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...so we must be careful about what we pretend to be" (v). Dieser leitmotivische Satz steht gleich am Beginn vom Kurt Vonneguts Roman "Mother Night" und am Beginn der unglaublichen Lebensgeschichte von Howard W. Campbell, Jr., der zum Zeitpunkt der Aufzeichnung seiner Geschichte 1961 in einem Jerusalemer Gefängnis sitzt und auf seinen Prozess wartet. Er ist angeklagt, da er in Nazideutschland einer der bekanntesten Radiopropagandisten war, berühmt-berüchtigt für seine hasserfüllten Tiraden gegenüber den Juden. Doch nur wenig später folgt der Clou: Campbell behauptet, in Wahrheit die ganze Zeit als Agent für die CIA tätig gewesen zu sein, der im Verlauf seiner Ansprachen verschlüsselte Botschaften an seine Auftraggeber übermittelt habe (vgl. S. 29).

Campbell, der Ich-Erzähler des Romans, sagt, dass er weder Verständnis noch Mitleid für sein Handeln erwarte. Zugleich zeigt er sich aber erstaunt darüber, wie einfach es ihm gefallen sei, die Massen mit seinen Hasspredigten in Verzückung zu versetzen: "I had hoped, as a broadcaster, to be merely ludicrous, but this is a hard world to be ludicrous in, with so many human beings so reluctant to laugh, so incapable of thought, so eager to believe and snarl and hate. So many people wanted to believe me!" (160). Es sind gerade solch allgemein gültigen Beobachtungen wie diese, die einen an den beschränkten Horizont von Fundamentalisten jedweder Coleur denken lassen.

Ist Campbell ein Lügner, der sich doch nur reinwaschen will von den Sünden seiner Vergangenheit oder doch das Opfer einer Agentenintrige, der sich für sein Land opfert? Wie auch immer der Leser diese Frage für sich beantworten mag, bleibt ihm oder ihr überlassen. Was aber auf jeden Fall beeindruckt ist Vonneguts Fähigkeit mit seinem brutal-trockenen Humor den Horror des Krieges und die Abgründe der menschlichen Psyche darzustellen. Alle, die von Slaughterhouse-Five begeistert waren, werden auch an "Mother Night" ihre Freude haben.
0Kommentar|6 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 21. Juli 1999
What makes Vonnegut a true and marvelous master of the human condition and life and everything is his acceptance of the unexplainable. Rather than trying to give reasons and solutions, he simply lays it all out in a vastly entertaining style, and challenges his readers to make something of the mess. Here, with a unspectacular cast of characters whirling around in a lot of nothing, it's really rather amazing how deeply touching and brilliant the story is. Although this has a lot to do with Vonnegut's uncanny ability to poke your mind with subtle points in an obvious fashion, it also has to do with the fact that not everything is glamorous and suspenseful and neat. In fact, very little is. The meeting of Vonnegut and Trout at the end is absolutely classic, I could not stop grinning through the entire encounter, and the book itself is genius. Dare to be cynical with the master.
0Kommentar|6 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 1. Mai 2000
indeed this is the best anything ever (hence best book ever, man). i choose my close friends with this book. i give it to chums and if they like it, they are in, and if they don't, they are decidedly robots full of bad chemicals.
vonnegut tells you to listen: we are all robots. face it. you are a robot! you may say (and i can hear you now) that vonnegut is cynical for suggesting such a thing. but he is just being honest about our preposterous existence, and if you think that facing up to the truth is cynical, then it is you who is looking at reality in a bad light.
vonnegut is probably laughing and laughing about something silly right now. he is a beautiful robot. i wish he was my friend. i don't know if i've mentionned it already, but this is the best anything ever (even better than the anteater's snout). i kid ye not. word.
11 Kommentar|3 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 19. Mai 2000
American narcissism can be very blinding. Only a few critics see that Andy Warhol's art deals with something more than American consumerism and pop-culture. Kurt Vonnegut's book is only in part an anathema to American provincial life.
If you want to experience Zen stripped of it's Oriental trappings do not miss Breakfast for Champions.
Just like Andy Warhol, Rusin by birth, Vonnegut is an outsider to the American culture. He takes the items of everyday life, choosing these with the maximum layers of idiosyncrasy - used car yards, KFC joints, Holiday Inns - and regals them with the extraterrestrial's stare.
We are born and raised with a certain mental molding, we see the things as they are supposed to be seen. Then something happens. You see hundreds of Marilyn Monroe's faces in Warhol's painting and the pop icon becomes a weird combination of dots, lines and shades. You read Vonnegut and see his drawings of the most familiar objects - and they become as unearthly as Nasca reliefs.
