The American Caliban (substitute) wrote,
The American Caliban
substitute

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confession (and so it goes)

edit: fixed markup so it actually makes cognitive sense

I didn't like Vonnegut.

He had one good book in him (Slaughterhouse-Five) and then he kept writing it again. Norman Mailer had a similar trajectory. The war, then The Naked and the Dead, followed by celebrity and admiration and a string of terrible books. Vonnegut had good ideas after that, but not very good books. He's a bad influence on other writers, and he was a bad influence on himself in the same way. That self-important, nearly echolalic fairy-tale storytelling style never varied. Reading Vonnegut never felt like hearing a story; it was more like being backed into a corner at a cocktail party by the man himself while he told his too-familiar stories yet again.

Like Tom Robbins and John irving, Kurt Vonnegut wrote young adult novels that were sold to grown-ups. Like other counterculture heroes and hippie gurus, he was an unmoveable conservative who never changed his style or his message. And like the Grateful Dead, he had armies of fans who would never doubt him.

I've felt this way about Vonnegut for a long time. There's been more violent opposition to this opinion is than most of my tiresome and admittedly annoying political and philosophical ideas or even my macaroni & cheese recipe. I have lost two "LJ Friends" over Vonnegut and I shouldn't talk books with some of my friends in case The Topic comes up.

I can't say so for sure, but I think Vonnegut himself tired of being a sacred object.
Tags: books, contrary, criticism, literature, vonnegut, writers
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