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Burton has commented on (1) product.

And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life by Charles J Shields
And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life

Burton, January 1, 2012

This is a book for Vonnegut fans. It details his life in terms of his psychological constructs, his proclivity toward slap stick humor, and, his angst in his need to be recognized and lack of accomplishments (until Slaughterhouse Five).

There were many revelations as to Vonnegut's failings. Much attention (neither salacious nor sanitized) is spent on his character flaws, of which there were many. He didn't love his children enough, he wasn't faithful to either of his wives or to the people who supported his literary career. Through it all, he chain-smokes Pall Malls for 60 years and, in the end, does not die of respiratory disease or cancer.

The book does a remarkable job given that the Shields was limited to the content of some 250 letters and interviews with Vonnegut's friends and acquaintances rather than one-on-one conversations with his subject, who died less than a month after the personal interviews began. The book's weakness is that there are so many details that one tends to get lost. It would be convenient if there were a time line that we could refer to, now and then, to help keep things in order.

One completes the biography, perhaps liking Vonnegut less, while understanding him a great deal more.



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