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The Tragic Death of Kurt Vonnegut

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message 1: by Jessie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:58AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jessie I have a handful of favorite authors, and now they are all officially dead. Kurt Vonnegut was the last. He's probably hanging with Hunter S. Thompson somewhere, laughing at all of us.


message 2: by Kecia (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:58AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kecia Nooooo! This is the first I heard of his passing!

Back in the 80s I read everything Vonnegut wrote that I could get my hands on. He helped shape my view of the world. I even left the church of my ancestry and became a Unitarian Universalist largely due to Vonnegut's influence.

So it goes.


message 3: by Megan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:33PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Megan Ivy, I'm with you, he has totally shaped my world (read everything he'd written between 15-20)and continues to. Just read 'Man Without a Country', and his non-fiction is most inspiring. I now consider myself to be a Humanist because of his influence!


Steve Merrick KV is simply one of the finest writers our species ever produced, I love his work and find myself sslightly saddened that no more new Vonnegut books will be grabbed enthusiastically by my sweaty exited paws....

He is missed....


Zach Irvin He's not dead. He just came unstuck in time.


Kirby Zach wrote: "He's not dead. He just came unstuck in time."

ha ha- I like that, makes me feel better! :)


Michael Brown Vonnegut had the same skill the equally marvellous Bradbury has - a knack of putting invisible words in his sentences so that the deceptively simple whole is even more wonderful than the parts. Looks easy and I've tried to do it - trouble is, it's not remotely easy at all, it's a kind of genius.


Kressel Housman All you Vonnegut fans might want to check out his son's book, The Eden Express. It's a memoir of his hippie life in the 60's, including his mental breakdown.


message 9: by Robert (last edited Feb 10, 2012 06:24PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Robert Kirby wrote: "hey, I doubt anyone cares, but I'm so excited I wanna tell someone! I just got these shirts, and I think they're awesome! :)

http://www.zazzle.com/kurt_vonnegut_s...

http://ww..."


One may be awesome, but one is surely awful. There is a difference.

First one (so it goes / *) is extremely vulgar and based on first one of his best (S-5 "A-plus" no problem) , then one of his two worst efforts (BofC "C", Slapstick "D" see Palm Sunday, itself only a "C"), that Vonnegut himself deprecated afterward. Most people won't know what "*" means anyway and I wonder about anyone who feels smarter because he or she does. There are so many other fine bits to use, why waste a shirt one this one. I would hate to have to explain "*" to someone that did not know what it was, that is, if I were hoping to attract new readers to Vonnegut's work. The vulgar bits work much better in context than in a non-Vonnegut reading stranger's face. Why not let that one stay a nice little surprise for new readers?

I would not start that someone or anyone out on Breakfast of Champions, that's for sure. I put it down, having read Slaughterhouse-Five previously, not too far in unimpressed by the facile content up to that point. In spite of that, last year I started to read all the novels yet unread more or less in order after re-starting with Cat's Cradle, and all the available short stories thanks to the sudden burst in unpublished story collections (with just a few in Bagombo Snuff Box left to go) along with the Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons essay book. Finished the last novel Timequake today (10Feb2012) which I would also not recommend as first read but would not deprecate either, rather it is a treat for those who read most of the rest first. This sweep included the rest of Breakfast of Champions. It got better but it still deserves the relative ranking Vonnegut gave it. I am not sure that the positions of Slapstick and Breakfast of Champions should not be reversed. I would hope if he had graded his works after Jailbird ("A") on the same scale that most would be "A" (possible A-plus for Bluebeard) and none lower than "B".


Second one ("..nothing hurt") is fine.
------------------------------------------------
Note: "So it goes" and "Hi Ho" both appear in novels written before the novels for which they are best known, (Slaughterhouse-Five and Slapstick respectively) just not used as heavily. I mention this because there is an article out somewhere citing "so it goes" as being invented in Slaughterhouse-Five.



message 10: by Zach (new) - rated it 5 stars

Zach Irvin A lot of Vonnegut is vulgar. I like the idea of having an asshole on a shirt. It makes me chuckle. I also liked Breakfast of Champion, though.


Robert Kirby wrote: "Robert wrote: "I wonder about anyone who feels smarter because he or she does."


*
:P"


That might well describe the person I wonder about.


message 12: by Robert (last edited Feb 10, 2012 06:49PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Robert Zach wrote: "A lot of Vonnegut is vulgar. I like the idea of having an asshole on a shirt. It makes me chuckle. I also liked Breakfast of Champion, though."

Then maybe you might be interested in a load of Dick Cheny shirts left over from the 2004 campaign. Never made me chuckle though.

If I have a point, it is that there is great Vonnegut vulgarity and also lesser examples that might be confused with, say, Adam Sandler, out of context, and it this case none too impressive in context.


message 13: by Robert (last edited Feb 10, 2012 06:46PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Robert Ivy's Mom wrote: "Nooooo! This is the first I heard of his passing!

Back in the 80s I read everything Vonnegut wrote that I could get my hands on. He helped shape my view of the world. I even left the church o..."


And he died at the same age he chose for Kilgore Trout in Timequake back in 1996 without the help of him intentionally closing his own peephole. (In Timequake Trout dies on Labor Day in 2001.)


message 14: by Robert (last edited Feb 10, 2012 07:21PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Robert Kirby wrote: "I wonder about anyone who's so arrogant as to make completely baseless assumptions about another person b/c of a t-shirt preference. I can assure you that you're not as insightful as you seem to b..."

