Kurt Vonnegut, the satirical novelist who captured the absurdity of war and questioned the advances of science in darkly humorous works such as "Slaughterhouse-Five" and "Cat's Cradle," died Wednesday. He was 84.I didn't always agree with his political statements of late, but I really enjoyed his novels; I devoted an entire six-weeks of Comparative Novels, a cool senior English elective, to his work (and received an A for my efforts).
Vonnegut, who often marveled that he had lived so long despite his lifelong smoking habit, had suffered brain injuries after a fall at his Manhattan home weeks ago, said his wife, photographer Jill Krementz.
The author of at least 19 novels, many of them best-sellers, as well as dozens of short stories, essays and plays, Vonnegut relished the role of a social critic. He lectured regularly, exhorting audiences to think for themselves and delighting in barbed commentary against the institutions he felt were dehumanizing people.
"I will say anything to be funny, often in the most horrible situations," Vonnegut, whose watery, heavy-lidded eyes and unruly hair made him seem to be in existential pain, once told a gathering of psychiatrists.
The title of this post refers to what the narrator in Slaughterhouse-Five whenever someone dies, so I thought it fitting to send Mr. Vonnegut off in that manner as well. I'll be back tomorrow with a "blogiversary" post; until then, you can decide whether or not you want to wear sunscreen (the greatest quote that Vonnegut never spoke).