کتاب خدا حفظتان کند دکتر کوارکیان

اثر کورت ونه گات از انتشارات افراز - مترجم: مصطفی رضیئی-داستان علمی تخیلی

خدا حفظ‌تان کند دکتر که‌وارکیان، احتمالا عجیب و غریب‌ترین مجموعه یادداشت‌هایی است که تاکنون خوانده‌اید. کورت ونه‌کات جونیور، این بار در نقش خبرنگار ایستگاه رادیویی WNYC، خودش را به مهم‌ترین زندان تگزاس می‌برد و تا به لطف دوست واقعا صمیمی‌اش، دکتر که‌وارکیان، در سالن مجهز مرگ این زندان نیمه‌جان شود، از تونل آبی بگذرد و در آن دنیا با شخصیت‌هایی گوناگون، درست دم در بهشت مصاحبه کند و برگردد و سپس متن‌های کوتاه خود را در برنامه‌های نود ثانیه‌ای این رادیو بخواند. متن‌های ونه‌گات صرفا برای تفریح نوشته نشده‌اند، بلکه هدفی جدی ورای این متن های شاد و شنگول قرار گرفته است، تا نشان دهد بهشت و جهنم، دقیقا چیزی است که در این دنیا برای مردمان زمین می‌سازیم؛


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Humans, by nature, are scared of the unknown. So, death, being the most unknown thing in existence - or out of existence, rather - should be our biggest fear. After all, death is like a bleak night - it’s something we can never escape, no matter how much we try to fend it off. Life after death is a topic that starts wars, which coincidentally causes even more death, which causes more war. Even the wisest people on Earth are not entirely knowledgeable about death.

But what if death was not seen as merely a bleak, sad, starless night-time sky? I don’t mean life after death, but death itself; what if death is not an end to life, but only a part of life? Kurt Vonnegut’s brief novel God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian is about this usually morbid subject, told in the only way a book about death can be told - about life.

Vonnegut travels to Heaven and back multiple times in controlled near-death experiences (he is assisted by Dr. Kevorkian, AKA The Doctor of Death) to interview the deceased. This book is a collection of those interviews, which were first 90-second radio shows broadcast on NPR. In his visits to Heaven, he meets famous figures such as Adolf Hitler, Shakespeare, and Kilgore Trout (a character from his other novel Slaughterhouse Five), and other ordinary people kept in Heaven’s gates.

For example: “I asked this heroic pet lover how it felt to have died for a schnauzer named Teddy. Salvador Biagiani was philosophical. He said it sure beat dying for absolutely nothing in the Viet Nam War.”

Of course, this book is fictional, but what difference does it make?

Vonnegut maintains his sarcasm and humor that was abundant in Slaughterhouse Five. Although the novel discusses death, it is not at all morbid. The fact that there is no Hell, and only Heaven, is part of this. Even Adolf Hitler, who murdered millions upon millions of innocent people, is up there with Shakespeare and Mary Shelley. What Vonnegut is saying about life after death is debatable. It could be that we’re all the same in the end, or after the end, rather, but who knows.

Those who appreciate Slaughterhouse Five’s irony will have fun with this one. The traditionally sad subjects were not dreadful, and the lively sections were, well, not lively. “Forgive my mixed emotions, then, as I mourn the misery of one friend, Jack, who is still alive, while rejoicing in the relative well-being of another - Isaac Asimor, who died of kidney and heart failure, age seventy-two, eight years ago.” This brings up interesting points about what death is. It’s such an unknown thing that is feared by many, and whether or not there’s an afterlife, it is inevitable. And I suppose death really exists only in our own minds.

I really enjoyed this novel; I read it in a morning, and my day turned into a day of pondering about birth and death and all that is in between. It is a short read that you might have to look over twice or thrice to fully take in. I feel like anyone should read it, because all books are for everyone to read, given the right mindset. But if I were to give specific recommendations, I would say anyone who enjoys spirituality, spending hours thinking about our dooms; glass-half-full people, glass-half-empty people, glass-in-heaven-with-Shakespeare people; people who enjoy history, life, death, and whatever else; and Kurt Vonnegut enthusiasts.

