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Galapagos

Written by: Kurt Vonnegut
Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
Length: 8 hrs and 1 min
4 out of 5 stars (30 ratings)
Price: CDN$ 46.98
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Publisher's Summary

Galapagos takes the listener back one million years to AD 1986. A simple vacation cruise suddenly becomes an evolutionary journey. Thanks to an apocalypse, a small group of survivors stranded on the Galapagos Islands are about to become the progenitors of a brave, new, totally different human race.

Kurt Vonnegut, America's master satirist, looks at our world and shows us all that is sadly, madly awry - and all that is worth saving.

As an added bonus, when you purchase our Audible Modern Vanguard production of Kurt Vonnegut's book, you'll also receive an exclusive Jim Atlas interview. This interview – where James Atlas interviews Gay Talese about the life and work of Kurt Vonnegut – begins as soon as the audiobook ends.

©1985 Kurt Vonnegut (P)2008 Audible, Inc.

What the critics say

"Beautiful...provocative, arresting reading." ( USA Today)
"Vonnegut is a post-modern Mark Twain.... Galapagos is a madcap genealogical adventure." ( The New York Times Book Review)
"The best Vonnegut novel yet!" (John Irving)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Incredible!

*7 Stars!

I think that everyone’s reading is influenced early on by the people in our lives. Parents, teachers, friends, they all tend to point us in certain directions for our reading. My influencing factors pointed me in directions other than Vonnegut. But I’ve heard his name come up frequently over the past few years, so it seemed to be about time to give him a shot. I’ve certainly been missing something special.

Based on my usual criteria, if I even have usual criteria, Galapagos should have been a 3-star rating. There was very little action or character development, and no real climax, but there was something exceptionally special about how the story was told. The best way I can describe my experience is comparing it to putting a puzzle together; you know what the picture is, it’s right there in front of you, but the fun or the challenge is figuring out how all of the pieces fit together.

Vonnegut’s big brain has explored the big picture of change and adaptation. I loved the way he highlighted how insignificant many of humanity’s “accomplishments” really are: in a million years no one will know or care about the 45th President of the United States, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony or Kurt Vonnegut, for that matter. We are just tiny specks on the massive timeline. Life will continue in one way or another and our mistakes and inaction can be just as significant as our “accomplishments.”

I “read” the audiobook of Galapagos and found Jonathan Davis’ narration to be a perfect match for the story. He kept me captivated with his matter-of-fact tone and sarcastic inflection. Davis became Leon Trout.

While post-apocalyptic in scope, it is not your typical post-apocalyptic story in nature…then again, I don’t think that there is anything typical about Kurt Vonnegut.

I love it when I find an author like this!

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  • GB
  • 2019-02-13

Nicely narrated. Thats about all I can say.

The story takes place in1960’s written by some one amillion years in the future. Definately not a travel log,

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  • A Jackson
  • 2012-04-25

What can I say...

What other book might you compare Galapagos to and why?

Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land

Any additional comments?

Ghost narrator, fascinating setting and witty dialog...all with that obscure Vonnegut way of making you feel like you're watching the burning of Dresden with the author.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Robert
  • 2009-08-27

Love Vonnegut? Listen to this...

Kurt Vonnegut was obviously born on another planet, his perspective is so deliciously different. I am very sympathetic to his atheistic world view. He almost heroically presents fiction that tickles my fancy. At the same time, he presents scenarios that are totally grounded in possibility, yanking our minds out of the hum-drum daily grind. If there is a God, Vonnegut must be their favorite creation, he sheds so much light upon the human condition...

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Darwin8u
  • 2016-12-13

The survival of the human race is a total bore!

"In this era of big brains, anything which can be done will be done -- so hunker down."
-- Kurt Vonnegut, Galápagos

Trying to stay a couple books ahead of my son as I re-read Vonnegut. I haven't read much since those years between 13 and 18 when I seemed to burn through Vonnegut books again and again. He was one of those few writers I ever read twice (Dickens, Shakespeare, and Hugo are a few others). So, now as an adult I am approaching these books again.

God I love this man. I love his hopeful, resigned cynicism about the modern era. He writes as an outsider, but also as a friend -- if that makes any sense. This novel is so brilliant in its simplicity. Kilgore Trout's son Leon Trotsky Trout narrates a tale that covers one million years. He is a ghost, destined to watch humanity crash and be reborn on the Island of Galápagos. That is the basic arc. The almost end of man, and his rebirth. Using evolution as a key, Vonnegut shows that like the Irish Elk, with its large, heavy, awkward, and almost unadaptive giant antlers, man is burdened with a giant brain that seems to cause endless trouble for our species.

