A word about writers, writers should read (Kurt and me).

13, April,2007

Kurt Vonnegut died last night – it’s a crappy day.

If you haven’t read anything by Vonnegut you should.   Even if you think you’ll hate it, even if after you read it you hate it.

I was late discovering Vonnegut.  I knew the name, but it wasn’t until other writers I admired mentioned him that I actively went looking for his work.

I bought Breakfast of Champions and left it on my shelf for two years.  I eventually read it for the same reason I read Dostoyevsky – because I thought I should.

It was one of those ‘how could I not know about this?’ moments.  As a wannabe writer it was a revelation.  I wanted to show it to people – ‘look at what you can do in a book’. 

To be honest, I didn’t find the story itself that gripping, but I loved being in the world he created.  It was like being in a bizarre terrarium – everything was real and artificial at the same time. There was an almost naïve weirdness to it, unlike the constructed artifice of some recent tricksy best selling novels.

One of the lingering feelings from my experience with Vonnegut is the sensation that there are things out there that I am missing out on.

If you have had a similar experience, or if you have a landmark novel, can you please let me know – it would be nice to end today with something positive.

Onward and upward.


2 Responses to “A word about writers, writers should read (Kurt and me).”

  1. I discovered tim o’brien late.
    he wrote the things they carried, which is a great documentation of the vietnam war. its writeen in such a fresh perspective, you should check it out 🙂

  2. Cameron Says:

    Thanks Defrag. I’m heading for the library this weekend, I’ll see if it’s on the shelves.

    I like his idea that fiction has the power to convey human truths more effectively than simply stating facts.

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