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Friday, April 13, 2007

Vonnegut 1922 - 2007

Player Piano (1952), The Sirens of Titan (1959), Cat's Cradle (1963), God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater; or, Pearls Before Swine (1965), Mother Night (1966), Welcome to the Monkey House (stories, 1968), *Slaughterhouse Five; or the Children's Crusade: A Dance with Death (1969), Breakfast of Champions; or, Goodbye Blue Monday (1973), Slapstick, or Lonesome No More (1976), Jailbird (1979), Deadeye Dick (1982), Galapágos (1985), Bluebeard (1987), Hocus Pocus (1990), Timequake (1997), Bagombo Snuff Box (stories, 1999) and on and on ...unfortunately the chain shall stop now...and Kurt Vonnegut, god bless him, will no longer pour out the molten lumpy crackling prose that made each book of his feel like a journey in a amateurish space ship.

I was doing my summer internship in an architects office in Calcutta in the middle of the worst spells of summer that Kolkata has ever seen. Luckily the American Centre was just behind my office, and I took a membership in their library. For a couple of months while I commuted in trams, buses and trains, I was lost in the world of American writing. Not knowing much about American authors apart from irving wallace and robert ludlum etc, I took potluck each time, choosing books based on their titles. It was a good move, and led me to discover authors like Mailer, Styron, Faulkner, Steinbeck, Saroyan, Dos Passos, Fitzgerald et al and I was having fun escaping from the heat of the city, sitting in the airconditioned library, when I should have been standing by a construction site taking notes....but hey...

So one day I chose Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut. With a title like that, you could hardly lose. Had a nice ring to it. By the time I had finished the book, I knew I had stumbled upon a treasure. Soon I had read the entire shelf and it was a lot of heavy reading to pack into a 19 yr olds head in the short span of a month, still I will always remember how it used to feel to dip into the purple-green prose of Vonnegut and emerge later refreshed and weary as if from a long journey.

Read yesterday that Vonnegut had passed away at the age of 84, in Manhattan. A giant, truly.

Links -

from those who knew him.

the official (sic) website

the wiki

Cold Turkey - An article by Vonnegut

Brief Bio

Quotes by Vonnegut

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