In: Criticism

Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

I’ve long considered Kurt Vonnegut as one of my favorite authors, but I’ve recently become completely obsessed with him. Cat’s Cradle is sheer genius, one of the funniest, sharpest satires ever written, and I’m currently enmeshed in Slaughterhouse-Five, which I picked up at the bookstore last night. (I know, I know–I’m always late to the party.)

But I can’t explain it. All I know is that I’ve been in a reading slump lately, struggling through the final one hundred pages of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and eyeing the last half of John Steinbeck’s East of Eden with equal parts exasperation and fury–exasperation because I don’t really want to read it, and fury because I know I won’t be able to leave it unfinished.

But Vonnegut–he’s exactly what I’ve needed these days, someone who can point out the fallacies of modern society while simulaneously giving a big, shit-eating, postmodern grin: "Oh well." He’s my kind of satirist: his humor is black as pitch and completely ridiculous. (Billy Pilgrim’s abduction by Tralfamadorians, where he was "displayed naked in a zoo," gave me a few much-needed chuckles.) He’s funny in the way a swift kick to the balls is funny. Considering how bleak the daily news has been recently, and with no relief in sight, I’ve come to realize just how much I miss him.

Shortly after reading this ridiculously speculative article, I was reminded of a certain androgynous, washed-up pop star of questionable race and humanity, who sports a detachable nose and a bizarre obsession with all things Never-Never-Land.

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