by Kurt Vonnegut
Vonnegut tends to be one of those authors that you just get or you don’t. I love his sarcastic style, but I know it doesn’t work for everyone. I also think I have a particular soft spot for him because he is a fellow Hoosier.
In this novel we meet Mary, a widow who is taking a cruise to the Galapagos islands. Little does she know that their cruise ship will soon become a second Noah’s ark when the world ends and the only people left are those on the ship. The story is told a million years in the future by the son of Kilgore Trout. The few remaining humans must attempt to restart the human race on the Galapagos islands.
One of the themes in Vonnegut’s work is the absurdity of man; our willingness to destroy both ourselves and each other. This is a central point in Galapagos as well. He can’t help but add a few lines about his own big brain’s crazy idea to go fight in Vietnam, which echoes his own experience fighting in WWII.
BOTTOM LINE: An overlooked classic and one of Vonnegut’s better books. If you’ve already checked out his big ones (Breakfast of Champions, Slaughterhouse-Five and Cat’s Cradle) then pick this one up. It’s an incredibly quick read and sure to make you laugh if you love Vonnegut’s sense of humor.
“I say the same thing about the death of James Wait: "Oh, well - he wasn't going to write Beethoven's Ninth Symphony anyway." This wry comment on how little most of us were likely to accomplish in life, no matter how long we lived, isn't my own invention.”
p.s. A few of Vonnegut’s best lines.