Kurt Vonnegut, the satirical novelist who captured the absurdity of war and questioned the advances of science in darkly humorous works such as “Slaughterhouse-Five” and “Cat’s Cradle,” died Wednesday. He was 84.
The Earth just got lighter.
I can’t tell what you actually mean by that, but I’ll read it as condolences. Of course, you could mean he was a heavy-hitter in the figurative, but literary sense.
Farewell to a great author.
Yea, he was great. When I was in school there were few cooler books one could be seen carrying around than a Vonnegut novel. And for good reason; they were/are great books. Too bad he didn’t write that phoney commencement address that was attributed to him. It was pretty funny.
As for his pessimism, it’s hard to blame him. The world does seem to have a lot of virtually insurmountable problems, from global warming and ever increasing reliance on ever shrinking reserves of fossil fuels, to religious and ethnic conflicts, terrorism, aids, etc. I refuse to accept his conclusion that it’s hopeless and the end is near, but perhaps I just don’t want to think about such things as closely as he did. And, given his background, one can’t blame him for his perspective.
(For example, he personally witnessed the Allied firebombing of Dresden in WWII, a horrific war crime if there ever was one. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of … rld_War_II Something like that would be bound to leave an impression.)
Anyway, sorry to see him go. He was a great man.
So it went.
We’ll all be dead soon.
Vonnegut did some volunteer work in Africa. I am surprised that he never choose to write (much) about that. From what he did write, it affected him deeply.
It’s funny, that while I respect his writing and have read many of his books, over and over (Hocus Pocus being my favorite and I reread that thing in college like a chainsmoking junky) it was his sense of humor and NOT his pessimism that entranced me.
Yes, so it has gone.
Losing him and Hunter S. Thompson is like losing two good friends who always understood what WAS happening while everyone
else was wondering what just happened. Sometimes you need weather vanes to see which way the wind blows.
For the pure humor…I’ve yet to encounter a better written, laugh-out-loud book than “Breakfast of Champions”.
He will be sorely missed.
“Make me young!”
So it goes.
But I still can’t stop feeling sad.
I’ve always wanted to read some of his stuff. What are your personal favorites? What would you recommend?
Slaughterhouse Five’s at the top of my list.
That’s a tough one…I’d go in the following order:
- Breakfast of Champions
- Cat’s Cradle
- Hocus Pocus
- Slaughterhouse five
Hocus Pocus (by far the best imho; it was written on scraps of paper and typed up by his secretary)
essays:Fates Worse than Death
I read most of them when I was learning to speedread in college, so I read them mulitple times back to back.
He wrote real purtylike.
I came across this last night. Seems to capture his pov well.
[quote=“Kurt Vonnegut: In Memory of 9/11 Firefighters at ‘A Light in the Night’”] In the entire history of the Fire Department of the City of New York, I have been told, about seven hundred firefighters have lost their lives in the line of duty. ‘‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’’ So says the Bible. After the calamity of September eleventh, the New York Post asked me for a comment. And I said, ‘‘I can think of no more stirring symbol of man’s humanity to man than a fire truck.’’
I myself had my life and our house saved by our local firefighters two years ago. Engine Company 8, Ladder Company 2, Battalion 8. Whether some who did that for me and my wife Jill and our daughter Lily are dead now, I have not dared to ask.
The body of my speech, such as it is, is a sort of a prayer Some of you may want to bow your heads. That’s optional. OK, so here we go:
Chief Tom DeAngelis, dead at fifty. Captain Fred Ill, dead at forty-seven. Firefighter Mike Clarke, dead at twenty-seven, the kid of the bunch. Firefighter George DePasquale, dead at thirty-four. Firefighter Dan Harlin, dead at fifty-two. Firefighter Tom McCann, dead at forty-one. Firefighter Carl Molinaro, dead at thirty-two. Firefighter Dennis Milligan, dead at thirty-two. Firefighter Rob Parro, dead at thirty-five. And Firefighter Dennis Germain, dead at thirty-two.
All but two left widows and children. Firefighter Carl Molinaro left a widow and a son Carl only two months old, and a daughter age two. Sabrina Molinaro.
Now the first names alone: Tom, Fred, Mike, Dennis, George, Dan, another Tom, Carl and another Dennis. Thank you, sirs. God bless you. Amen.
Thus ends my prayer. I have only one further thought, which is this one: It is daylight in Afghanistan. There are many unwelcome fires there, and, many, many human beings are trying to put them out.
And I thank you for your attention.[/quote]
Vonnegut’s last writing was done here.
This from the article Cold Turkey:
But I’ll tell you one thing: I once had a high that not even crack cocaine could match. That was when I got my first driver’s license! Look out, world, here comes Kurt Vonnegut.
And my car back then, a Studebaker, as I recall, was powered, as are almost all means of transportation and other machinery today, and electric power plants and furnaces, by the most abused and addictive and destructive drugs of all: fossil fuels.
When you got here, even when I got here, the industrialized world was already hopelessly hooked on fossil fuels, and very soon now there won’t be any more of those. Cold turkey.
Can I tell you the truth? I mean this isn’t like TV news, is it?
Here’s what I think the truth is: We are all addicts of fossil fuels in a state of denial, about to face cold turkey.
And like so many addicts about to face cold turkey, our leaders are now committing violent crimes to get what little is left of what we’re hooked on.[/quote]
Sorry to see him go. He’s always been one of my faves. I love his skewed view of things and his humour.