It seems you fell into the "if the shoe fits" trap which was not my idea at all. I only wrote "I wonder about anyone who would feel smarter", with deliberate abstraction, that is, without specifying you, or that your excitement was based on anything in particular, only that I was not so excited about one of the designs after considering its merits from the points of view of one who knew what it was, and others that did not. And as to insults, what should I make of your reply that repeats the "*" then an emoticon of a tongue sticking out? I gave you the benefit of the doubt on that believe it or not. Surely you are not the person I wonder about. That shirt is surely a conversation starter, and if the wearer is very careful not a fist fight starter.


message 15: by Robert (last edited Feb 07, 2014 06:09PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Robert That is probably because something was not there before a subsequent edit.

Even if, especially if, someone knows what it means, it might still invite the question of an unwritten preface such as "I'm a", "You're a", "Everyone but me is", or "The world is ", etc on the part of the wearer. Having the immortal "So it goes" above helps.

I continue to be unsure that the best way to interest random people in Vonnegut's writing is to be explaining "He's GREAT, he drew a sphincter in a style becoming a first grader and put in a novel! Wow!" I think many of his other sketches are really good, especially the self-portraits.

No one has to agree with him at all, and bunch of them are posting here and on Amazon. Listen: on the last page of chapter 1 (when "Preface" should have been used) he calls Slaughterhouse-Five "a failure". He corrects this in Palm Sunday to "A-plus". So which remark is really his last word on anything he writes, apart from being the most recent, and there will be no more since his peephole is now closed? He also writes somewhere that he hates his books, only lets his wife review them for his benefit, and asks her to keep the results to herself. So it goes.

Can't take all of it too seriously considering the liberty he takes with Kilgore Trout in Jailbird.

Not much of a surprise to spoil there, a trait of Breakfast of Champions in general compared with the others, which is how Vonnegut graded them. Now if you gave away the ending to Bluebeard without warning, that would be serious!

Note: While "so it goes" appears in an earlier work, if less significant as a device in the earlier work, "Listen:" seems to appear first in .


Robert Jessie wrote: "I have a handful of favorite authors, and now they are all officially dead. Kurt Vonnegut was the last. He's probably hanging with Hunter S. Thompson somewhere, laughing at all of us."

Can't help thinking that Thomson would start mouthing off violently then whip out one (or two!) of his many guns, when Vonnegut would just leave the room as he did on earth when faced with open hostility in public. Does that all get smoothed out "up in Heaven"? They could sure have an intense discussion about styles of peephole closing.


message 17: by E.P. (new) - rated it 5 stars

E.P. Rose No,no, no. Not tragic. A wonderful life and a legacy of supremely joyful immortal work.


Luís  Azevedo Zach wrote: "He's not dead. He just came unstuck in time."

Ahahah Good one!


message 19: by Pat (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pat The main character in "Room Four" by AJ Knauss is a guy named Jerry who to me is a cross between Hunter S. Thompson and Vonnegut. Very irreverent but deep. RIP Vonnegut.


Feliks Not tragic at all. He lived a long life surrounded by a loving family. He contributed in significant ways --both materially and intellectually--to his society. 'Tragedy' in death is dying young.


Michael Brown It's often felt to me (so far with the benefit of not having yet died obviously) that tragedy in death is dying before you've really lived. I think Vonnegut managed to avoid that dilemma adequately enough.


message 22: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John Rachel Blinders Keepers by John Rachel

My publisher compares me to Kurt Vonnegut. Then it came up again in this review on Amazon yesterday ... http://www.amazon.com/review/R2F16AWM...

Though I doubt that I deserve the honor, it sure is flattering being compared to such a great writer, one of my personal favorites.

Anyway, if any of you would be interested in reviewing my new novel, I'll be happy to send you a copy of the ebook. Whether my writing is comparable or not, I'm definitely more Vonnegut than Jackie Collins or Dan Brown.

Please let me know if you're interested. Send me an email specifying the ebook format you prefer ... Kindle, EPUB or PDF.

johndrachel2008@gmail.com


Meighan Thank you Kressel. I look forward to reading KV's son's book Eden Express. I hadn't known about it before. I wonder if it is his Doctor son who he mentions in Man Without a Country. Just curious. Just love KV. What a person. What a humanist!

Long Live Earth by Meighan Morrison


Kressel Housman Yes, it's the same person. In the 60's, Mark was a hippie and had a bout with schizophrenia. He recovered and became a doctor himself. He's every bit as interesting as his father.


Meighan Thanks again - really looking forward to reading MV's Eden Express. Sounds fascinating.


Erika Jessie wrote: "I have a handful of favorite authors, and now they are all officially dead. Kurt Vonnegut was the last. He's probably hanging with Hunter S. Thompson somewhere, laughing at all of us."

Well, did Vonnegut really believe in an afterlife? I'd like to think he's resting peacefully underground, having successfully left behind a legacy of artwork and children.


Gabriela Popa Recently I came across "The Writer's Image: Literary Portraits" by Vonnegut's wife Jill Krementz. Some very interesting photos of many writers including Vonnegut. Just the most casual images of people who happen to be writers. Unfortunately the book is out of print, but it's in libraries.

On amazon here
http://www.amazon.com/The-Writers-Ima...


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