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Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

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Preface by Kurt Vonnegut

Winner of the American Library Association Notable Book Award

"Most diseases can be separated from one's self . . . schizophrenia is something we are." Those words are the beginning of Mark Vonnegut's extraordinary depiction of his two "crack-ups."

The Eden Express describes from the inside Mark Vonnegut's experience in the late '60s and early '70s—a recent college grad; in love; living communally on a farm, with a famous and doting father, cherished dog, and prized jalopy—and then the nervous breakdowns in all their slow-motion intimacy, the taste of mortality and opportunity for humor they provided, and the grim despair they afforded as well. That he emerged to write this funny and true book and then moved on to find the meaningful life that for a while had seemed beyond reach is what ultimately happens in The Eden Express. But the real story here is that throughout his harrowing experience his sense of humor let him see the humanity of what he was going through, and his gift of language let him describe it in such a moving way that others could begin to imagine both its utter ordinariness as well as the madness we all share.

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“One of the best books about going crazy. . . . Required reading for those who want to understand insanity from the inside.”

“Mark Vonnegut's remembrance of what it was like in the 1960s is not only a memoir about his loss of political and social innocence, and ours, but a surprisingly good-natured trip through his own head.”

“A remarkable book.”

“A painfully honest document of life in transition.”

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Born in 1922 in Indianapolis, Indiana, Kurt Vonnegut was one of the few grandmasters of modern American letters. Called by the New York Times “the counterculture’s novelist,” his works guided a generation through the miasma of war and greed that was life in the U.S. in second half of the 20th century. After stints as a soldier, anthropology PhD candidate, technical writer for General Electric, and salesman at a Saab dealership, Vonnegut rose to prominence with the publication of Cat’s Cradle in 1963. Several modern classics, including Slaughterhouse-Five, soon followed. Never quite embraced by the stodgier arbiters of literary taste, Vonnegut was nonetheless beloved by millions of readers throughout the world. “Given who and what I am,” he once said, “it has been presumptuous of me to write so well.” Kurt Vonnegut died in New York in 2007.