This book is about money. Eliot Rosewater, who has inherited the Rosewater fortune, abandons his meaningless rich life and moves to a backwater town in Indiana, to live among and love the poor. The reader cheers on Eliot’s actions in theory, which are far preferable to “the Republicans”, but Eliot’s idealism, while often quite funny, is also crazy.
By dispensing small amounts of cash and advice, Eliot becomes a messiah for these people, who come to depend on him completely, crying in the streets when he leaves to deal with a lawsuit that threatens to take his fortune from him. The town of Rosewater displays their loyalty to their real messiah when they are bought off to discredit Eliot, but he gives them his fortune anyway.
Kilgore Trout also makes an appearance, and explains Eliot’s behavior as a grand experiment – to see and love and find meaning in humans who no longer have purpose in a modern society. Another wonderful Vonnegut narrative of satire, dark humor, and the tragic human experience.
“There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”