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Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Latest: Bestselling American novelist Kurt Vonnegut dies at 84

Kurt Vonnegut

by Susan Abraham

Bestselling prolific American novelist, Kurt Vonnegut, the author of 19 novels and who penned several short stories, essays and plays, died yesterday at 84, from a brain illness after a fall in his New York home, a few weeks ago.

Famed for his satire, his best works were possibly Slaugherhouse-Five & Cat's Cradle. In the former, Vonnegut wrote of the firebombing in Dresden, Germany where he was himself a prisoner of war and was commanded to shift mass bodies about for burial.

In the end, they were quickly destroyed by flame-throwers.

In later life, he battled depression and like his mother, a suicide attempt except that he would joke afterwards of how he had botched the job with pills and alcohol.

It was said he was often in emotional pain.

Yet, most of his works were bestselling black comedies and some were even banned - this on the suspicion of vulgarity. However, after a severe dismissal by critics early in his writing career, all were later noticed and drew famed lifelong attention. After a stumbling start, Slaughterhouse-Five triumphed in book sales, at the height of the Vietnam War.

To the end of his days, Konnegut remained critical of the administration of President George W. Bush and of the Iraq war.

Picture credit: Entertainment Weekly


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