Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Lately I've read some Michener, Robert Heinlein, and Kurt Vonnegut. Heinlein's book was amazingly prohetic in ways, considering when it was written. I could tell the used book store lady is no fan. He was probably a bit libertarian leaning. She was obviously approving when I purchased some Vonnegut works.

After reading Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle and most of Deadeye Dick, I think I got the flavor of why the lady was a fan. He seems to be just on the edge of the genre of writers which is cynical and slightly arrogant, but he tends to pull it back some where others whose names escape me go over the edge. I've decided I am not much of an admirer of the hipster types who mock sincerity and the heroic side of humanity. The critics often gush over these people but I think it is like the ones who gush over bad art because they are afraid not to.

Vonnegut is definitely way beyond the wallowers in the underbelly of society who love to glorify self destruction in smugly superior tripe. His work is amazingly readable and cuts through several layers of possible meaning. I'll be done with Deadeye Dick and onto something else by the time this is published.

I forgot why Kurt was recommended to me, but it was worth checking out. I'm not sure it leaves me all that uplifted, but the style is noteworthy and hopefully some of it will rub off one day. Especially his treatment of dialogue.

It is interesting to see what the favorable reviews pasted on the back cover say about various books. In Vonnegut's case, I wonder if some of them didn't just jump on the bandwagon without reading the book. It deserved praise, but you can snese when they are trying to outdo one another in how they pour the superlatives into their reviews. It almost seemed that they were kissing up and trying to glean some hipster creds in the process. If I were him, I'd have been pleased and nauseated at the same time. I wonder if it is a case in which different people get different meaning out of the same thing.

I'm glad he stops short of being a prose version of a beat poet. He treads the edge, but not so close that I walk away. It is worth exploring great American writers. This country has produced some interesting and wild literature. Often the ones that get the most raves from the critics are not my favorites. In Kurt's case, I'd love to go against them because I think they were fulfilling an image at the time, but I can't.

I'm fairly certain that you can't teach a person to be an artist when it comes to writing. Some of the skill can be taught, but the rest must just be an element of the author's make up. Probably not even a genetically transferred trait. It is a weird thing. That's where Kurt gets me; it is not strained or forced or akward, Even the parts which might normally be boring are easily followed word for word, except for the insertion of recipes here and there in Deadeye Dick. I don't read those closely.

Michener's subject matter and research make his stuff interesting, most of the time, but it is sometimes a little boring unless I am really interested in the details of whatever he is belaboring. And when he throws in his political parts, he can leave me a bit cold. John Irving sometimes does that too; throw in heavy handed politics in a story where it seems out of place. I understand the temptation. Too bad they are both on another wave length from me. Maybe I wouldn't mind if we were in accord.

That's probably why I like Heinlein. He seems less inclined to see official authority as the end all. Or, interpreted another way, maybe we do see official authority, unchecked, as the end all; as in end of all

About Me

My photo
Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


Blog Archive