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Kurt Vonnegut: The Last Interview: And Other Conversations

Overview

One of the great American iconoclasts holds forth on politics, war, books and writers, and his personal life in a series of conversations, including his last published interview.

During his long career Kurt Vonnegut won international praise for his novels, plays, and essays. In this new anthology of conversations with Vonnegut—which ...
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Kurt Vonnegut: The Last Interview: And Other Conversations

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Overview

One of the great American iconoclasts holds forth on politics, war, books and writers, and his personal life in a series of conversations, including his last published interview.

During his long career Kurt Vonnegut won international praise for his novels, plays, and essays. In this new anthology of conversations with Vonnegut—which collects interviews from throughout his career—we learn much about what drove Vonnegut to write and how he viewed his work at the end.

From Kurt Vonnegut's last interview

Is there another book in you, by chance?

No. Look, I’m 84 years old. Writers of fiction have usually done their best work by the time they’re 45. Chess masters are through when they’re 35, and so are baseball players. There are plenty of other people writing. Let them do it.

So what’s the old man’s game, then?

My country is in ruins. So I’m a fish in a poisoned fishbowl. I’m mostly just heartsick about this. There should have been hope. This should have been a great country. But we are despised all over the world now. I was hoping to build a country and add to its literature. That’s why I served in World War II, and that’s why I wrote books.

When someone reads one of your books, what would you like them to take from the experience?

Well, I’d like the guy—or the girl, of course—to put the book down and think, “This is the greatest man who ever lived.”

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Like Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln, even when he’s funny, he’s depressed. . . . The way he goes about his business has helped most 
of us to go on living, if only to find out what happens next.”

—John Leonard, The Nation 

“He is a satirist with a heart, a moralist with a whoopee cushion, 
a cynic who wants to believe.”
—Jay McInerney 

“Vonnegut is our strongest writer . . . the most stubbornly imaginative.”

—John Irving

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781612190907
  • Publisher: Melville House Publishing
  • Publication date: 12/16/2011
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 387,136
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Kurt Vonnegut
Kurt Vonnegut's black humor, satiric voice, and incomparable imagination first captured America’s attention in The Sirens of Titan in 1959 and established him as “a true artist” (The New York Times) with Cat’s Cradle in 1963. He was, as Graham Greene declared, “one of the best living American writers.” Vonnegut died April 11, 2007.

Biography

Born in 1922, Vonnegut grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana. His architect father suffered great financial setbacks during the Depression and was unemployed for long stretches of time. His mother suffered from mental illness and eventually committed suicide in 1944, a trauma that haunted Vonnegut all his life. He attended Cornell in the early 1940s, but quit in order to enlist in the Army during WWII.

Vonnegut was shipped to Europe, fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and was captured behind enemy lines and incarcerated in a German prison camp. As a POW, he witnessed the firebombing of Dresden by Allied forces, an event of devastating magnitude that left an indelible impression on the young soldier.

After the war, Vonnegut returned home and married his high school sweetheart. In addition to two daughters and a son of their own, he and his first wife adopted three children orphaned in 1958 by the death of Vonnegut's sister Alice. (He and his second wife adopted another daughter.) The family lived in Chicago and Schenectady before settling in Cape Cod, where Vonnegut began to concentrate seriously on his writing. His first novel, the darkly dystopian Player Piano, was published in 1952 and met with moderate success. Three additional novels followed (including the critically acclaimed Cat's Cradle), but it was not until the publication of 1969's Slaughterhouse Five that Vonnegut achieved true literary stardom. Based on the author's wartime experiences in Dresden, the novel resonated powerfully in the social upheaval of the Vietnam era.

Although he is best known for his novels (a genre-blending mix of social satire, science fiction, surrealism, and black comedy), Vonnegut also wrote short fiction, essays, and plays (the best known of which was Happy Birthday, Wanda June). In addition, he was a talented graphic artist who illustrated many of his books and exhibited sporadically during his literary career. He died on April 11, 2007, after suffering irreversible brain injuries as a result of a fall.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Kurt Vonnegut
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 11, 1922
    2. Place of Birth:
      Indianapolis, Indiana
    1. Date of Death:
      April 11, 2007
    2. Place of Death:
      New York, New York

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