Saturday, April 14, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut, one of America's greatest writers and one of my all-time favorites, died on Wednesday. He was 84.

The first of his books I read was Slaughterhouse-Five, like most other American schoolkids. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't until late in my college career that I became an avid fan. I thought he was clever, I thought he was funny, I thought he was smart. I probably didn't analyze his books the way the literary critics did. I wasn't reading them for the symbolism, I was reading them for the language, Vonnegut's unique way of stating the obvious and the unusual.

I went through my bookshelves last night and within minutes had 10 of his books collected. I can't find Slaughterhouse-Five - it's either hiding, I lent it to someone or I sold it in one of my ill-advised purges - but I have Timequake and Galapagos and Deadeye Dick and Cat's Cradle and others. I'm not going to re-read them right now. It's feels like it's too soon. But they'll be sitting there, waiting for me. Waiting to make me laugh and think and dream of being a writer.

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