Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Armageddon in Retrospect

Nothing to do but read during "Snowzilla 2011!" My latest read is "Armageddon in Retrospect" (232 pages) by Kurt Vonnegut. From his web site:

"The first and only collection of unpublished works by Kurt Vonnegut since his death — a fitting tribute to the author, and an essential contribution to the discussion of war, peace, and humanity’s tendency toward violence.

Armageddon in Retrospect is a collection of twelve new and unpublished writings on war and peace. Imbued with Vonnegut’s trademark rueful humor, the pieces range from a visceral nonfiction recollection of the destruction of Dresden during World War II — an essay that is as timely today as it was then — to a painfully funny short story about three Army privates and their fantasies of the perfect first meal upon returning home from war, to a darker, more poignant story about the impossibility of shielding our children from the temptations of violence. Also included are Vonnegut’s last speech as well as an assortment of his artwork, and an introduction by the author’s son, Mark Vonnegut."

I'm usually not a fan of collected works or short stories but this isn't necessarily true when it come to Vonnegut. In fact I've read more of his essays and short stories than his novels. As stated above the collections here represent previous unpublished musings on war and peace, a subject dear to any Vonnegut fan. I found every essay or story satisfying but especially "Wailing Shall Be in All Streets," his retelling of his time as a prisoner of war during World War II in Dresden after the horrific leveling of the the city. If you're familiar with Vonnegut's works, read this collection. If you're not familiar with Vonnegut's works, I suggest you start with "Slaughterhouse-Five," right now. Recommended.

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