Friday, April 13, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut

Were I exiled to a deserted island, I think one book I'd be sure to pack along would be Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five. I have it on a shelf somewhere, and the wise, wry old man's death a few days ago has inspired me to find it and re-read it.

There is an excellent study of Vonnegut in the winter of his life in the Washington Post, which ends with this lament.

"So that's how I feel now," he said. "Please, I've done everything, you know? Raised kids and all that, worked, tried to do good work -- can't I go home now? And I think about where home is. It's Indianapolis when I was 9 years old, and you can't go back there. But I had a mother and a father, a big sister, a big brother, a dog, a cat -- and yeah, that's where I'd like to go."

If there is a God and if He or She is kind -- which, it must be said, the author of "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater" would have been the first to doubt -- that is exactly where Kurt Vonnegut is right now.
Vonnegut fans can find another moving and interesting obituary, really a quick study of his life, in the New York Times which ends with a fatalistic, existentialist poem as the writer says "It concludes with a poem written by Mr. Vonnegut called “Requiem,” which has these closing lines:"

When the last living thing

has died on account of us,

how poetical it would be

if Earth could say,

in a voice floating up


from the floor

of the Grand Canyon,

“It is done.”

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