Kurt Vonnegut died yesterday (announced today, I believe).
I worked in a library all through high school, and – while a fiendish reader – never touched Vonnegut. Breakfast of Champions was big then – I remember shelving it in the New Fiction section.
A book named after the Wheaties tagline? Sounds dopey to me…
My roommate in college – sophomore year – had a copy of Slaughterhouse-Five. I read it, as I’d read anything.
I was captivated.
Read a bunch of Vonnegut – not all, but a bunch.
Yes, the comparisons to Twain do hold up, yet he also divined basic truths – hard truths – more straightforwardly than Twain, who just used humor and juxtaposition.
“You’re still in touch. I guess that’s the test.”
“A psychiatrist could help. There’s a good man in Albany.”
Finnerty shook his head. “He’d pull me back into the center, and I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.” He nodded, “Big, undreamed-of things — the people on the edge see them first.”
— Kurt Vonnegut, Player Piano
Is there a better succinct comment on genius, and the madness that is often part and parcel of this brilliance? Probably, but this is damn, damn good.
I know you’re an atheist Kurt, but: God bless you, Mr.