Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut, R. I. P.

Some people will remember that Vonnegut was, among other things, a Gold Medal author. Not as much read now as he was 40 years ago, but his works still resonate with me. There's a nice tribute in Salon.

Kurt Vonnegut: 1922 ~ 2007
Author's dark humor captivated generations | Chicago Tribune
: "Kurt Vonnegut, whose dark comic talent and urgent moral vision in novels like 'Slaughterhouse-Five,' 'Cat's Cradle' and 'God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater' caught the temper of his times and the imagination of a generation, died Wednesday night in New York City. He was 84.

His death was reported by Morgan Entrekin, a longtime family friend, who said Vonnegut suffered brain injuries as a result of a fall several weeks ago.

Vonnegut wrote plays, essays and short fiction. But it was his novels that became classics of the American counterculture, making him a literary idol, particularly to students in the 1960s and '70s.

Like Mark Twain, Vonnegut used humor to tackle the basic questions of human existence: Why are we in this world? Is there a presiding figure to make sense of all this, a god who in the end, despite making people suffer, wishes them well?"


Anonymous said...

Sad news, I enjoyed his writing. Hope this finds you well, Bill.

Todd Mason said...

One of the best sf writers, with THE SIRENS OF TITAN one of the best sf novels so far, and one of the best mimetic-fiction writers, with BLUEBEARD a masterpiece about the autumn of an artist; quite the essayist and reviewer, as well. It'd be a hell of a thing if even SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE hadn't outsold BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS yet, and the latter not even having boosted Theodore Sturgeon's career too much...but if Vonnegut's weakest novel (though I haven't read TIMEQUAKE yet, and SLAPSTICK has a claim) managed to be his most widel-distributed, that would only be too perfect.

Benjie said...

I must admit that I've been more a fan of Vonnegut's short fiction, mainly because of time issues. I've been meaning to read Player Piano and Timequake for years. There goes another of America's great voices.