kurt.pngA Man Without A Country:  Kurt Vonnegut

Encouraged by MrZ, this is the first book I’ve read by Vonnegut and whether self-intentionally or not, it’s actually turned out to be his swan song because he died a few weeks ago.   

When I was reading the book, I had the feeling throughout that he reminded me of someone.  I’ve no idea who.  Vonnegut is often compared to Mark Twain but I doubt it’s Twain who I’m thinking of because apart from the Tom Sawyer Adventures, I’ve never read Twain  (although I’m very much inspired to now because if Vonnegut holds him in such high regard then I just have to check him out).  Anyway, I think it just might be that while reading the book, I imagined Vonnegut as a comedian doing a gig in some smokey club and actually telling his story in stand-up comedy form.  The book certainly seems like good material for stand-up comedy. 

In the book (and I just love this) KV tells us that he is going to sue the Brown and Williamson Tobacco Company for a million bucks because in spite of the fact that ever since he was twelve-years-old he had chain-smoking unfiltered Pall Malls of which the all packets promised to kill him, he stilll reached the grand old age of eighty-two…..”thanks a lot, you dirty rats.  The last thing I ever wanted was to be alive when the three most powerful people on the whole planet would be named Bush, Dick and Colon.” 

Kurt Vonnegut was a humanist but in his book he said this and I absolutely concur:

“But if Christ hadn’t delivered the Sermon on the Mount, with its message of mercy and pity, I wouldn’t want to be a human being.”

There are many other passages, sentences, lines that I would love to quote.  Real gems.  But there are so many that I think I would end up reproducing the whole book here.  Suffice to say, it’s a wonderfully simple book.   Funny and witty.  Hopeless and honest.  Hugely recommended.


8 responses to this post.

  1. EP,
    I must add you to the growing list of smart and funny people that have encouraged me or recommended to me to read this book of VT’s in particular. I have it and it is on my reading list. Probably won’t have the time to get to it for a few more weeks but I can’t wait. Maybe we can exchange great quotes when i get into it. I am hopeless at getting to the end of books in a timely fashion however. I think I have five on the go at the moment…. it pisses Mimi off to no end. My night stand looks like a library’s shelving cart.


  2. Hi Loneranger.

    I tend to have more than one book on the go at a time. I annoy myself with this. And my bedside cabinet is much the same as yours. Love your description though.

    The book is quite short and easy to read so it won’t take up too much time.


  3. Yes, MrZhisou is proving to have a good judgement for books. Thanks for encouraging me to read that book by Vonnegut.


  4. I´m so happy you liked it EP, KV is/was just fantastic. I ha´ven´t read this one yet, it´s on order.

    Thanks Jose, by the way.


  5. Jose, I know you will appreciate the book and Vonnegut’s thoughts. I hold MrZ’s opinions about everything in high regard. And that sort of high esteem, MrZ, comes with huge responsibility. 😀

    Zeddie, I hope I haven’t revealed too much about the book. I assumed you’d read it. You could have borrowed mine if you hadn’t already ordered it. But then, maybe not. I get very twitchy about lending my books out.


  6. I can handle the responsibility EP, I appreciate your trust.

    I ration my Vonnegut intake, I don´t want to run out too soon. Also, when I read his work I want to be a writer and can´t concentrate on the day job.


  7. I know what you mean about wanting to write when you read his work. He is very inspiring. When I was reading his book, I found myself wishing I’d thought to write some of the things he’d said.

    I’ve got Cat’s Cradle to read next.


  8. I LOVED Cat´s Cradle, it was my first one … very funny and sad at the same time.


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