Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut 1922-2007

Hello everyone.

And I was having a great day...
Kurt Vonnegut dies at 84: paper

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - American literary idol Kurt Vonnegut, best known for such classic novels as "Slaughterhouse-Five" and "Cat's Cradle," died on Tuesday night in Manhattan at age 84, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

Longtime family friend, Morgan Entrekin, who reported Vonnegut's death, said the writer had suffered brain injuries as a result of a fall several weeks ago, the newspaper reported.

Vonnegut, born in Indianapolis in 1922, also wrote plays, essays and short fiction. But his novels -- 14 in all -- became classics of the American counterculture. He was a literary idol, particularly to students in the 1960s and 1970s, the Times said.

The defining moment of Vonnegut's life was the firebombing of Dresden, Germany by Allied Forces in 1945, an event he witnessed as a young prisoner of war, the newspaper said.

Dresden was the basis for "Slaughterhouse-Five," which was published in 1969 against the backdrop of war in Vietnam, racial unrest and cultural and social upheaval, the Times said.

Vonnegut became a cult hero when the novel reached No. 1 on best-seller lists, the article said, adding that some schools and libraries have banned the book because of its sexual content, rough language and depictions of violence.

The novel featured a signature Vonnegut phrase, "so it goes," which became a catch phrase for opponents of the Vietnam war.

After the book was published, Vonnegut went into severe depression and vowed never to write another novel. In 1984, he tried to take his life with sleeping pills and alcohol, the report said.

Vonnegut's books were a mixture of fiction and autobiography, prone to one-sentence paragraphs, exclamation points and italics, the report said.

Some critics said he had invented a new literary type and other accused him of repeating himself, of recycling themes and characters. Some readers found his work incoherent, the Times said.

"Cat's Cradle" was published in 1963 and although it initially sold only about 500 copies it is widely read today in high school English classes, the newspaper said.

Vonnegut's last book, published in 2005, was a collection of biographical essays, "A Man Without a Country." It, too, was a best seller, the newspaper said.

His first play, "Happy Birthday, Wanda June," opened Off Broadway in 1970 to mixed reviews and around the same time he separated from his first wife, Jane, the Times said.

Vonnegut, a fourth-generation German-American, is survived by his wife photographer Jill Krementz, their daughter and his six other children, the New York Times said.

Rest in peace, Kurt. Say hello to Kilgore Trout, Eliot Rosewater, and Bokonon for me wherever you end up.

Hi ho.

So it goes.

And so on.




Blogger Rob said...

I just realized that the two posts before this one mentioned Kurt Vonnegut either in the original post or in the comment section. Cue the Twilight Zone music...

11:17 PM, April 11, 2007  

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