Bluebeard

  • by Kurt Vonnegut
  • Narrated by Mark Bramhall
  • 7 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Bluebeard, published in 1987, is Vonnegut's meditation on art, artists, surrealism, and disaster.
Meet Rabo Karabekian, a moderately successful surrealist painter who we meet late in life and see struggling (like all of Vonnegut's key characters) with the dregs of unresolved pain and the consequences of brutality. Loosely based on the legend of Bluebeard (best realized in Bela Bartok's one-act opera), the novel follows Karabekian through the last events in his life, which are heavy with women, painting, artistic ambition, artistic fraudulence, and as of yet unknown consequence. Vonnegut's intention here is not so much satirical (although the contemporary art scene would be easy enough to deconstruct), nor is it documentary (although Karabekian does carry elements of Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko). Instead Vonnegut is using art for the same purpose he used science fiction clich├ęs in Slaughterhouse-Five: as a filter through which he can illuminate the savagery, cruelty, and essentially comic misdirection of human existence.
Listeners will recognize familiar Vonnegut character types and archetypes as they drift in and out through the background; meanwhile Karabekian, betrayed and betrayer, sinks through a bottomless haze of recollection. Like most of Vonnegut's late works, this is both science fiction and cruel, contemporary realism at once, using science fiction as metaphor for human damage as well as failure to perceive.
Listeners will find that Vonnegut's protagonists can never really clarify for us whether they are ultimately unwitting victims or simple barbarians, leaving it up to the listener to determine in which genre this audiobook really fits, if any at all.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Still as great as I remember

Great book and great performance. I was wondering if it would hold up after 20 years and it did and the performance even made it better.
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- Nick

A great story of a fractured soul.

Was a good story of a man who could not come to terms with who he is. its not the words spoken by which he is defined as much as he attempted to make him self so shallow it was the background of a man who opened his home and his life to a cast of strangers over time his wanting to not care but none the less caring enough to shelter, feed, and look after others. being so terribly humble in thinking his failure in art was who he is and not seeing the great love of human that he is. his final painting giving homage to all those from all walks of life finding a home in his happy valley. that despite what they were he loved them all enough to paint them with story and all.
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- David Christensen

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-23-2015
  • Publisher: Audible Studios