Saturday, November 27, 2010

Breakfast of Champions

Just finished re-reading Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions and, with this go 'round, it has become my favorite of his novels (making it second only to Welcome To The Monkey House as my favorite of all his work). The voice is pure Vonnegut (literally; he serves as the first person narrator) and what is hackneyed gimmick when Stephen King does it -writing himself into his own novel- is brilliant fun when Vonnegut does. He writes about humanity as a bunch of machines and yet this observation, in his hands, only serves to make us all more human. He cares enough about comedy to take it seriously and enough about tragedy to find the humor in it. Vonnegut's writing is always as full of pathos as it is passion, but nevermore in his novel about what it means to be human.

1 comment:

  1. Because I'm incompetent (or technology is allergic to me), I failed to get this comment to post on the BookPeople Blog with your Top 40 list. Here it is:

    I love this list and found myself nodding my head in approval. I'll have to check out some of the titles you recommend that I haven't read.

    I especially agree with your assessment of Shel Silverstein. He does what every writer should (in his or her own way)--write truthfully about humans. I'm thinking about poems like "The Prayer of the Selfish Child." It's funny because it's so apt... and humor can be a starting point for important talks with our kids ("We all feel greedy sometimes, but what do we do with that feeling...?")

    Speaking of Shel Silverstein... having never had the pleasure of meeting you (and perhaps being emboldened by this), I must ask: might the photo of SS on the jacket of his books be the inspiration for your own "look"? (A playful question, of course.)

    These posts make me homesick for Austin. Maybe we'll get to come back some day, and at least I hope I get to make a stop at BookPeople in the spring to promote my new novel...