrassing work gracefully towards his purposes—presenting his thoughts so concisely and so chee ...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.
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
May 21, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1970s, humor, reviewed
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
Susan Budd
Any other Sunflower-13’s out there?
May 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Brett C
Feb 16, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dark-humor
Kurt Vonnegut is one of my favorite authors. His writing style is clear and concise yet delivers a punch that will leave you feeling it long after you've finished reading.

This one however fails to deliver. I was disinterested after a few of its short chapters. I picked up on the dark humor from the beginning but it quickly became boring. Overall I didn't enjoy the story and feel his earlier works are the strongest. I would describe it as silly and as the title says, "slapstick". I found the plot
May 14, 2007 rated it it was ok
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 rea
Mar 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Erik Graff
Jan 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Vonnegut fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
Although not his best work, Slapstick is still pretty good if you are able to enjoy the creative mix of pathos and humor characteristic of Vonnegut's style. As ever, the book is a meditation on the human condition as if seen by Kant's hypothetically impotent, but wholly good, god.
Katya Bogdanov
Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 especially g
Chris Dietzel
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
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.
Jun 25, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
"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
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Coincidence: choosing this book including a mysterious disease named ‘The Green Death’ which is actually microscopic Chinese people; invariably fatal when ingested by normal-sized humans. Hi ho!

It is also quite possibly my greatest ever secondhand book find - a first edition Vonnegut 🙌🏻 Not only that, it cost a mere 99 pence 🙌🏻.

As Vonneguts go, this was by no means his finest but there is enough there for an enjoyable read and lasting message: be kind.

It is in fact the prologue to the book, wher
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
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*

Endlessly comical
Hi Ho
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
Oct 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
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 with th
Nov 25, 2016 rated it liked it
"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.
Joel Lacivita
May 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
James Hold
Nov 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
After 40 pages of 'hi ho' I said 'ho hum' and gave up. That would be 1/4 way thru. If nothing happens in the first quarter of a story I figure it isn't going to--that or I'm not sitting around waiting for it. Re-reading Vonnegut is making me wonder what I saw in him to begin with. I still think Sirens of Titan and Slaughterhouse Five are great but I no longer grok the rest of it. It must be me cos he's got too many fans for it to be otherwise. Oh and I don't see the Laurel & Hardy connection. Ma ...more
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
A long way from his best but still rather magical. A trip along the absurd which shows Vonnegut up to his knees in stars!
Sep 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 23, 2009 rated it liked it
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,
It's like staring at a Kandinsky (the later ones) and wondering why it makes absolute sense and kinda mind blowing although it all seems to be splotches of colors and random geometric patterns on a canvas.
I kept tripping between smugness and earnestness when it comes to Vonnegut's brand of realism.
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Goodreads Librari...: Corrections 1 8 Dec 24, 2018 01:56PM  
MLR Reading Group: Finished book discussion ** spoilers ** 2 5 Sep 06, 2018 12:35PM  
MLR Reading Group: End of Chapter 20 **SPOILERS** 2 7 Aug 27, 2018 05:44AM  
MLR Reading Group: Prologue -- Hi ho! 3 7 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  

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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

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