Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut (excerpt) – Books

Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut (excerpt) – Books
Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut (excerpt) – Books

“Krug” publishing house

In the “Reading” section, Dnevnik publishes an excerpt from “The Blue Beard”, authored by Kurt Vonnegut, provided by “Krug” Publishing House

The extraordinary mind of Kurt Vonnegut is here again in the long-awaited edition of Bluebeard. The writer’s cult novel is published in Bulgarian only for the second time

With his striking humor and bitter irony, the immortal voice of Kurt Vonnegut returns in a new edition of the novel Bluebeard. “Krug” launches the fifth volume of the bibliophile collection of the American writer’s works with the design of the artist Milena Valnarova. In 2021, the publishing team took on the ambitious task of reissuing the iconic author’s most popular titles in deluxe hardcover volumes. In Bluebeard, the inimitable Kurt Vonnegut touches on deeply troubling questions about the value not only of art but of people today. The text is in the well-known translation of the late Veselin Laptev, but with a new edition.

A 71-year-old one-eyed World War II veteran, son of Armenian immigrants and failed artist, Rabo Karabekian lives isolated and lonely in a large mansion with its own beach in East Hampton, Long Island. He is friends with legends such as Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko, as he himself is one of the founders of abstract expressionism – a school that does not symbolize anything and with its self-absorption perfectly describes the modern state of the world.

Having turned his home into a museum and himself into a keeper of the past, Rabo has no particular expectations for life, until one afternoon he accidentally runs into Circe Berman. After drinks and dinner, he invites her to live in his home, but soon begins to feel unsettled by her manipulative charm – “Is this woman my friend? I’ll be damned if I know. I only know one thing – she won’t leave here until she’s completely ready, and besides, she’s giving me goosebumps. Help!”.

Intrigued by Rabo’s story, the voluptuous young widow gives him the idea to write her autobiography. “I found myself doing everything he ordered,” he shares, but there’s one thing he’s not ready for.

As in many of Vonnegut’s novels, the fate of his central character coincides with his own at several key moments, and this gives the text a keen sense of reality. The charm of “Bluebeard” also comes from the undisguised but biting optimism with which the hero accepts reality, and the tenacity with which hope settles in the reader’s mind.

In April 2022, 15 years have passed since the death of the great writer, and on November 11 this year, the world will also celebrate 100 years since Vonnegut’s birth. After “Mechanical Piano”, “The Sirens of Titan”, “Mother Night”, “Cat’s Cradle” and “Bluebeard”, the publishing house “Krug” promises more editions of his cult works.

“This novel is vintage Vonnegut – fine wine from its best grapes.”
Detroit News

Kurt Vonnegut (1922 – 2007) was an American writer, the author of fourteen novels, numerous short stories, plays and non-fiction texts. His participation in the Second World War left a lasting mark on his mind and on his entire work. Vonnegut’s sharp resentment of the functioning of human society is evident in every line of his uncompromising satire.

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Bluebeard (Kurt Vonnegut)

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Excerpt from “Bluebeard” by Kurt Vonnegut

Yes, it’s true. I, old Rabo Karabekyan, turn to literature after my complete failure in the field of fine arts. Although a typical product of the Great Depression, I still play it safe and continue to perform the role of museum keeper.

But what inspired an old man like me to make this drastic change? Cherchez la femme[1]of course!
As far as I can remember, this relatively young, energetic, wayward and sensual woman moved in with me without any invitation.

It was unbearable for her to watch me do absolutely nothing all day. So why haven’t I caught on to something, whatever it is? Why, since I can’t think of anything useful, haven’t I taken to writing my resume?
And really why not?
How powerful she is!

I found myself doing everything he ordered. In twenty years of married life, dear Edith never once tried to tell me what to do. During my military service, I have encountered colonels and generals like this new woman in my life, but they were men, and our country was at war.

Is this woman my friend? I’ll be damned if I know. I only know one thing, she’s not leaving here until she’s completely ready, and besides, she’s giving me goosebumps.
Her name is Circe Berman.

She is a widow. Her husband was a brain surgeon in Baltimore, where her house is still – huge and empty like mine. Her husband, Abe, died six months ago of a cerebral hemorrhage. She is forty-three years old, and my house seemed to her the most suitable both for living and for writing the biography of her husband.

There is no eroticism in our relationship. I am twenty-eight years older than Mrs. Berman, and I am so ugly that only a dog could love me. I really do look like a desiccated iguana, and with only one eye. This is the situation.

This is how we met: she was walking on my beach, not knowing it was private property. She had never heard of me because she didn’t like modern art. She didn’t know anyone in the Hamptons, she was staying at the Maidstone Inn in a village about two miles from my estate. She went for a walk on the shore and unwittingly entered the boundaries of my private beach.

I had gone for a swim as usual and that’s how I ran into her. Fully clothed, she was engaged in Paul Schlesinger’s favorite pastime of sitting on the sand and staring at the waves. I don’t like strangers on my beach for one reason only – I’m ashamed of my ridiculous body and I don’t like to take off my blindfold in front of anyone. The view under it is not very pleasant, it looks like scrambled eggs. I get anxious when I’m being scrutinized.

By the way, Paul Schlesinger says that the human condition can be characterized by a single word: worry.

I chose a compromise option: I didn’t give up swimming, but after it I stretched out on the sand quite far from her.
But still close enough to say hello.
And she answered me with a rather strange question:
– How did your parents die?

What is this woman? A ghost, a witch? Really, only a witch could convince me that I should write my resume!
I just stuck my head in the crack of the door and it reminded me that it was time to leave for New York. I haven’t been there since Edith died. In fact, I haven’t gone anywhere since then.
Hold on, New York, here I come! Awesome!

– Tell me how your parents died? she asked then, and I couldn’t believe my ears.
– Please? – I said.
– What’s the use of a “hello”?

She had gotten in my way.
“I always thought it was better than nothing,” I mumbled. – But I could be wrong
– What does “hello” mean?
– Greetings, what else?

“It’s not,” she shook her head. – Means “don’t tell me anything important”; means “I’m smiling, but I’m not listening, so you better go away”. Tell mom!
Have fun!

[1] Search for the woman (fr.) – a phrase from detective novels that expresses that the mystery can be solved after the fatal or beloved woman is found. – Bell. row

The article is in bulgaria

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