Evan Kessler Dot Com

The Home of the Brave

So It Goes…Kurt Vonnegut 1922-2007

Posted by evankessler on April 13, 2007

Last night after the Pub Quiz win I was doing a little internet perusal when I noticed a headline on Yahoo! that read “Influential Author Vonnegut Dies at 84”. My heart was instantly filled with the sort of weight one might feel upon losing a close friend or acquaintance. I hadn’t read anything by Kurt Vonnegut until my freshmen year of college. I wasn’t necessarily a big reader beforehand. Sure, I had done the reading required me in High School and developed a fondness for books like JD Salinger’s Catcher In The Rye and Erich Maria Remarqe’s All Quiet on The Western Front, but it really wasn’t until I read books like Slaughterhouse Five, Cat’s Cradle, and Hocus Pocus that I really understood why I like them.

Kurt Vonnegut wrote stories that retained an air of simplicity no matter how complicated the plot became. They showed you that no matter how convoluted and crazy things can get the heart of the matter was much more basic than everything else going on around it. There always seemed to be a basic humanistic element at the core of every fantastical tale and a razor sharp wit lampooning those who ran counter to the ideals being set forth. Now, I haven’t had the luxury of having read all of his stories and I’m not the most learned Vonnegut scholar, but I can tell you that every time I finished reading one of his books I fell a little bit more in love with literature. I did have the luxury of getting to hear him speak one year at Syracuse University. I was delighted to get a chance to witness his impeccable sense of humor and wisdom in person. I even managed to get a book signed, which is certainly something that I will hold dear. Most of all I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to connect with his writing and be both enlightened and entertained. I feel much more enriched having done so. Mr. Vonnegut you will be missed… so it goes.


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