Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut


General Fiction

Bluebeard BluebeardKurt Vonnegut; Dial Press Trade Paperback 1998WorldCatRabo Karabekian is 71 years old and living to his mansion on Long Island. He was the son of poor Armenian immigrants. He lost an eye in World War II. He was an artist in the Abstract Expressionism school. His word became quite acclaimed and brought him quite a bit of money. None of them exist any more. He also has one of the best private Abstract Expressionism collections in the world.

Rabo is bullied into writing his autobiography. A woman named Circe Berman invites herself into his home and takes over his life. Now Rabo finds himself remembering his life and its ups and downs. Eventually, he may even tell her the secret hidden in his potato barn.

This is a Kurt Vonnegut novel, so Rabo’s life story is not a progression from birth to the present. Instead it jumps around in the way a person’s memory jumps around, hinting the end results. Rabo may have been a famous artist, but the ending of all his expressionism work is ironically funny. He collected early paintings from later famous artists in repayment of loans for drinks, clothing, etc.

Rabo had been an apprentice to an illustrator in the 1930’s. Then he was an artist in the Army during the late 30’s and the war. Eventually he lost an eye and became a prisoner of war. But we learn the details in bits and pieces, fits and starts.

Vonnegut’s writing voice is in full force in Bluebeard. This novel is straightforward life, no science fiction or fantasy twists. It doesn’t need them, either. This is not Vonnegut’s best, yet still a good read as long as you can follow his style. As I said before, Vonnegut’s work improves in conversation with other readers to bring his ideas and philosophies out for discussion.

More books by Kurt Vonnegut

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