Kurt Vonnegut is in Heaven Now

I have to break my current work-imposed silence to write about Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Words on the book-jackets read,
Kurt Vonnegut is among the few grandmasters of American letters, one without whom the very term American literature would mean much less than it does.

American letters means a little less today. His books will always mean a lot to me. You can pick up any book and start on any page, you will be amused and entertained, and still have learned something. His books are rambling, often without a real thread. You don't read Vonnegut, it reads you. They will change the way you view the world without bullying you about it. Vonnegut wanted us to be humans and simply do the decent thing. Life is hard, shit happens, people are mean, things don't turn out the way they do. Kurt knew it too, as he battled depression for a number of years. But, he had the grace to understand and tell us not to forget to enjoy drinking lemonade under the shade of a tree. He said, "If this isn't nice, what is?"

It is always interesting to walk in a bookstore and see where they place Kurt Vonnegut's books. I always felt that there should a separate section called "Vonnegut". He gave us a few of the most colorful characters in fiction, famously the best-selling, but unknown sci-fi writer - Kilgore Trout.

Vonnegut said the villains in his books were never individuals, but culture, society and history, which he said were making a mess of the planet. Perhaps now Vonnegut will know if the following statement, one that he often made, is true:
"Life is no way to treat an animal".

Previous posts on Kurt Vonnegut:
Man Without a Country. Hear Kurt talks about his books and life in a recent interview on NPR.

Slaughter House Five

For a humanist the thought of being in heaven after death is a big joke. When asked about Issac Asimov, a past president of the American Humanist Society, he often joked, "Issac is in heaven now." Wish Kurt a good time with Issac up there!

3 comments:

Ashutosh said...

Fitting, succint memorial. I still haven't read SF in detail. I got it from the library and sort of skimmed through it, but had to return it because I couldn't find the time. Must do it now.

Sinfully Pinstripe said...

Wonderful piece. Thanks for it.

And yeah, thanks, too, Mr. Vonnegut.

Suchi said...

I love his writing! Thanks for the post :)