“When a Tralfamadorian sees a corpse, all he thinks is that the dead person is in a bad condition in that particular moment, but that same person is just fine in plenty of other moments. Now, when I myself hear that somebody is dead, I simply shrug and say what the Tralfamadorians say about dead people, which is ‘So it goes.’”
— from Vonnegut’s ‘Slaughterhouse-Five,’ 1969
Kurt Vonnegut, the acclaimed author of more than a dozen novels, short stories, essays and plays, died in Manhattan Wednesday. He was 84.
On one occasion he explained that his goal in writing novels was to “catch people before they become generals and Senators and Presidents” and “poison their minds with humanity. Encourage them to make a better world.”
While Slaughterhouse Five has been Vonnegut’s most successful novel, his dark wit produced many other amazing books like the Sirens of Titan and Breakfast of Champions. His latest book, A Man Without A Country, explores how music guides people through the most tragic of times.
Though he was a vocal religious skeptic, Vonnegut wrote in that final essay collection that “if I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph: ‘The only proof he needed for the existence of God was music.'”
NPR.org offers a Remembrance Page that includes video and audio of Vonnegut’s various public radio appearances.