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I've been reading a lot of Vonnegut recently, and I've noticed some interesting stuff. Slaughterhouse-Five or the Children's Crusade, God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, and Cat's Cradle are similar to a novel in format, though Slaughterhouse Five is of course all "out of order" and in two of the three, Vonnegut breaks the fourth wall more than a few times.

On the other hand, Timequake is this weird combination of stream of consciousness, real life, and fiction, so you have no idea what the heck's going on. Semi-similarly, Wampeters, Foma, and Granfalloons (a collection of Vonnegut's talks and articles) go over all sorts of different topics, with little rhyme or reason (at least to my mind), feeling kind of stream of conscious-y as well.

Interestingly, looking at the dates the novels were published, it shakes out as follows:

  • Cat's Cradle - 1963
  • God Bless You Mr. Rosewater - 1965
  • Slaughterhouse Five - 1969
  • Wampeters, Foma, and Granfalloons - 1974
  • Timequake - 1997

That is, the later the book was published, the less like a normal novel the book is. Does this hold true for the rest of Vonnegut's books? Was this intentional? Why did this happen?

  • I'm surprised you left his 1952 Player Piano off the list. It has much of the whimsical wackiness coupled with dystopian gallows humor of his later writing. – kimchi lover Oct 9 '17 at 14:34
  • @kimchilover I left it off because I haven't read it. The novels I listed are the only ones I've read by him - I haven't been able to find copies of any of his other works. – heather Oct 9 '17 at 20:31
  • As he became more established, and his reputation grew to fairly towering heights with Slaughterhouse Five, he may have felt freer to present less structured material. (It's been a while since I read him, but I seem to recall Galapagos and Bluebeard being somewhat straightfoward.) – DukeZhou Oct 13 '17 at 17:19
  • The positive reception this question received has finally given me the confidence to post a similar question which has been on my to-ask list ever since before this site was even created. – Rand al'Thor Oct 22 '17 at 12:35
  • Simliarly, The Sirens of Titan (1959) is science fiction, but it is in the form of a linear novel. – Mike May 23 '18 at 1:58

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