On this day many years ago in 1922 was born one of the greatest masters of irony and a humanist in his bones Kurt Vonnegut. It is a day I celebrate with my whole heart. I wish I had the capacity to write a long post about everything that fascinates me in Kurt Vonnegut's work. Unfortunately I am not a writer by nature, so I will keep it short, simple and mainly personal.
Honestly I don't remember when was the first time I read a novel written by Kurt Vonnegut. It surely was in my teenage years, probably in my 16 when along with the rest of my activities I was devoting a lot of time into discovering literature. In our home library we had one hard covered purple book with the bait title Hocus Pocus. If my memory wasn't that bad at such an early age I would say that this is the first Vonnegut book I've read in my life. However if it is not this one thеn it must be God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. Both of them incredibly catching and very surprising. My teen eyes were seeing them like a good source for quotes hahaah not very clever I guess, but something that is a key to Vonnegut's style of writing. He is the only author I know who has something like those fail buttons sound for incorrect answer in tv shows. So as the story goes on suddenly he pushes the fail button taaaaa and writes something so clever, so true, full either of irony or pain (often both together) that I personally feel like somebody else has smacked my forehead. Wake up, wake up!
And that's one of his strongest sides as an author he wakes you up. If Vonnegut had a sixth sense I would guess that was perspicacity. When you read his novels you just can't slide on the surface, because he himself didn't do that. Now add good quality humor and you find yourself not with a book in the hands, but with a bomb full of truths, analysis, emotions and quite love for man. Vonnegut's work provokes you to think "outside of the box", to search for the hidden elements, to break the inertia. Although a lot of it looks like since fiction I personally find it more semi biographical. He included many facts from his own life and the reader can really see the experience behind the words. It may sound stupid but I call Kurt Vonnegut's work revelation. Among the rest he revealed his concern about humanity.
Under one of the previous posts here a friend of mine wrote that he likes plain and simple way of writing. Something I've always preferred as well. There is one great story on this subject. In the introduction to Armageddon in Retrospect Kurt Vonnegut's son Mark Vonnegut writes the following about his father: "He often said he had to be a writer because he wasn't good at anything else. He was not good at being an employee. Back in the mid-1950s, he was employed by Sports Illustrated, briefly. He reported to work, was asked to write a short piece on a racehorse that had jumped over a fence and tried to run away. Kurt stared at the blank piece of paper all morning and then typed, "The horse jumped over the fucking fence," and walked out, self-employed again."
The other day when I was looking for pictures of Kurt Vonnegut I found few lovely ones, taken by Jill Krementz (his second wife). It seems he really enjoyed the company of his dog :)
So that's why I celebrate this day, because I am happy that such a great talent and mind was born on this planet many years ago. I am thankful that he was among us on this planet, that he didn't spend his life on writing about horses, that he left us with treasures.