Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bargain Ebook: Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut

Bluebeard (Kurt Vonnegut series)

Bluebeard (Kurt Vonnegut series) by Kurt Vonnegut has just been released in a $3.99 ebook version.

Book description from the publisher:

BLUEBEARD (1987) is Vonnegut's late-career meditation on art, artists, surrealism and disaster. Rabo Karabekian, a modestly successful surrealist painter, is seen in late life struggling, as do all of Vonnegut's principals, with unresolved human pain and the consequences of brutality. Loosely based on the legend of Bluebeard (best realized in Bela Bartok's one-act opera), the novel follows Karabekian through the last events in a life embedded in women, painting, artistic ambition, artistic fraudulence and unknown consequence. Vonnegut's intention here is not really satirical (although the contemporary art world would be easy enough to so deconstruct) nor is it documentary (although Karabekian carries elements of Jackson Pollock or Mark Rothko). Instead, Vonnegut is using art here for the same purpose that he used science fiction clich├ęs in SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE, as a filter through which can be illumined the savagery, cruelty and essential comic misdirection of human existence. Familiar Vonnegut characters and archetypes drift through the background while Karabekian, as betrayed as he was betrayer, sinks through a bottomless haze of recollection. Like all of Vonnegut's late works it is both science fiction and cruel contemporary realism which uses its science fiction as a metaphor for human damage and failure of perception. As Vonnegut's protagonists can never quite clarify whether they are victims or barbarians, Vonnegut can never be quite sure if he is writing science fiction or a mockery of science fiction. The purposes fuse.

Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007) is perhaps the most beloved American writer of the 20th century. His audience has built steadily since his first pieces in the 1950's. Vonnegut’s 1968 novel, SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE has become a canonic war novel - with Joseph Heller's CATCH-22 the truest and darkest of all to have come from World War II. Vonnegut began as a science fiction writer and his early novels PLAYER PIANO and THE SIRENS OF TITAN were so categorized even as they appealed to a young audience far beyond science fiction readers. In the 1960's he became the writer most identified with the Baby Boomer generation. Like the novels of Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut’s large body of work is now understood as unified. There is a consistency to his satirical insight, humor and anger which makes his work synergistic. The more of Kurt Vonnegut’s work you read, the more the work resonates and the more you wish to read. Vonnegut’s reputation - like Twain’s - will grow steadily through the decades to come as his work grows in relevance, truthfulness and searing insight.

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