Thursday, 12 April 2007

When in doubt, Castle

The advice of Kurt Vonnegut, Senior. He was an architect. They were third generation German-American, but Kurt and his older brother (who was a weather physicist called Bernard) and sister (who was called Alice, and whose three children he took on when she died) were brought up speaking only English, because of anti-German sentiment following the Great War. "They volunteered to make me ignorant and rootless as proof of their patriotism," he said (perhaps just a little ungratefully). He was always good and good fun, but I really don't think much after Slaughterhouse-Five was essential in the same way that the earlier books still are. The Sirens of Titan, Cat's Cradle and God Bless You, Mr Rosewater. I love the way that he's routinely described by newspaper cuts as having "moved away from the confines of science fiction". Clearly the hero spending only half the book on the planet Tralfamadore puts S-5 in the same bracket as the output of Barbara Pym. (I am not dissing Barbara Pym. She rocks. Ditto Ivy Compton-Burnett.)
My obit of him is on http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?view=DETAILS&grid=&xml=/news/2007/04/13/db1301.xml
I'm trying not to write about obits on this blog, because I'm starting an obits blog on the Telegraph site sometime in the next few days. I will post on that when it's underway and then try to keep the two fairly separate.
It is compulsory to finish this post, as many thousands of others will, with "so it goes".
Or, damn. Pity.

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