Kurt Vonnegut has Come Unstuck in Time

I’m sure writer Kurt Vonnegut would find it bleakly amusing to see that I quoted him in a silly context a few days ago in a posting, only to find out tonight that he is dead at age 84. Then again, while Vonnegut might see it as  comedic, his death is a great loss.

Read the Times obituary, sure, but it’s not that funny — actually, it’s not funny at all — so go read one of his books. The early ones are best, and I am particularly fond of Cat’s Cradle and Slaughterhouse-Five, but make your own choices and honor this funny, talented, sad and demented writer who is now gone.

Best Vonnegut quote I’ve come across tonight come from his son, Mark Vonnegut, defending his father in a 2005 Boston Globe editorial:

Kurt loves to be gloomy and tragic. It’s a loss to him that his life
has mostly gone so well. He envies Twain and Lincoln their literary
talents, but also their dead children. If my sisters and I were a
little more devoted, we would have drawn straws.


  1. Slaughterhouse 5 is one of the best books of the century, a big statement I know, but I think it is. I only know him because one of my friends spent about 8 years in New York as a kid, and he brought the love home. KV was not really that widely read in Europe until about 10 years ago.

  2. That’s terrible news. Kurt Vonnegut was a literary giant — at least in my universe. And I would agree that Slaughterhouse Five is one of the best books of the past 50 years at least, and Cat’s Cradle is right up there, not to mention Breakfast of Champions and Player Piano. I’ve read them all, some of them several times, and they just keep getting better. I read his son Mark’s book Eden Express too, about his struggle with mental illness — fascinating book.

  3. A loss for all…the sort of author who’s writing had the power to make you look that everything just a little differently (anyone remember ICE 9? Classic.)…and a life to be celebrated for sure.

  4. “…one of the best books of the past 50 years at least” is not that interesting to me. I prefer Shakespeare on the theory of why drink plonk when you can drink a great wine. Sorry.

  5. Er, um, Paul, your photo does make you look young but your not a male 16-24 are you? You did say you were a big fan of Vonnegut.

  6. Sadly, not a male 16-24. And it’s been a decade++ since I was …