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Kurt Vonnegut 1922 – 2007

April 12, 2007
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Kurt Vonnegut has died aged 84 in New York from brain injuries as a result of a fall earlier this year.

He became a cult figure in particular among students in the 1960s and 1970s with his classics of US counterculture. I remember my parents liking his books which is how I know about him. He wrote plays, essays and short fiction too.

The defining moment of his life was the firebombing of Dresden by allied forces in 1945 – an event he witnessed as a young prisoner of war.

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His experience was the basis of his best-known work, Slaughterhouse Five. It was published in 1969 against the backdrop of the war in Vietnam, racial unrest and deep social upheaval in the United States.

Last year, he came out of semi-retirement to write his new book A Man Without A Country because of his “contempt” for current US President George Bush. Fighting to the end. A great contributor and a huge loss to modern literature.

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10 Comments
  1. tony permalink

    Every time is see on the tv pictures of night-bombing (eg in Iraq) I always think of his description of Dresden.<br/><b>R.I.P. Kurt</b>

  2. A lovely man. rest in peace Kurt.

  3. The Waving Looney permalink

    Hear, hear. Although I read Slaughterhouse Five some 30+ years ago there are many images and references that have never left me. So it goes.

  4. Billy permalink

    You can’t go wrong with KV. What a shame.

  5. Annie permalink

    I liked Slaughterhouse 5 though I always get it confused with Catch 22. <br/>RIP Kurt…

  6. First Nations permalink

    the best kind of writer, the best kind of writing. i rode through his books like a visigoth. <br/><br/>kurt vonnegut is unstuck in time.

  7. St. Anthony permalink

    A lot of good people have gone West this year, and we’re only in April.<br/>Damn.

  8. Istvanski permalink

    They reckon Eastwood will go west this year and I’m inclined to believe them.<br/><br/>I’ve heard of this Kurt fella but have not read any of his stuff. I feel as if there’s not nearly enough time in the day for pleasurable reading, otherwise I might’ve been able to chip in with a worthwile comment.<br/>RIP Mr KV whoever you were. I’m sure loads of people are missing you.<br/><br/>(sigh)<br/><br/>Perhaps I should get a job in a library?<br/>Young man…are you listening?

  9. rockmother permalink

    Tony – that’s interesting – yes – he was a powerful writer<br/><br/>Dickley – yes – great character – unique<br/><br/>Wavy Gravy Davy – actually – I think it was your copy of Slaughterhouse Five I borrowed come to think of it! And Dispatches by Michael Herr.<br/><br/>Billy – yes, sad.<br/><br/>Annie – I know what you mean – I used to get KV and Gore Vidal muddled upi but I think it was the V surname and style of book titles that were similar…Duluth etc..<br/><br/>Firstness – yes I can imagine you riding the tidal wave of Vonnegut well – you are so right – he is/was /shall be timless<br/><br/>St Anthony – I know! No more please.<br/><br/>Ister – Oh god – no – not Clint! The only person I wish in a former un-real life I would have liked to have married apart from David Byrne of course. I normally devour books but since I’ve been blogging I’ve really neglected proper reading – I don’t like it. I need to get back there. As for the young man in the library – sadly I don’t think he visits here anymore.

  10. Waving gravely permalink

    Oh yes, Dispatches, one image I remember from that is the GI who carries uppers in one pants (sorry, trousers) pocket and downers in the other. And wasn’t there a guy who christened his grenade launcher "Mary"?

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