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Kurt Vonnegut presents in Fates Worse than Deatha veritable cornucopia of Vonnegut’s thought on what could best be summed up as perhaps “anti-theology”, a manifesto for atheism that details Vonnegut’s drift from conventional religion, even a tract evidencing belief in the divine held within each individual self; the Deity within each individual person present in a universe that otherwise lacks any real order.

Vonnegut was never a real optimist and with just cause: he had an incredibly difficult life (he had been a prisoner of war from which he drew the title for his book Slaughterhouse-Five) and suffered from failing health, which only showed him his own mortality even more than he already knew it. Still, most readers find that in the body of Vonnegut’s work there is still a glimmer of desperate hope. Vonnegut’s continued search for meaning surely counts for a great deal as he balances hope and despair.

Scholars and fans can read about Vonnegut’s experiences during World War II and the after-effect he felt it had on him. His religious (or anti-religious) ramblings and notations are interesting and, by turns, funny and perceptive. The humor may be dark, but that does not make it any the less funny.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007) is one of the most beloved American writers of the twentieth century. Vonnegut’s audience increased steadily since his first five pieces in the 1950s and grew from there. His 1968 novel Slaughterhouse-Five has become a canonic war novel with Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 to form the truest and darkest of what came from World War II.

Vonnegut began his career as a science fiction writer, and his early novels--Player Piano and The Sirens of Titan--were categorized as such even as they appealed to an audience far beyond the reach of the category. In the 1960s, Vonnegut became closely associated with the Baby Boomer generation, a writer on that side, so to speak.

Now that Vonnegut’s work has been studied as a large body of work, it has been more deeply understood and unified. There is a consistency to his satirical insight, humor and anger which makes his work so synergistic. It seems clear that the more of Vonnegut’s work you read, the more it resonates and the more you wish to read. Scholars believe that Vonnegut’s reputation (like Mark Twain’s) will grow steadily through the decades as his work continues to increase in relevance and new connections are formed, new insights made.

ABOUT THE SERIES

Author Kurt Vonnegut is considered by most to be one of the most important writers of the twentieth century. His books Slaughterhouse-Five (named after Vonnegut’s World War II POW experience) and Cat’s Cradle are considered among his top works. RosettaBooks offers here a complete range of Vonnegut’s work, including his first novel (Player Piano, 1952) for readers familiar with Vonnegut’s work as well as newcomers.

Published: RosettaBooks on Jul 31, 1982
ISBN: 9780795318689
List price: $9.99
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Fates Worse Than Death suffers from the fact that it will inevitably be compared with its autobiographical companion, Palm Sunday -- Vonnegut himself does so in the first pages. Unfortunately, this book lacks the coherence, the revelatory wonder, and the readability of that previous text.This book stresses far less the snippets of speeches and short writings that similarly made up Palm Sunday's pastiche, instead attempting through its title-less chapters, lack of table of contents, and minimal white space to appear as a more cohesive narrative. Unfortunately, it seems as if Vonnegut couldn't decide whether to make the book progress chronologically or conceptually -- and by doing both, the book feels unfocused.Perhaps most damning, though, is the fact that the book is filled with lots of things that are frankly pretty damn uninteresting: fascinating stories like Vonnegut's soiree in a mental facility are merely glossed over in favor of less interesting missives about, for instance, Mozambique.Lightning doesn't quite strike twice here, though if you've read and enjoyed Palm Sunday, it's fascinating to see how Vonnegut treats his material differently in this text.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
As an autobiographical miscellany, this book is a little unsatisfactory aesthetically. There is some very good material in this however--about mental illness, addiction, extended family. Vonnegut is a little hard to peg philosophically/religiously. Albeit, quite probably atheist, he is not scornful of everything religious.Vonnegut billed this as the sequel of Palm Sunday. However, several of the themes in this book were much more satisfactorily treated in Slapstick.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
a collection of vonnegut's speeches and essays from the 1980's as well as just little personal snippets. absoloutly heart breaking with vonnegut's classic kindness and brutality and humor.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I used to be more of a Vonnegut fan. In high school I read nearly all of his novels, starting with The Sirens of Titan, which was assigned in English class one year. But, in later years, I find him too cranky and too pessimistic. As an adult now, I know already that the world is a mess and that we're all probably going to die in horrible ways; I really don't need his works to remind me.The subtitle of this book calls it "An Autobiographical Collage" and that is quite accurate. There is no plot, no single purpose that I could see running through the biographical episodes, unless it was to trace how an old satirist turned ugly. I don't mean to say that Vonnegut was a despicable old man at all, because he was still making good points about how unhappy the world is and how we could work on improving things. Except that he always ends by saying, essentially, we never will improve things because we're too lazy and too stupid.Fans of Vonnegut will still enjoy the stories about himself and people he knew. He quotes a lot of material such as speeches he gave at various locations, and there is an Appendix of all the stuff he didn't include in order to keep things moving in the main text. People who don't know Vonnegut or who don't like his work, will probably find themselves annoyed at the constant name-dropping and the depressing tone of it all.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Most writers shun bringing their family members, wife and children, into the picture. Not Kurt Vonnegut. In Fates worse than death. An autobiographical collage there are several references to his wife and children and their wonderful achievements. Or pride themselves on knowing celebrities.As in the preface: The adjacent photograph by Jill Krementz (my wife) shows me with the great German writer Heinrich Böll (like me and Norman Mailer and James Jones and Gore Vidal a former Private in the Infantry). Referring to himself three times in one sentence.Fates worse than death seems a somewhat lazy memoir. Especially the opening chapters are very conversational. The humour does not ring true. Chapters are connected by picking up the thread, focusing on a snippet of information mentioned in the previous chapter.Having read little by this author, Kurt Vonnegut seems a one-theme author. The photo facing, preceding, the preface refers to the Second Word War, as does the last photo, on the last page of the book, showing the author roaming the German countryside, just after the war. The whole book is mainly about the author's war experience.There are various asides from the main theme, referring to himself and the world at large in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Actually, after the first 80 pages or so, the tone of the book becomes a little bit more serious, and more interesting, although the aura of self-aggrandizing remains.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Another one I haven't started yet.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

