Get NPL COVID-19 closure information.
Holds on physical items have been suspended; while the library is closed we encourage you to check out our electronic resources.

We are what we pretend to be: the first and last works

Book Cover
Average Rating
Varies, see individual formats and editions
Pub. Date:
Called "our finest black-humorist" by The Atlantic Monthly , Kurt Vonnegut was one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. Now his first and last works come together for the first time in print, in a collection aptly titled after his famous phrase, We Are What We Pretend To Be . Written to be sold under the pseudonym of "Mark Harvey," Basic Training was never published in Vonnegut's lifetime. It appears to have been written in the late 1940s and is therefore Vonnegut's first ever novella. It is a bitter, profoundly disenchanted story that satirizes the military, authoritarianism, gender relationships, parenthood and most of the assumed mid-century myths of the family. Haley Brandon, the adolescent protagonist, comes to the farm of his relative, the old crazy who insists upon being called The General, to learn to be astraight-shooting American. Haley's only means of survival will lead him to unflagging defiance of the General's deranged (but oh so American, oh so military) values. This story and its thirtyish author were no friends of the milieu to which the slick magazines' advertisers were pitching their products. When Vonnegut passed away in 2007, he left his last novel unfinished. Entitled If God Were Alive Today , this last work is a brutal satire on societal ignorance and carefree denial of the world's major problems. Protagonist Gil Berman is a middle-aged college lecturer and self-declared stand-up comedian who enjoys cracking jokes in front of a college audience while societal dependence on fossil fuels has led to the apocalypse. Described by Vonnegut as, "the stand-up comedian on Doomsday," Gil is a character formed from Vonnegut's own rich experiences living in areality Vonnegut himself considered inevitable. Along with the two works of fiction, Vonnegut's daughter, Nanette shares reminiscences about her father and commentary on these two works--both exclusive to this edition.

In this fiction collection, published in print for the first time, exist Vonnegut's grand themes: trust no one, trust nothing; and the only constants are absurdity and resignation, which themselves cannot protect us from the void but might divert.
Also in This Series
More Like This
More Details
Reviews from GoodReads
Loading GoodReads Reviews.
Staff View

Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID 18bf4662-39d2-3464-3e0f-0f410c5dab6c
Grouping Title we are what we pretend to be the first and last works
Grouping Author vonnegut kurt
Grouping Category book
Last Grouping Update 2020-05-31 22:53:41PM
Last Indexed 2020-05-30 23:57:19PM

Solr Details

accelerated_reader_point_value 0
accelerated_reader_reading_level 0
author Vonnegut, Kurt.
author_display Vonnegut, Kurt
available_at_catalog East
collection_catalog Fiction
detailed_location_catalog East - Adult Fiction
Madison - Adult Fiction
display_description A posthumous double volume of the influential author's first and last written works, published to coincide with the 90th anniversary of his birth, includes the bitter satire "Basic training" and the unfinished final novel "If God were alive today"
format_catalog Book
format_category_catalog Books
id 18bf4662-39d2-3464-3e0f-0f410c5dab6c
isbn 9781593157432
Bib IdItem IdShelf LocCall NumFormatFormat CategoryNum CopiesIs Order ItemIs eContenteContent SourceeContent FileeContent URLsubformatDetailed StatusLast CheckinLocationSub-location
ils:CARL0000398517 35192043079742 East - Adult Fiction Fiction Vonnegu 1 false false On Shelf EA
ils:CARL0000398517 35192043079775 Madison - Adult Fiction Fiction Vonnegu 1 false false Checked Out MA
overdrive:d4e38cf4-10d4-4761-9aec-8d40ac91579c -1 Online OverDrive Collection Online OverDrive eBook eBook 1 false true OverDrive Adobe EPUB eBook, OverDrive Read Available Online
last_indexed 2020-05-31T04:57:19.243Z
lexile_score -1
literary_form Fiction
literary_form_full Fiction
local_callnumber_catalog Fiction Vonnegu
owning_library_catalog Nashville Public Library
owning_location_catalog East
Madison Kids
primary_isbn 9781593157432
publishDate 2012
Bib IdFormatFormat CategoryEditionLanguagePublisherPublication DatePhysical Description
ils:CARL0000398517 Book Books English Vanguard Press, 2012. xiii, 161 p. ; 22 cm.
overdrive:d4e38cf4-10d4-4761-9aec-8d40ac91579c eBook eBook English Vanguard Press 2012
recordtype grouped_work
Bib IdItem IdGrouped StatusStatusLocally OwnedAvailableHoldableBookableIn Library Use OnlyLibrary OwnedHoldable PTypesBookable PTypesLocal Url
ils:CARL0000398517 35192043079742 On Shelf On Shelf false true true false false true
ils:CARL0000398517 35192043079775 Checked Out Checked Out false false true false false true
overdrive:d4e38cf4-10d4-4761-9aec-8d40ac91579c -1 Available Online Available Online false true true false false false
subject_facet College teachers -- Fiction
Farm life -- Fiction
title_display We are what we pretend to be : the first and last works
title_full We Are What We Pretend to Be The First and Last Works
We are what we pretend to be : the first and last works / Kurt Vonnegut
title_short We are what we pretend to be :
title_sub the first and last works
topic_facet College teachers
Farm life