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Galápagos (1985)

de Kurt Vonnegut

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6,774691,036 (3.8)110
Observed by a ghost of the Vietnam War for one million years, the descendants of survivors of a cruise to the Galapagos Archipielago prove Darwin's Theory of Evolution. The ghost of a shipbuilder tells the story of an ill-fated cruise to the Galapagos Islands.
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Mostrando 1-5 de 69 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Those damned big brains of ours.

My first leap into the world of Kurt Vonnegut was Cat's Cradle. That book left my head spinning with questions and wonder. "What the hell did I just read?" It wasn't until I looked up other reviews and saw that it was a satirical look into religion and science, about the dangers and safety of both. That's when I saw how awesome of an author he is.

Galapagos left me with more questions than answers. That's a great thing.

The story left me in a stupor. Whenever I finished a chapter, I would be in awe of how Vonnegut would describe certain things with some sort of magic. It is impossible to read his work and not have a smirk painted on your face or to audibly laugh out loud in public. There is a certain touch he has, a way with words if you will, that brings events to life.

The theme in Galapagos is humanity, evolution, and heredity. Humans are capable of committing the worst atrocities and at the same time have the ability to be kind and generous. The protagonist of this story is our brains, that lump of meat that lives comfortably in our skulls that makes both good and bad decisions. It can tell us to hurt someone or even hurt ourselves. It can help create a beautiful symphony or paint a gorgeous work of art. It can create weapons that can wipe out whole countries.

The following is taken from my notes when I was about half way through:

"Humans can be dumb and stupid. Humankind has made SO MANY MISTAKES. Genocide. Ecocide. Constant constant war. Pillaging. Gluttony. Greed. Rape of a fellow human and rape of our planet's resources. Racism. However, humankind can be good. Kind. Charitable. Helpful. Nice. Friendly. We are capable of self sacrifice in order to save someone else. We donate to those in need. We can empathize with others."

I will end my review with the quote Vonnegut used to begin this enlightening and witty story:

" In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart."
--Anne Frank (1929-1944) ( )
  ProfessorEX | Apr 15, 2021 |
The passengers of a cruise ship repopulate the world after a virus sterilizes everyone else, and it's all told from the viewpoint of a ghost a million years after the fact. This has everything I love about Vonnegut: The strong voice that utilizes simple language very effectively; the multitude of philosophical quotes that never come across as half-baked or cliche; the reoccurring characters in all of his books;
the way that he explains the book's general outcome at the beginning and throughout, leaving us to wonder how exactly so-and-so dies, etc; and so on. ( )
  jasonrkron | Jan 15, 2021 |
Kurt Vonnegut's Galapagos is a book he wrote in the latter end of his career. Now instead of "Kilgore Trout" we have Kilgore Trout's son telling the story of a pandemic and mass diet from the perspective of a million years from now. He could have left - gone through "the Blue Tunnel" to the afterlife, but don't you know - he wanted to stay and hear the end of the story.

The human race has gone through a plague and a purge and has almost died out. A ragtag band of survivors have taken a ship and found themselves stranded on an island in the Galapagos chain. Will the human race survive? Yes . . . and no.

This is a novel of ideas much more than a novel of character or plot. Like Mark Twain before him, Vonnegut is chronicling "The Damned Human Race" and frankly he doesn't think much of it.

But even here is this slow moving and very didactic book there are characters you care about and acts of great kindness and generousity and love.

Perhaps there are worse fates for the human race than to spend its time catching fish and having exuberant guilt free sex play in a sunny paradise.

It's no "Slaughterhouse Five" but its still Vonnegut and still thoughtful and interesting. ( )
  magicians_nephew | Nov 17, 2020 |
was not much impressed with this book when I read it, but it made for a very interesting discussion in our reading group. Even people who, like me, found the tone annoying were adding to the discussion, and it did give me some added perspective. So maybe three stars, for its ability to stir the discourse. ( )
  ffortsa | Nov 11, 2020 |
Thanks to their decreased brainpower, people aren't diverted from the main business of life by the hobgoblins of opinion anymore. ( )
  drbrand | Jul 22, 2020 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Kurt Vonnegutautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Marsh, JamesArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart.

Anne Frank (1929-1945)
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In memory of Hillis L. Howie (1903-1982),
amateur naturalist -
A good man who
took me and my best friend Ben Hitz
and some other boys
out to the American Wild West
from Indianapolis, Indiana,
in the summer of 1938

Mr Howie introduced us to real Indians
and had us sleep out-of-doors every night
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and told us the names of many plants and animals,
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A real wildcat screamed back.
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The thing was:
One million years ago, back in A.D. 1986, Guayaquil was the chief seaport of the little South American democracy of Ecuador, whose capital was Quito, high in the Andes Mountains.
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Mary had also taught that the human brain was the most admirable survival device yet produced by evolution. But now her own big brain was urging her to take the polyethylene garment bag from around a red evening dress in her closet in Guayaquil, and to wrap it around her head, thus depriving her cells of oxygen.
"I'll tell you what the human soul is, Mary," he whispered, his eyes closed. "Animals don't have one. It's the part of you that knows when your brain isn't working right. I always knew, Mary. There wasn't anything I could do about it, but I always knew."
As for the meaning of the courtship dance of the blue-footed boobies: The birds are huge molecules with bright blue feet and have no choice in the matter. By their very nature, they have to dance exactly like that.
Human beings used to be molecules which could do many, many different sorts of dances, or decline to dance at all - as they pleased. My mother could do the waltz, the tango, the rumba, the Charleston, the Lindy Hop, the jitterbug, the Watusi, and the twist. Father refused to do any dances, as was his privilege.
If I may insert a personal note at this point: When I was alive, I often received advice from my own big brain which, in terms of my own survival, or the survival of the human race, for that matter, can be charitably described as questionable. Example: It had me join the United States Marines and go fight in Vietnam.
Thanks a lot, big brain.
From the violence people were doing to themselves and each other, and to all other living things, for that matter, a visitor from another planet might have assumed that the environment had gone haywire, and that the people were in such a frenzy because Nature was about to kill them all.
But the planet a million years ago was as moist and nourishing as it is today—and unique, in that respect, in the entire Milky Way. All that had changed was people’s opinion of the place.
To the credit of humanity as it used to be: More and more people were saying that their brains were irresponsible, unreliable, hideously dangerous, wholly unrealistic—were simply no damn good.
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ISBN 0385333870 is for Galápagos by Kurt Vonnegut
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Observed by a ghost of the Vietnam War for one million years, the descendants of survivors of a cruise to the Galapagos Archipielago prove Darwin's Theory of Evolution. The ghost of a shipbuilder tells the story of an ill-fated cruise to the Galapagos Islands.

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