Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut

Published: 1997

Summary (taken from blurb):
‘Timequake explores what happens to Vonnegut when, in 2001, a ‘timequake’ hits. The universe has a decade of self-doubt, shrinking back to 1991 and forcing everybody to relive the last 10 years of their lives exactly as they had before, but without free will. The same mistakes. The same corny jokes. The same doses of clap.’ James Urquhart, Independent

I really tried to enjoy this book, but it was just so disjointed and confusing that I couldn’t really get into it. Part autobiography and part fiction, it’s often hard to tell where fact ends and fiction begins. I know the book is supposed to be this way but, regardless, I struggled with this method of writing.

The basic plot (and I use the term ‘plot’ very loosely) discusses a ‘timequake’: an event whereby the universe shrinks slightly and everyone is thrown back 10 years in time to relive their lives exactly as they happened the first time around. That is, every thought, every action and every word is identical. When the timequake ends and humans are suddenly presented with free will again, most don’t know what to do with it. It’s an interesting premise, but one that isn’t used to great effect. The timequake is more like a thin thread that weaves together some of the thoughts and anecdotes of Kurt Vonnegut, which make up the bulk of the book.

Timequake’s saving grace is that Vonnegut comes up with some absolute gems concerning humans and their environment. Some of his stuff is very quotable (so quotable, in fact, that I forgot to write any down!) I’d only recommend this for the more hardcore Vonnegut fan. Having only previously read Slaughterhouse-Five, I’m not in that camp myself, but Timequake certainly hasn’t put me off reading other works by Vonnegut.

Rating: 6/10

Review by Kylie

Categories: Reviews | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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