When I had my satori I rode a bus and suddenly became aware of the weird flesh formations on the sides of a fellow passenger's head. Only a part of my brain was storing the name for that phenomenon - "ears". The rest of me was just looking.
All the happenings in the book are just an excuse for showing you that stare. It is an American province, but could be Nairobi slums or Danish boyscout camp. The prose is detached, laconical. If you are looking for "funny" parts you'll find them. But that would be entirely your fault.
0Kommentar|5 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 4. April 2000
Dig it. I do anyways. Maybe you won't. It's entirely up to taste and whatnot. Vonnegut's story is lovely, and so is Vonnegut's storytelling. Vonnegut tells his tale in a condescending manner. He talks to the world as if we're all a bunch of kids, having to show us little pictures of everything. This storytelling is often hilarious, though it can get annoying to some people. The book is about our rotten, lowly existence. Vonnegut condescends because people are (apparently in Vonnegut's eyes) generally idiots, and Vonnegut is god of this story. He even steps into the story (love it of hate it) and chills out in his own creation. All powerful and completely omniscient, he tells you about everyone and everything in the city. Making for wonderful characterization. By the end, Midway City seems to breathe. Some will love this. Others will be completely annoyed by Vonnegut laughing in their face and his madcap style.
0Kommentar|Eine Person fand diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 19. Januar 2000
I have read every work Vonnegut has written, and this is by far one of his best works. The characters are all very real, and allow the readers to get to know them. Illustrated by Vonnegut himself, this book is definately easy to read, yet hard to put down. The main character, Kilgore Trout, a Vonnegut favorite (perhaps Vonnegut himslef?) appears in yet another tale. As an aside, some of the books Vonnegut describes that Trout wrote, would make excellent sci-fi books. I'm surprised Vonnegut (or some literary plagarist or hack) hasn't expounded on any of the themes. The book is great, and if any reader has never read Vonnegut, this is a great one to start with. You'll be hooked!
0Kommentar|Eine Person fand diese Informationen hilfreich. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?JaNeinMissbrauch melden
am 6. Januar 2000
Mother Night is one of my favorite Vonnegut books, along with The Sirens of Titan and Hocus Pocus. It is different than the majority of his works, as Vonnegut does not rely on obvious comedy, or space travel. In this account of an accused Nazi war criminal, Vonnegut lets the reader deep within Campbell's mind, in order to allow the verdict to waver back and forth between guilty and not guilty. This is a brilliant novel, and it deals with issues deeper than Vonnegut lets on. A must for Vonnegut fans...
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am 23. Oktober 1999
A classic! Easily one of the best books ever written, and possibly Vonnegut's greatest work. The story of Campbell was so compelling, the first time I read it I finished it in one sitting. I am now reading it again for the fourth time, and it still enraptures me. Vonnegut's style is superb, and the skill with which he weaves this tale is astounding. The ending shocked me, and it still haunts me every time I read it. The only regret I have is that I can only give it 5 stars.
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am 6. Januar 2000
Is it possible to say anything new about a book that has been in print for ~30 years, that has been read by millions, and which is widely studied in schools and universities?
No... but I do want to say that I loved every word (and illustration). You can pick up this old novel and get a very fresh outlook both on the human condition and on how novels ought to be written.
Vonnegut writes like he is explaining life on Earth to alien children. It is a tool that produces incredibly poignant satire, which he uses effectively to give commentary on conditions of life that the vast majority of us accept without even noticing. The language used is very simple but wonderfully lyrical, less-than-average readers will fly right through it.
Although clearly sadenned by his life, and by his observations of the planet, Vonnegut wrote a masterpiece that remains hopeful in its despair.
Kurt Vonnegut is a genius, and will no doubt be recognized as one of the 20th Century's greatest.
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am 9. Juni 1999
I really meant one star, but I didn't want to be immediately labeled as one of those idiots who gives great books a 1 merely because everyone else threw 5's. Breakfast of Champions, though, was self-indulgent, insubtle, rambling drivel that does not deserve any of the applause which people have so eagerly and richly supplied it with. The attempted irony in the book is distorted and monstrously misapplied. I groaned at each new meaningless illustration or transparent and overwrought attempt at novel, unorthodox narration. The whole book is directed at the lowest common denominator. Style over substance. I admire Vonnegut, and have enjoyed his other works, but Breakfast of Champions belongs in the same trash bin with A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving's only garbage novel, yet it is tremendously loved).
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