Wednesday, April 11, 2007

"Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt"

It is amazingly rare for me to read an entire novel through more than once. There are novels I have read that I say to myself, "In a few years perhaps I'll read that again," that will probably do nothing else for me but sit and look impressive on my bookshelves. Kurt Vonnegut is the only author where I have read not one, but two novels, more than once ("Breakfast of Champions" and "Slaughterhouse Five").

Vonnegut did nothing new and exciting with language - nothing obtuse or fancy. All Vonnegut did was write stories that snuck up, tied your shoelaces together, and then made a sudden noise for you to fall right over. I laughed (particularly at the author being chased by an irrate doberman in B of C"), I cried (the war film Billy Pilgrim watches backward I regard as one of the high points of my reading life), I sighed in frustration with Eliot Rosewater, Kilgore Trout, Eugene Debs Hartke, and Rabo Karabekian, and I look forward to meeting the rest of the inhabitants of Vonnegut's imagination.

Kurt Vonnegut has died at 84. So it goes.

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