Saturday, 18 December 2010

New Vonnegut Book Reviews

Both The Guardian and Seattle PI (via BlogCritics.org) have published reviews of Look at the Birdie and Galapagos, respectively.

The Guardian’s review, by M John Harrison suggests Look at the Birdie contains “many of the characteristics we associate with Vonnegut the novelist”, observing that the short story collection “is in itself a story, about an author pursuing a market he wasn't interested in”. While Harrison praises the collection, overall, he does admit that these early Vonnegut stories lack some of the absurdity of the author’s novels, such as Cat’s Cradle and Player Piano.

Similarly, Jessica Schneider observes (rightly or wrongly) that “Galapagos is arguably the last good novel Kurt Vonnegut wrote”, the reviewer ranks the book below some of the author’s other work, including Slaughterhouse-Five. It seems that when reviewing Vonnegut’s work, it’s difficult to get away from comparing it to seminal novels like Slaughterhouse-Five, but Schneider does take the time to highlight some of the enjoyable aspects of Galapagos. In particular, Schneider praises “how innovative Vonnegut is when it comes to story-telling structure”, before going on to note that it’s difficult to summarise novels by the author.

Have you read either of these books by Vonnegut? What do you think of Harrison’s and Schneider’s comments – Make sure to let us know your thoughts by filling in the form below.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library Opens

A little bit of a late post, but the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library in Indianapolis, Indiana, is now open on weekends! The library, which is the culmination of lots hard work, patience and fundraising, is crammed full of Vonnegut related items, including the author’s celebrated art. The Memorial Library aims to champion “the literary, artistic, and cultural contributions of the late writer, artist, and Indianapolis native Kurt Vonnegut” and will be open full-time in 2011. For now though, visitors can drop by on weekends.

If you’d like to support the project, you can make a donation on the library website. A variety of Vonnegut events have already been held at the center, including free lectures and a book club, where readers get together to discuss the author’s novels. You can find out more about the library by visiting VonnegutLibrary.org, or the center’s Facebook page.