Friday Favorites: A Man Without a Country
Friday, April 9, 2010Posted by Melissa (Avid Reader)
I have a serious soft spot for Kurt Vonnegut, partly because his hometown is my hometown. While Indianapolis may not be the most exciting city in the world, it is my common bond with that satirist and makes me feel like I understand where he's coming from in some way.
The reason I choose this book as a favorite, as opposed to some of his more famous pieces, (Slaughterhouse Five, Breakfast of Champions), is because it was the first book of his I read. It's also the very last book he published while alive. Of course I didn't know that at the time. When I read it I was looking forward to seeing him speak in Indy the following month. I finished the book, completely enamored with his candid style and black sense of humor. Then, a mere two weeks before his scheduled lecture, he died. His son ended up filling in for him.
It's funny how something like that can so deeply affect how you view an author. In my world Vonnegut was a new discovery. I had heard of him for years, but was just beginning to enjoy his work, (I've since read the majority of it.) He, on the other, was at the end of his life.
The book itself is a gem, but it's no better than his other collections of essays. I enjoy his fiction, but have found that his nonfiction, opinion-based ramblings are more my style. He had a way of weaving serious issues, like war, with threads of absurdity that's so unique. This book is a great taste of his work because it's a short collection that deals with current issues.
It's that very distinct way of writing that often polarizes readers when it comes to his work. I'll be the first to admit that Vonnegut is not for everyone, but he is, for me, a joy to read.