My introduction to Vonnegut was when I saw him on Daily Show; an old man with weird hairdo and a great sense of humor. On my next trip to Barnes and Noble, I read his book, “A Man without Country”. I finished that book in one seating and that too when I should have been reading about dendrites and axons for my candidacy exam. But such strong is the grasp of his writing that you don’t want to get away from that grasp. Its only the book that ends, but your thirst for what is in the book lingers on. I had so much wished that the book was longer and covered more topics. What touched me most about that book was the subtle humor that coated all the serious issues. Sarcasm, if used properly increases readers interest and the same time can help writer to communicate something that can’t be said otherwise. Take for example this quote from the book, “You think Arabs are stupid, Try doing long divisions using roman numerals.”
My second Vonnegut book was “Cat’s Cradle”. I would say that it is another masterpiece. Although its not that humor coated but sarcasm is still there on each and every page. Although the plot may be straightaway outlandish but what stands out is the theme behind that plot. The book introduces a world of new religion, existence of religion as a diversion from other problems, and the world dying at the hands of its own people. A world that is not much different from ours. ‘Cats cradle’ is book that forces you to think that where as a mankind we are heading; certainly not towards a complex robotic world as shown in all those Science Fiction movies but towards a very simplistic end.
I have read his other works like ‘Breakfast for Champions’ and ‘Hocus Pocus’ and what stands out with each book is “How shallow and worthless are we as mankind”. As Vonnegut himself says in his book, “….the earth’s immune system is trying to get rid of us…”.
I am a big fan of Kurt Vonnegut and his writings.
I found another interesting video on him where he is dispensing advice on how to write a short story.