Kurt Vonnegut, one of, if not my favorite, authors, passed away last night. An incredible loss. Discovering Vonnegut was bittersweet– I received Cat’s Cradle as a gift from a guy I’d sometimes rather forget— but for a few years in there, I was obsessed with reading everything by the author and I was constantly lost in the pages of Sirens of Titan, Mother Night, Galapagos and others. If there was one author out there that truly shaped the person I am, the way I think, the way I view the world, I would have to say it was Vonnegut. And even years later, after I’d put the worn paperbacks away on the shelves for some time to explore other realms of literature, when I would pick up Breakfast of Champions from time to time, it was both comforting and refreshing. Familiar, but like all good fiction, new things discovered with every subsequent reading. And with his later works, with Timequake, with Man Without A Country, I felt the same way– same old Vonnegut, but still fresh and relevant and his words resonating with me as always.
And most importantly, I always find myself smiling when I read Vonnegut. He was snarky before we knew what to call it.
The NY Times article says how some dismissed him as a “comic book philosopher.” Well, if that’s not the voice of a great American novelist, I don’t know what is.
Check out this post from September 2005 about when he was on the Daily Show. Video clip included.