Earth lost a great human being on 11 April 2007. At the age of 84, Kurt Vonnegut died in New York City. He was the author of many wonderful novels, including Slaughterhouse Five, Cat's Cradle, The Sirens of Titan, Mother Night, and Player Piano.
Discovering Vonnegut's writing was as if I had found a kind and wise uncle who always tried his best to explain how and why life is the way it is, and to reassure us all that it wouldn't be so bad if we'd just be a little nicer to each other.
Kurt Vonnegut was certainly one of The Greatest Generation's finest, and greatest writers. So much of his sensibility and world view was shaped by that horrible war in the 1940's, yet to me, born a few years after World War II was over, he seemed always contemporary and relevant.
Any time I've had the opportunity to read anything that he wrote, whether a novel, short story, or essay, I have done so eagerly and have not been disappointed. His voice, so dependable, so sane and clear, has always been worth hearing. Listen, he would say, and I did, and I was always delighted.
I will not try here to summarize his writing, that has been done elsewhere, but only to say goodbye to a great man, a hero to me and many, a great humanist, and a kind uncle willing to reassure anyone who would Listen.