Thursday, April 12, 2007

So he goes

Mr. Vonnegut eschewed traditional structure and punctuation. His books were a mixture of fiction and autobiography, prone to one-sentence paragraphs, exclamation points and italics. Graham Greene called him “one of the most able of living American writers.” Some critics said he had invented a new literary type, infusing the science-fiction form with humor and moral relevance and elevating it to serious literature.

He was also accused of repeating himself, of recycling themes and characters. Some readers found his work incoherent. His harshest critics called him no more than a comic book philosopher, a purveyor of empty aphorisms.

With his curly hair askew, deep pouches under his eyes and rumpled clothes, he often looked like an out-of-work philosophy professor, typically chain smoking, his conversation punctuated with coughs and wheezes. But he also maintained a certain celebrity, as a regular on panels and at literary parties in Manhattan and on the East End of Long Island, where he lived near his friend and fellow war veteran Joseph Heller, another darkly comic literary hero of the age.


Anonymous said...

This was a hard loss for me. Isn't that strange?

Nice new blog look, Jason.

Jason Comerford said...

Not strange at all. Anytime someone goes whose work means something to you... you could be next door or on the other side of the world and still feel the same pang of loss.

Yeah... the blog. It's getting there. I have to rebuild all my links and book ads and book lists from scratch... pain in the tail. But it's getting there.