“Given a choice between a brain like you and the antlers of an Irish elk,” she told her own central nervous system, “I'd take the antlers of the Irish elk.”.

So, the accidents of genetics and the isolation of some famous islands West of Ecuador allow for our species to be reborn.

“What was it going to do with a bigger brain? Compose Beethoven's Ninth Symphony?”

16 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • k/b_c
  • 2015-06-10

Daunting and Enlightening

Where does Galapagos rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Number two, right after The Alchemist.

Who was your favorite character and why?

My favorite character would have to be The Captain because for all his faults, vanity and ignorance he seemed the most real.

Have you listened to any of Jonathan Davis’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No. But I loved his voice and he, like Jeremy Irons, seems to embody each and every character as though they existed inside him.

Who was the most memorable character of Galapagos and why?

Most memorable character...hmmm. Ok, I'd said it is Mary. She is consistent and steadfast in her faith of humanity. Right up to the end she risks it all to save what she believes will improve the minds of future generations...but thanks to Vonnegut's wry sense of humor...I won't be a spoiler.

Any additional comments?

Vonnegut's style is both depressing and playful but more than anything he cuts through to the truth many have not and will not face.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • thomas
  • 2013-09-23

The Last Great Vonnegut Novel

What made the experience of listening to Galapagos the most enjoyable?

I think the narrator did a superb job in letting the story unfold.He didn't get in the way of the material and read it without irony; which I think is tough to do given the material. I enjoyed every minute of it.

What other book might you compare Galapagos to and why?

I think Vonnegut is a very unique writer. He doesn't "over write" or get lost in his own exposition.Yet he takes you down roads that don't add up until the very end, making it important to pay attention. The only other book I think you can can compare this to are others he has written, and I would say Breakfast of Champions comes the closest. If you enjoyed that story and approach, you will enjoy Galapagos. Many characters return from that story as well, making it somewhat interlocking like other Vonnegut stories.

Have you listened to any of Jonathan Davis’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not but I think he did a great job. I find it such an interesting occupation being a narrator, in many ways the best ones are unnoticed because they let the story be the star. Jonathan does that with this reading, and that is a compliment. Very well done.

Who was the most memorable character of Galapagos and why?

I would say a tie between Kilgore Trout and his son. Trout looms large int eh Vonnegut universe and he takes on even more mythic proportions in this story. Fascinating use of character development.

Any additional comments?

In my opinion this is the last great Vonnegut novel.His later work is very different from his early work in tone and pace.If you are a fan of his early work, I think you will enjoy it very much. I recommend it highly. I would suggest listening to his right after Breakfast of Champions since it occupies a similar section of the Vonnegut universe. A critical book in the legacy of a great American writer. Audible gives it the production value and care it richly deserves.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Rachel
  • 2016-12-19

great book, bad interview

would have given 5 stars except for the insulting, insufferable interview at the end.
to old guys saying how they don't understand Vonnegut at all or why the youth like him, and displaying a cursory knowledge of his work.

I mean come on

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Reilly
  • 2015-10-08

A real mind bender

Vonnegut's style is so unique. Flawless clarity, easy to listen to, sometimes albeit slightly repetitive, but that's what makes it so great and a little cynical. Story keeps you very involved and have to pay attention and keep track of a lot of names. I read this book as a young man and just re-listened to it. I am traveling to the Galápagos Islands next year and now will look at it just every so softly different. A good read, if you want something you have to focus to and are open to crazy stories.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • P. M. Morris
  • 2009-07-04

A Timely Experience

In this year of Darwin celebrations, and a severe world economic downturn, this book makes some harrowing echoes. As another commented, you probably need to really like Vonnegut's work or you won't enjoy it. I do, and I did.

He is my all-time favorite modern author, but until now I hadn't read 'Galapagos'. It has been on my shelf for at least 15 years unread. I can't explain why I hadn't gotten around to reading it, but I am certainly glad to have finally caught up.

I must heartily commend the book's reader - his gentle unhurried tone matched Leon's narration flawlessly.

An excellent audio book experience marred only by the absence of a way to present an 'asterisk'. Readers of the dead tree edition will know what I mean...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Linda
  • 2009-06-16

enjoyable satire

There is satire and then there is satire. Vonnegut knows how to write it so that it is enjoyable to read. His characters, for the most part, are likeable. His story is almost believable. I'd forgotten how much I liked his writing and he has redeemed satire for me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • cwesleyg
  • 2019-04-18

Great book!

What an imagination and interesting concept for both the story, and the method of narration.