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when i applied for my student visa at the american embassy in delhi in 1993, the interviewer asked me what i thought i would get my phd in. contemporary american literature, i said. which writers, he asked, and i named vonnegut among others. it may have been affectation but while stamping my forms he said, i have never understood the indian fascination with vonnegut.

 

i don't know if it was an indian fascination, but he was an important part of my late teens and early twenties. i think "slaughterhouse five" was the first post-modern novel i read--i can't tell if its literary inventiveness or its moral vision had more of an effect on me. i read everything else by him that i could find for a while before losing track of him in the 90s. i probably don't estimate his work as highly now as i once did (though "slaughterhouse five" is an undeniable masterpiece) but the world is surely poorer without him.

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<begin tanabutler mode>He used to be somewhat of a regular at the coffee shop in Dag H. Plaza (which I think is now some sort of a milkshake place). One morning he asked a bashful young employee if she would go out with him. She giggled and blushed, then tried to vanish. Her co-worker snapped at her the moment he stepped out the door "do you have any idea who that was??? That's Kurt Vonnegut! I would pay to date him."

 

And so, Kurt V. missed his chance of dating a 19 year old by mistaking blue contact lenses for intellect.

 

</end tababutler mode>

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when i applied for my student visa at the american embassy in delhi in 1993, the interviewer asked me what i thought i would get my phd in. contemporary american literature, i said. which writers, he asked, and i named vonnegut among others. it may have been affectation but while stamping my forms he said, i have never understood the indian fascination with vonnegut.

 

i don't know if it was an indian fascination, but he was an important part of my late teens and early twenties. i think "slaughterhouse five" was the first post-modern novel i read--i can't tell if its literary inventiveness or its moral vision had more of an effect on me. i read everything else by him that i could find for a while before losing track of him in the 90s. i probably don't estimate his work as highly now as i once did (though "slaughterhouse five" is an undeniable masterpiece) but the world is surely poorer without him.

 

i couldnt agree more with you. vonnegut and his books babysat me through most of my youth. i cannot quite express in words how sad and empty i am feeling right now.

 

eta

but while stamping my forms he said, i have never understood the indian fascination with vonnegut.

 

that's because indians are obsessed with the idea of fatalism.

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...but he was an important part of my late teens and early twenties. i think "slaughterhouse five" was the first post-modern novel i read--i can't tell if its literary inventiveness or its moral vision had more of an effect on me. i read everything else by him that i could find for a while before losing track of him in the 90s. i probably don't estimate his work as highly now as i once did (though "slaughterhouse five" is an undeniable masterpiece) but the world is surely poorer without him.

 

My sentiments exactly, I read Slaughterhouse when I was 15 and thought it was so important...

This is a sad day indeed.

RIP

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One of the few authors to this day whose oeuvre I have read almost in its entirety. I thought at the time, earlier in my life, that he was quite funny. I don't recall if I understood any of his deeper philosophical thoughts about the meaning of life. Maybe a little but I have my doubts.

 

He used to appear in the Imus show.

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A sad day.

 

I read Cat's Cradle at 13 by mistake as he was pigeonholed as a SF writer. The deeper meanings were lost on me, but there was something that was awakened. Slauterhouse was required hipster/ cool reading for my generation, but it was Mother Night that spoke most deeply to me. Life's perversions and twists vis a vis Howard W. Campbell still resonate.

 

I read everything up until Slapstick and then found that for some reason he stopped speaking to me, but I have always held a tender spot for his influence on my adolescence and young adulthood.

 

R.I.P.

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I can only echo. Seems that he got to a lot of folks in their adolescence, including me.

 

Heard that he'd been "ill" for several weeks after hitting his head in a fall. Does anyone know if that wretched ice storm was responsible?

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