Aaron Schmidt's Reviews > Deadeye Dick

Deadeye Dick by Kurt Vonnegut
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Jan 22, 12

Read from January 21 to 22, 2012

Having read two works where the narrative seemed to be anything but traditional, it was interesting to read something that was a little more traditional. By the end of the novel, it was clear that the contemplation of the traditional narrative itself is what gave the book its power.

The story started a little old and stilted, set a half-century ago and about people who aren't very relatable, even to those in the town in which they reside. But the more you come to know the narrator, all of that seems all the more justified. Told from the point of view of a child raised by incapable parents and made just as much a victim as the woman he killed, Deadeye Dick tells a story while a story is being told. Narrative details tumble forward, unfurling from every intersection of action and character, moving in the way you'd expect an informal oral history to move.

I found myself wondering what exactly I liked about the book because a third of the way in I was definitely invested in a story in which I probably didn't have much reason to be invested. It's the way stories are communicated, or more importantly remembered, that is so authentic. Stories stop and start only where they are important to the narrator, which seems like common sense, but given Vonnegut's previous works and the fact that the grand plot device of a neutron bomb explosion. It's the things that aren't said that become a commentary on narrative. Finally, the consideration of the proper end of things is the culmination of this commentary. Rudy considers the stories of a few people in his life, and wonders about where THE END should have been written. He goes on to sympathize with these characters whose narrative lives were prolonged by epilogue, a tragedy because these characters have already lived as much as they were going to live. This short passage was what crystallized a central assertion and my enjoyment of the book.
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Reading Progress

01/21/2012 page 22
8.0% "Very glad to have a little more narrative. Interestingly, though, the halting observational power seems to punctuate itself nevertheless."
01/21/2012 page 106
39.0% "It's a testament to Vonnegut that I can find anything relatable in the person of the son of a trust-fund Nazi-sympathizing idiot, who accidentally kills a pregnant woman. But the fact that I can identify with subtleties of the loss of innocence and family illusions is pretty amazing."
01/21/2012 page 106
39.0% "It's a testament to Vonnegut that I can find anything relatable in the person of the son of a trust-fund Nazi-sympathizing idiot, who accidentally kills a pregnant woman. But the fact that I can identify with subtleties of the loss of innocence and family illusions is pretty amazing."
01/21/2012 page 106
39.0% "It's a testament to Vonnegut that I can find anything relatable in the person of the son of a trust-fund Nazi-sympathizing idiot, who accidentally kills a pregnant woman. But the fact that I can identify with subtleties of the loss of innocence and family illusions is pretty amazing."
01/21/2012 page 114
42.0% ""You mustn't take it seriously," he said. "It's all bunk. This is as much Shangri-La as anywhere." Now, at the age of fifty, I believe this to be true."
01/21/2012 page 114
42.0% ""You mustn't take it seriously," he said. "It's all bunk. This is as much Shangri-La as anywhere." Now, at the age of fifty, I believe this to be true."

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