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Book Talk 12: Breakfast of Champions

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The novel: Breakfast of Champions-Kurt Vonnegut
The song: Heatmiser-Plain Clothes Man

Kurt Vonnegut is brilliant. I think most people who's read any of his books already know that, and this novel, one of his earlier masterpieces (and a 50th birthday present to himself), is of course not an exception. The two main characters--Kilgore Trout (a character fans should recognize), the poor, lost, prolific science fiction writer renowned for his bizarre stories published in porno magazines, and Dwayne Hoover, a successful man with a seemingly perfect life and many, many businesses and a wonderful heart to spare--he goes insane--lead opposite lives, and when they do meet at a city's arts festival, well, it's the journey that's the most fascinating, for the both of them, but that's when Dwayne Hoover goes insane.

Everything in the novel is written in such simple bits, and the repetition of several themes and breaking the most complex human emotions and actions into simple words and illustrations that make things seem a bit absurd--make a wonderful, satisfying, and rather strange read. Vonnegut uses that thing with a fancy name--where the writer himself is inside the story, and makes every character just as important as the next, and adds seemingly random facts to everything...and anyway, writes in a style completely opposite of what I'm doing and creating a great novel. And so on.

Heatmiser, meanwhile, is Elliott Smith's much forgotten old band. Which doesn't make a lot of sense, considering that Elliott Smith, you know, is Elliott Smith, and that Heatmiser was good and often name dropped in Jimmy Eat World songs. So here they are, with a song that seems to me sums up some parts of both characters, and they're a bit more upbeat than Elliott Smith's solo work, but there's that classic Elliott Smith tone to it, nevertheless. And it's rather wonderful



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Listen, love, buy.
MP3s don't last forever.

songs + words

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