Kurt Vonnegut, literary scion of Mark Twain, as the book jackets like to say, had once promised to never write another book, but sullied his word in 2005 with the publication of his satiric collection of musings called A Man Without a Country. Steering clear of the professional approach to book reviews -- those aspiring to Lionel Trilling, et. al., from which you will tell you that reading this book is “like sitting down on the couch for a long chat with an old friend” – I will first say/brag that I read this book in just one sitting and I am by no means a fast reader.
If you have ever read anything by Vonnegut then I see no need and much futility in attempting to describe his style, which has not waned in satirical bite or humor. A Man Without a Country is neither a magnum opus, nor a manifesto for our country’s future (please refer to our manifesto post), but a grouping of short essays, silk screenings and anecdotes (about such topics as story-telling, the Bush administration, and Humanism) linked by the persona of their author, a man who has survived his Winter years and still has a lot on his mind.
To the manufacturers of
On the difference between
To a degree, these quotes may form a portrait in your mind of a crotchety old fart, banging away at his outdated typewriter in disgust. And to a degree, that’s exactly what this book amounts to, except that this old fart is still funny as hell and it wouldn’t hurt us youngsters to sit down “on the couch for a long chat with an old [fart]”. You know what, I’ll just let Vonnegut end this for me:
“Yes, this planet is in a terrible mess. But it has always been a mess. There have never been any ‘Good Old Days,’ there have just been days. And as I sy to my grandchildren, ‘Don’t look at me. I just got here’.”
As Vonnegut’s contemporary, Henny Youngman, would say, “Buy the book, Kid.”Here are some other blogs about A Man Without a Country, all of which are better than mine.
A Common Reader's