Thursday, April 12, 2007

So long, Kurt

It was with great sadness that I learned of the death late Wednesday of author Kurt Vonnegut.
I was introduced to his work as an exchange student nearly 25 years ago at Alsager College (now Manchester Metropolitan University), near Stoke-on-Trent, England.

It was for a class on American literature that we were assigned Vonnegut's "Cat's Cradle." I was more interested in sightseeing and drinking than in this writer about whom I knew nothing and cared even less.
So, I went through the motions of reading the novel and bullshitted my way through an essay we had to write about it.
The results were predictable.
I nearly failed the class, and by all rights I should have.
Vonnegut was easily forgotten, with a little resentment thrown in.

Years later and living in Philadelphia, I went through my bookshelves looking for something to read. I picked up "Cat's Cradle."
This time, I read it.
And reread it.
And I was hooked.

Eventually, I riffed my way through nearly all of Vonnegut's 14 novels. "Cat's Cradle" is my favorite. "Slaughterhouse-Five" is easily No. 2. But really, I like them all.

Thank you and goodbye, Kurt.
And so it goes.


east village idiot said...

I was bummed too. And like you I slacked my way through my first reading (in high school) and came to love his work as an adult!

Michael said...

He is one of my favorites. I'm so glad I brought my copy of "Cat's Cradle" home with me from England instead of chucking it in the trash in a fit of baggage reduction.

Matt Kohai said...

I'm rather fond of that one myself. "CC" was a good read even back in high school, even if it was a little much for me to write an analysis of.