Books: A Vonnegut Interlude

September 19, 2006

I meant to read more history, but instead ended up reading Slaughterhouse-Five, which, after the Odyssey, seemed like something of a snack. It took me barely more than one sitting to read the whole novel.

The metaphorical wanderings musing on free will are intriguing to me. Mostly I, and I’d bet a chunk of my fellow generation, take free will for granted. As Bart Simpson said: “I do what I feel like.”

I also like Vonnegut’s struggle with drunk-dialing, circa 1968 or so:

“I had the Bell Telephone Company find him for me…[t]hey are wonderful that way. I have this disease late at night sometimes, involving alcohol and the telephone. I get drunk, and I drive my wife away with a breath like mustard gas and roses. And then, speaking gravely and elegantly into the telephone, I ask the telephone operators to connect me with this friend or that one, from whom I have not heard in years.”

Did he invent it?

Something about Vonnegut reminds me of my grandfather, who passed about a decade ago. So it goes.


  1. El Gray says:

    I knocked it out in little more than a Saturday afternoon, myself, a few months ago.

    I was amused at the drunk dialing, too. Later, I learned that the lady who played Montana Wildhack in a movie adaptation was also Miss Tessmacher in Superman, and a cop in Cannonball Run. So it goes.

  2. Mikey, yep, that one. says:

    Dammit, nobody listens to me, I’ve yelled it from the mountaintops, J.D. Salinger invented drunk dialing in some book he wrote, oh, wait, it was “Catcher in the Rye” in 1951, if there’s an older reference to it, I haven’t seen it.

  3. mikey, again says:

    To follow up, I actually wrote a paper on Slaughterhouse Five one time, what are the aliens, Tessalorians or some crap? I could look it up, but anyway, I tried to explain how the jumping around in time in the book was his way of creating an alien sense of narrative, oh hell, I don’t remember what I’m talking about.

    –”she was a tremendous invitation to make babies” –Kurt Vonnegut

    –”there are no compacts between lions and men, and wolves and lambs have no concord”–Homer

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