And to conclude my review, I must include an interview I had with Vonnegut when I traveled to the pearly white gates.
Me: I am conducting this interview for my ninth-grade English class. Do you have anything to say to these blossoming young teenage specimens?

Vonnegut: I have said what I have to say. I am a dead man now. Pick something you think would fit.

Me: Anything?

Vonnegut: Yes.

So, here is my choice: “I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and dont let anybody tell you different.” Not from this novel, but by Vonnegut’s choice, here it is.

So read what he has to say. Maybe it will change your life instantly after you close the book, or maybe it will strike you in many years, on your deathbed.

This is Dahlia Suiter, signing off. Until the next time, ta ta.


مشاهده لینک اصلی
Ад – это другие.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
Перед нами @стенограммы@ радиопередачи с интересной задумкой. Якобы некий доктор Геворкян придумал способ умерщвлять Воннегута и посылать его в загробный мир, чтобы он там болтал с кем-то из известных и великих, а потом возвращался обратно при помощи опять же доктора Геворкяна и рассказывал об их словах. Очень остро, очень метко, очень изящно и кратко. Стоит почитать всем, у кого есть чувство юмора.



مشاهده لینک اصلی
Stuff I Read - God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian by Kurt Vonnegut Review

So this is a weird little book. Im really not sure exactly how to describe it, because it straddles a few lines, bends a few conventions, and its hard to tell at times just how genuine or sincere the book is trying to be. Which might in part be due to the nature of the project. In a series of very short pieces intended for radio, Vonnegut imagines himself as a journalist to the afterlife, a man who can go and visit the other side to talk to other people who have died. Its a rather strange concept, and one that largely works, though I think these works are limited by their intent and scope and brevity.

These were not originally intended to be read, after all, so reading them is to take them out of context in some ways, to see how they work as stories, and then as stories creating a whole. Which also wasnt the point, because these werent really intended to be taken in one after the other all at once, which is how I read them. They were originally to be taken in days or weeks apart, not necessarily in any order and not necessarily having read or listened to any of the other installments, though similar themes to crop but occasionally. As stories, though, and as a whole, the short works are definitely entertaining, sometimes funny, sometimes thought-provoking, but they dont really work all that well as a collection; they dont build and echo as well as they could.

In some ways this book seems more like a mash-up of some strange ideas, some decent jokes, and some fairly shallow philosophy. Vonnegut discusses humanism a bit in the beginning, and it is kind of that idea that circles back around through the short snippets, the 90-seconds of audio. The use of Dr. Kevorkian, the idea of how strangely death is treated in this country, is also something that comes back up, and I think is probably the best treated idea here. That a society can decide that it has the right to kill people and yet deny that people have the right to kill themselves is just messed up. Vonnegut uses his charm, his skill, to point out again and again how complex the real situation is, and uses figures like serial killers and Hitler to make his point about death and the afterlife.

In the end, though, I dont think this book is quite as successful as it could have been. It is a bit obvious that these are very short pieces that Vonnegut did more as a fundraiser for public radio than as something that was going to really make a statement. And while it does reach a few points, they arent explored with the same passion and critical gaze that Vonnegut is more known for. While this was fun, a look into what Vonnegut could do in such a short space, its entertaining a bit more for the novelty than for the real art. These are fun, witty, clever pieces, dont get me wrong. They just arent all that great. And with that in mind Im going to give this book a 7/10.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
This is a super-quick read, filled with tons of little gems. The premise: Its a series of reports from Heaven, near-death experiences administered under the care of Jack Kevorkian in a lethal injection facility in Huntsville, Texas.

Its the sort of subject matter that could easily come off as trite or condescending or ironic or overly self-aware, but the quick reports are anything but. Vonnegut opens with a short discussion of his humanist beliefs, and the depth of these beliefs is apparent throughout the book. I have a hard time imagining a younger, more cynical writer @[email protected] on an interview with Hitler in Paradise and not having it come off with an air of contempt for religion or humanity. Vonneguts treatment left me with a feeling of some kind of basic dignity thats intrinsic to the human condition.

Its entertaining, efficient writing that left me feeling like I have a better idea of what it means to be walking around on this planet. The fact that it did that while making me feel good is a rare achievement.

If only Richard Dawkins could be as personable a non-theist as Vonnegut.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
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