Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Armageddon in Retrospect

If the words “never before published writings by Kurt Vonnegut” make your heart flutter with excitement, then I have some good news for you. A new collection of 12 short pieces was released this month. Taken as a whole, the book examines issues of war and peace. Individually, the writings include a letter Kurt sent home to his family in Indiana after he was liberated from a POW camp, a recounting of the fire bombing of Dresden, which he survived, and the text of the last speech he wrote, which Mark Vonnegut delivered two weeks after his father’s death. The stories feature a variety of soldiers, occupying armies, and collaborationists, plus a medieval squire and three hungry POWs who talk incessantly of food and recipes.
Mark Vonnegut contributed a masterful introduction to the collection that captures his father’s style and celebrates his unique contributions to our world. Reflecting on Kurt Vonnegut as a writer, his son wrote “Kurt was and is a like a gateway drug or a shoehorn. Once the reader is over the threshold, other writers become accessible.” This is a fitting tribute for a writer who served his community well.
I bought it in the airport - 232 pages.


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