Kurt Vonnegut: letters

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Grouped Work ID 55aa9032-586b-18aa-3891-6563f227936e
full_title kurt vonnegut letters
author vonnegut kurt
grouping_category book
lastUpdate 2017-05-27 06:13:39AM

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auth_author2 Wakefield, Dan
author Vonnegut, Kurt
author-letter Vonnegut, Kurt
author2 Wakefield, Dan
author2-role Wakefield, Dan
author_additional edited and with an introduction by Dan Wakefield.
author_display Vonnegut, Kurt
availability_toggle_catalog Available Now, Available Online, Entire Collection
available_at_catalog Athens Drive Community, Cameron Village Regional, Eva H. Perry Regional, Northeast Regional, Southgate Community, Zebulon Community
callnumber-a PS3572.O5
callnumber-first P - Language and Literature
callnumber-subject PS - American Literature
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collection_catalog Biography
date_added 2012-02-01T05:00:00Z
days_since_added 1942
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Newsweek/The Daily Beast
  • The Huffington Post
  • Kansas City Star
  • Time Out New York
  • Kirkus Reviews

    This extraordinary collection of personal correspondence has all the hallmarks of Kurt Vonnegut's fiction. Written over a sixty-year period, these letters, the vast majority of them never before published, are funny, moving, and full of the same uncanny wisdom that has endeared his work to readers worldwide.

    Included in this comprehensive volume: the letter a twenty-two-year-old Vonnegut wrote home immediately upon being freed from a German POW camp, recounting the ghastly firebombing of Dresden that would be the subject of his masterpiece Slaughterhouse-Five; wry dispatches from Vonnegut's years as a struggling writer slowly finding an audience and then dealing with sudden international fame in middle age; righteously angry letters of protest to local school boards that tried to ban his work; intimate remembrances penned to high school classmates, fellow veterans, friends, and family; and letters of commiseration and encouragement to such contemporaries as Gail Godwin, Günter Grass, and Bernard Malamud.

    Vonnegut's unmediated observations on science, art, and commerce prove to be just as inventive as any found in his novels—from a crackpot scheme for manufacturing "atomic" bow ties to a tongue-in-cheek proposal that publishers be allowed to trade authors like baseball players. ("Knopf, for example, might give John Updike's contract to Simon and Schuster, and receive Joan Didion's contract in return.") Taken together, these letters add considerable depth to our understanding of this one-of-a-kind literary icon, in both his public and private lives. Each letter brims with the mordant humor and openhearted humanism upon which he built his legend. And virtually every page contains a quotable nugget that will make its way into the permanent Vonnegut lexicon.

    • On a job he had as a young man: "Hell is running an elevator throughout eternity in a building with only six floors."
    • To a relative who calls him a "great literary figure": "I am an American fad—of a slightly higher order than the hula hoop."
    • To his daughter Nanny: "Most letters from a parent contain a parent's own lost dreams disguised as good advice."
    • To Norman Mailer: "I am cuter than you are."

    Sometimes biting and ironical, sometimes achingly sweet, and always alive with the unique point of view that made him the true cultural heir to Mark Twain, these letters comprise the autobiography Kurt Vonnegut never wrote.
    Praise for Kurt Vonnegut: Letters

    "Splendidly assembled . . . familiar, funny, cranky . . . chronicling [Vonnegut's] life in real time."—Kurt Andersen, The New York Times Book Review

    "[This collection is] by turns hilarious, heartbreaking and mundane. . . . Vonnegut himself is a near-perfect example of the same flawed, wonderful humanity that he loved and despaired over his entire life."NPR

    "Congenial, whimsical and often insightful missives . . . one of [Vonnegut's] very best."Newsday

    "These letters display all the hallmarks of Vonnegut's fiction—smart, hilarious and heartbreaking."The New York Times Book Review
    From the Hardcover edition.
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    physical xxvi, 436 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
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    publishDate 2012
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    publisher Delacorte Press,, Random House Publishing Group
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    subject_facet Authors, American -- 20th century -- Correspondence, Vonnegut, Kurt -- Correspondence
    target_audience Adult
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    title Kurt Vonnegut : letters
    title_display Kurt Vonnegut : letters
    title_full Kurt Vonnegut : letters / edited and with an introduction by Dan Wakefield, Kurt Vonnegut Letters
    title_short Kurt Vonnegut :
    title_sort kurt vonnegut letters
    title_sub letters
    topic Authors, American 20th century Correspondence, Biography & Autobiography, History, Literary Criticism, Nonfiction, Vonnegut, Kurt Correspondence
    topic_facet Authors, American, Biography & Autobiography, History, Literary Criticism, Nonfiction, Vonnegut, Kurt