I wrote this review for Kurt Vonnegut’s book GalapagosĀ on Goodreads back in 2007. For some reason a bunch of people started liking it recently and considering I needed some more content I decided I would throw it up here on my new Blahg. Just doing my part to save the environment by recycling content šŸ˜‰

It will be interesting to see what becomes of the legacy of Kurt Vonnegut now that he is dead. Many great authors don’t receive the recognition they deserve until after they have taken the giant step to the other side, but Vonnegut’s Slaughter House Five was being taught in high schools across
America while the author was still alive so I guess it can be said that he was a legend in his own time. Maybe his appeal will diminish with age, but I kind of doubt it. I consider him one of the most brilliant writers of our time and this book, along with Cat’s Cradle and The Sirens of Titan, is one of my favorites.

Vonnegut eschews flowery prose and laborious description in favor of succinct passages that manage to relay a world of meaning in as few words as possible. In fact, this book can be read in one intense afternoon sitting but there is really no other author I am familiar with that can say so much with so little. At certain times in Galapagos, Vonnegut’s ability to encapsulate profound humanist and spiritual messages in a single sentence is powerfully moving.

In many ways Galapagos is Vonnegut’s answer to Darwin’s theory of evolution laid out in Origin of Species. While not directly contradictory and by no means scientific, the story builds on Darwin’s famous theory to explain Vonnegut’s own theory of Devolution in which humans gradually turn their backs on the complexities of the universe in order to search further inside themselves to find the truth that lies within. In the process they devolve into creatures of such elemental simplicity that they are capable of connecting with the universe on a grander scale then was ever previously possible. I wish I had a copy, actually, because I could use a refresher and would read it right now.

A few years ago I told a friend that it was one of my great dreams in life to interview Kurt Vonnegut before he died. Unfortunately, partly due to laziness, but mostly due to the self-defeating belief that such a meeting would be an impossibility, I never acted upon this dream and he passed away this year. I will regret not making a greater effort to see this dream become a reality for a long time.