Kurt Vonnegut is dead

Kurt Vonnegut has died at age 84. He suffered brain damage after a fall several weeks ago and never recovered.

This is all incredibly sad. Vonnegut was one of those people I think should be granted immortality (although he would have turned that gift down flat).

I read my first Vonnegut novel, "Slaughterhouse-Five," when I was in high school. The movie was coming out and I was going to see it with friends. It was a revelation to read, with its giddy time travel structure and its sharp moral outrage over war and the stupidity of much of what humans do on this planet. Plus, it was funny as hell.

Vonnegut was instantly the great, crazy uncle every high school and college kid wished he had. I gobbled up a bunch of his early novels and stories but, sad to admit, haven't read him in the years since. He had done his job for me and countless others, making us aware of the insanity and sheer daffiness of much of modern life. You really do look at things through a Vonnegut lens after reading him.

Maybe it's time to catch up with him. Farewell, Mr. Vonnegut. And so it goes.

The New York Times has a long obit here. There's also a collection of Times' reviews of his books plus articles he wrote for the Times.

Salon offers a clip of Vonnegut reading from "Slaughterhouse-Five" here.

NPR has a bunch of clips of past interviews.

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