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Slapstick

Kurt Vonnegut

29,823 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0385289448 / ISBN 13: 9780385289443
Published by Delacorte Press/Seymour Lawrence, New York, 1976
Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
From Brookfield Books (Cannon Falls, MN, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Text and binding in very excellent condition. Jacket clean sharp with no clipping, markings, or tears. Stated first Delacorte printing. First trade edition. A really wonderful copy. A singular and strange meditation on the nature of the closeness Vonnegut had with his sister Alice, who died of cancer in 1958. Alice's husband had died in a train accident two days before her death. Vonnegut adopted and raised her children. The novel was written shortly after the death of the author's uncle. In it, Vonnegut and his sister transform into Swain "Neanderthaloid" dizygotic twins. Bookseller Inventory # 000227

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Slapstick

Publisher: Delacorte Press/Seymour Lawrence, New York

Publication Date: 1976

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

Flying to a favorite uncle's funeral in Indianapolis, middle-aged Kurt Vonnegut daydreams of one-hundred-year-old Wilbur Oriole-11 Swain, pediatrician and past United States President, who wrote history's most popular child-rearing manual and sold the original Louisiana Purchase

Review:

Dr. Wilbur Daffodil-11 Swain, centenarian, the last President of the United States, King of Manhattan, and one-half (along with his sister, Eliza) of the most powerful intelligence since Einstein, is penning his autobiography. He occupies the first floor of a ruined Empire State Building and lives like a royal scavenger with his illiterate granddaughter and her beau. Buffeted by fluctuating gravity, the U.S. has been scourged by not one, but two lethal diseases: the Green Death and the Albanian Flu. Consequently, the country has fallen into civil war. (Super-intelligent, miniaturized Chinese watch the West self-destruct from the sidelines.) Swain stayed at the White House until there were no citizens left to govern, then moved to deserted New York City, where he writes a thoughtful missive before death.

In Slapstick, Vonnegut muses on war, man's hubris, and the awful, crippling loneliness humans are freighted with--but, miraculously, the book still manages to delight and amuse. Absurd, knowing, never depressing, Slapstick kindles hope--for the possibility of wisdom, perhaps; for human resiliency, surely.

It's best to end with a quote from the prologue wherein the author discourses on The Meaning of It All, or at least This Book: "Love is where you find it. I think it is foolish to go off looking for it, and I think it can often 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.'"
Amen.

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