Fates Worse Than Death suffers from the fact that it will inevitably be compared with its autobiographical companion, Palm Sunday -- Vonnegut himself does so in the first pages. Unfortunately, this book lacks the coherence, the revelatory wonder, and the readability of that previous text.This book stresses far less the snippets of speeches and short writings that similarly made up Palm Sunday's pastiche, instead attempting through its title-less chapters, lack of table of contents, and minimal white space to appear as a more cohesive narrative. Unfortunately, it seems as if Vonnegut couldn't decide whether to make the book progress chronologically or conceptually -- and by doing both, the book feels unfocused.Perhaps most damning, though, is the fact that the book is filled with lots of things that are frankly pretty damn uninteresting: fascinating stories like Vonnegut's soiree in a mental facility are merely glossed over in favor of less interesting missives about, for instance, Mozambique.Lightning doesn't quite strike twice here, though if you've read and enjoyed Palm Sunday, it's fascinating to see how Vonnegut treats his material differently in this text.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
As an autobiographical miscellany, this book is a little unsatisfactory aesthetically. There is some very good material in this however--about mental illness, addiction, extended family. Vonnegut is a little hard to peg philosophically/religiously. Albeit, quite probably atheist, he is not scornful of everything religious.Vonnegut billed this as the sequel of Palm Sunday. However, several of the themes in this book were much more satisfactorily treated in Slapstick.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
a collection of vonnegut's speeches and essays from the 1980's as well as just little personal snippets. absoloutly heart breaking with vonnegut's classic kindness and brutality and humor.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I used to be more of a Vonnegut fan. In high school I read nearly all of his novels, starting with The Sirens of Titan, which was assigned in English class one year. But, in later years, I find him too cranky and too pessimistic. As an adult now, I know already that the world is a mess and that we're all probably going to die in horrible ways; I really don't need his works to remind me.The subtitle of this book calls it "An Autobiographical Collage" and that is quite accurate. There is no plot, no single purpose that I could see running through the biographical episodes, unless it was to trace how an old satirist turned ugly. I don't mean to say that Vonnegut was a despicable old man at all, because he was still making good points about how unhappy the world is and how we could work on improving things. Except that he always ends by saying, essentially, we never will improve things because we're too lazy and too stupid.Fans of Vonnegut will still enjoy the stories about himself and people he knew. He quotes a lot of material such as speeches he gave at various locations, and there is an Appendix of all the stuff he didn't include in order to keep things moving in the main text. People who don't know Vonnegut or who don't like his work, will probably find themselves annoyed at the constant name-dropping and the depressing tone of it all.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Most writers shun bringing their family members, wife and children, into the picture. Not Kurt Vonnegut. In Fates worse than death. An autobiographical collage there are several references to his wife and children and their wonderful achievements. Or pride themselves on knowing celebrities.As in the preface: The adjacent photograph by Jill Krementz (my wife) shows me with the great German writer Heinrich Böll (like me and Norman Mailer and James Jones and Gore Vidal a former Private in the Infantry). Referring to himself three times in one sentence.Fates worse than death seems a somewhat lazy memoir. Especially the opening chapters are very conversational. The humour does not ring true. Chapters are connected by picking up the thread, focusing on a snippet of information mentioned in the previous chapter.Having read little by this author, Kurt Vonnegut seems a one-theme author. The photo facing, preceding, the preface refers to the Second Word War, as does the last photo, on the last page of the book, showing the author roaming the German countryside, just after the war. The whole book is mainly about the author's war experience.There are various asides from the main theme, referring to himself and the world at large in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Actually, after the first 80 pages or so, the tone of the book becomes a little bit more serious, and more interesting, although the aura of self-aggrandizing remains.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Another one I haven't started yet.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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