Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Wasted time

Our book club chose Kurt Vonnegut's Timequake to read this month, and I approached it with such high hopes. I was sooooo disappointed. I finally gave up on page 190 or so. Basically, it's a quasi-memoir/sci-fi novel with what could have been a very interesting premise - a glitch in time causes everyone to "reset" to ten years prior, after which they must repeat the exact same ten years (with no changes - doing only exactly what they did before, be it mistake or no). Everyone knows they are "repeating," but they can't do anything to stop it or change it.

All the way, Vonnegut makes social and literary points that are in themselves valid, but there's no real cohesive, larger story to pull everything together. There are no primary characters with any discernible plotline. There are no objectives. There are no central conflicts. It's just sort of a wandering, stream-of-consciousness . . . thing. (I hesitate to even call it a narrative.)

Sooooo, anyway, unless you are a big Vonnegut fan (as I've heard that this novel is very indicative of his work, though not his best book), pick this up. If not, pass on it.

1 comment:

Sandi said...

I loved it the first time I read it ... but dreaded picking it up again. I like Vonnegut, but he's written some things I'm not crazy about and I worried I'd outgrown him (if that makes any sense).
But I'm re-reading this one and like it ... I guess because I know that he wrote it very late in his life and wanted it filled with what HE wanted, not what the publishing house had in mind. It's a re-write of a cohesive narrative with this plotline, but he hated it when it was finished. So this one is "Timequake II."

Should make for interesting discussion at the book club.