It was good to find that people share my enthusiasm for Kurt Vonnegut. He has a clever knack of cutting through to his readers which is, I would argue, rooted in a great respect for and sympathy with them.
A bit like Dickens, or some avuncular old relative, he makes a habit of taking you by the hand and walking you round his stories. No matter how strange or far-out his subject matter, it becomes as real as something you have experienced yourself. And just like Dickens he’s always there beside you – commentating, wise-cracking, drawing little morals – infuriating, I guess, if you prefer an author to be unobtrusive and fiction to be like looking out through a clear window.
Kurt can’t keep quiet.
There was much more to it than simple technique, however, because above all Kurt Vonnegut cared about what he wrote. He burned with moral anger – a permanent outrage at the folly and hypocrisy of a society, a world, which blighted lives that could have been happy and fulfilled. The sense of a paradise lost when it is so close to being found is, for me, what makes his writing so poignant.
Humour is perspective, it’s often said, and we would surely be all be the poorer without Kurt Vonnegut’s wry vision. If you’d like to read a little more (a concise two-page article) about how he brought style and personality to his writing, just click on the following link.
And finally, a flavour of the man:
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different.I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.