And So it Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life
The first authoritative biography of Kurt Vonnegut Jr., a writer who changed the conversation of American literature
In 2006, Charles Shields reached out to Kurt Vonnegut in a letter, asking for his endorsement for a planned biography. The first response was no ("A most respectful demurring by me for the excellent writer Charles J. Shields, who offered to be my biographer...more
The depth and breadth of research that went into this is staggering. I read mo ...more
The major problem in this book though is that Shields appears to hate Kurt Vonnegut. He seems like a man who h ...more
The face that peers out at you from the cover is immeasurably sad. It’s the face of a man in middle age weighed down by lifetimes of tragedy. The man — one of the most remarkable novelists of the 20th century — is Kurt Vonnegut, known throughout much of his adult life as Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
In And So It Goes, Charles J. Shields plumbs the depths of Vonnegut’s sadness. He began work shortly before Vonnegut’s death in 2006 and conducted lengthy inter ...more
Nice to find out that my favorite Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan was possibly his favorite. he says that it ...more
I first became aware of Kurt Vonnegut when I was serving in the Navy and in the middle of a long and tedious WestPac cruise, surrounded by the absurdity of military life and a pointless, murderous (sound familiar?) war. Much to the cha ...more
I would like to say that I loved it because of its anti-war message, its clever non-linear narrative, its wonderful humor, and its cynicism, but, in truth, I loved it primarily because it was the first time I ever saw the word "motherfucker" in a book.
Vonnegut killed my innocence. So be it.
I have been an unabashed Vonnegut ...more
And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life is an "authorized" biography of Vonnegut. In 2006, having just pu ...more
In 2006, Charles Shields reached out to Kurt Vonnegut in a letter, asking for his endorsement for a planned biography. The first response was no ("A most respectful demurring by me for the excellent writer Charles J. Shields, who offered to be my biographer"). Unwilling to take no for an answer, propelled by a passion for his subject, and already deep into his research, Shields wr ...more
Most of Vonnegut's works have had some degree of autobiographical content in them, and Shields' account of Vonnegut's life and relationships is nothing new. But what Shields does exceptionally well is talk about it objectively, and the impact those events had on Vonnegut himself, and how that impacted his novels and ...more
I’ve been a massive Kurt Vonnegut fan for the better part of my life. I was never assigned to read him in high school, instead, I picked up a copy of God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater on my own in my freshman year of college and instantly craved more. I think my favorite part of any Vonnegut story is how he writes the story: the odd breaks, th ...more
Unfortunately for Vonnegut fans, they will not like everything they read. His life is not about kindness, wealth distribution or any other topic of his novels. He seems to be barely getting through the day. Vonnegut's treatment of his first wife Jane was so appalling that you almost ap ...more
The tone is matter-of-fact, and bright, unlike so many of the mo ...more
Charles Shields' 'And So It Goes' is the first 'authorized' biography of Kurt Vonnegut. Authorized, in that he did get approval from his subject to write a biography and he interviewed him for a few hours and met him on a couple of occasions, the last just a few hours before Vonnegut suffered a fall that resulted in his death a few days later in April of 2007. Previous to this book, almost all that we have had of biographical import has come from Vonnegut himself as presented in au ...more
I read biographies to learn the awful truth about the people I admire so that I stop admiring them and just think of them as venal human beings. Shields's workmanlike (and by that, I mean "not particular ...more
It turns out Vonnegut was an asshole. This, in and of itself, is not too surprising, but it is disappointing to see the contrast between the values he espoused and t ...more
The good thing about a writer's biography is you can put a tick or cross next to any guesses you have about his life. Few who read Vonnegut will suppose that he was an affable, teetotal, non-smoker ...more
He grew up in the Midwest and taught in a rural school in central Illinois for several years. He has been a reporter for public radio, a journali ...more