April 12, 2007
Kurt Vonnegut Dies

washington post on kurt vonnegut's death...

Vonnegut died on Wednesday after suffering brain injuries following a
fall weeks ago, said Donald Farber, Vonnegut's friend, lawyer, agent
and manager.

Here's a transcript of one of his last interviews, with David Brancaccio on PBS, NOW.

Lately, he considered himself a man without a country, as I think many of us have felt lately.

Consistenly now, for many decades, without meaning to, Kurt has spoken for a lot of Americans. (As he rattles on, weaving his way through his fantasy-driven storytelling journals...)

I miss him already.

Kurt Vonnegut dead at 84

By Matthew Robinson
Thursday, April 12, 2007; 1:05 PM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Kurt Vonnegut, whose dark, satirical vision in
works including "Slaughterhouse-Five" and "Cat's Cradle" was shaped
by the horrors he witnessed during World War II, has died at age 84.

Vonnegut died on Wednesday after suffering brain injuries following a
fall weeks ago, said Donald Farber, Vonnegut's friend, lawyer, agent
and manager.

Vonnegut wrote plays, essays and short fiction, but his 14 novels
were classics of the American counterculture, resonating with the
U.S. antiwar sentiment during the Vietnam War era.

The author's Web site, updated after his death, displayed a simple
black-and-white image of a bird cage -- a symbolic element in his
writing -- empty with an open door. "Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. 1922-2007,"
the page read.

"He was a beautiful man," Farber said. "I never hung up the phone
without having laughed, he always left me laughing, no matter what
the circumstances of the world."

"I last spoke to him the day he fell," Farber said. "He was in good
spirits. Every time he spoke with me no matter what the
circumstances in the world, he had a funny angle on it even if it
wasn't a funny thing."

Despite battles with severe depression, Vonnegut was known for his

"I've had a hell of a good time," Vonnegut once wrote. "I tell you,
we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you
any different."

Irwyn Applebaum, president of the Bantam Dell publishing division of
Random House, said, "By all counts he was one of the great writers of
the 20th Century and continued to be one of the great writers in the
21st Century."

Bantam Dell publishes some of the author's seminal works, including
"Breakfast of Champions," "Slaughterhouse-Five" and "Cat's Cradle,"
which made him a literary idol in the 1960s and 1970s, especially to

A defining event in Vonnegut's life was the firebombing of Dresden,
Germany by Allied Forces in 1945, which he witnessed as a young
prisoner of war. The bombing killed tens of thousands of people,
mostly civilians.

Dresden was the basis for "Slaughterhouse-Five," published in 1969
against the backdrop of war in Vietnam, racial unrest and cultural
and social upheaval.

"There is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre," Vonnegut wrote.

Vonnegut became a cult hero when the novel reached No. 1 on
bestseller lists and even more popular among many young Americans
when some schools and libraries banned the book for its sexual
content, rough language and depictions of violence.

The novel featured a signature Vonnegut phrase, "so it goes," which
became a catch phrase for Vietnam war opponents.

After the book was published, Vonnegut went into severe depression
and vowed never to write another novel. In 1984, he tried to take
his life with sleeping pills and alcohol. His mother had herself
committed suicide.

Vonnegut mixed fiction and autobiography in his work, which also
blended elements of science fiction and touched on authoritarianism
and the dehumanization of man by technology.

Fans said he invented a new literary type but some critics accused
him of recycling themes and characters.

"Cat's Cradle" was published in 1963 and initially sold only about
500 copies but it remains widely read today in high school English

Vonnegut's last book, published in 2005, was a collection of
biographical essays, "A Man Without a Country."

A fourth-generation German-American who was born in Indianapolis,
Vonnegut is survived by his second wife photographer Jill Krementz,
their daughter and his six other children. Two of his children are
published authors.

Mark Vonnegut, named after Mark Twain whom his father admired and
bore a striking resemblance to, wrote "The Eden Express: A Memoir of
Insanity" about his own descent and eventual recovery from mental
illness. He speculated the illness was partly hereditary.

Daughter Edith Vonnegut, an artist, wrote "Domestic Goddesses," which
takes issue with traditional art imagery in which women are shown as
weak and helpless.

Posted by Lisa at April 12, 2007 10:57 AM
Me A to Z (A Work In Progress)