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Kurt Vonnegut

A man without a country

At the start of A man without a country Kurt Vonnegut explains how as a child in a large family he took to humour as a way of getting himself heard. I thought to myself 'Well that explains a lot'. For I have to say I have never got on with his work, and it seems to me to be constantly saying 'look at me, aren't I strange'. The book starts off OK, with details of Vonnegut's life - but it doesn't last, and really the best recommendation I can give for this book is that it's fairly short, and would serve as a taster, to see how you felt about Vonnegut's writing.

Vonnegut is often said to be Mark Twain's literary successor. I'm not convinced myself, but even if this is the case, then, well I've still got plenty of the original Mark Twain's work to read.

Towards the end of the book he seems to lapse into fairly uniform criticism of the USA, and at one points explains how he advises a new mother that the best she can do for her child is emigrate. In a way I prefer those Americans who are convinced that everyone else in the world wants to go and live there - at least I can laugh at them.