KURT VONNEGUT, JR.
An inspirational figure behind Bokonon Books, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1922-2007) is considered by many to be the greatest American satirist since Mark Twain. In a career spanning over 50 years, Vonnegut published fourteen novels, three short story collections, five plays, and five works of non-fiction, most notably Slaughterhouse-Five (1969), Breakfast of Champions (1973) and Cat's Cradle (1963), the last-named title featuring the central character whose name was shamelessly purloined to identify this bookstore.
Vonnegut was a vocal critic of the society in which he lived, and this was reflected throughout his writings. Several key social themes recur in Vonnegut's works, such as wealth, the lack of it, and its unequal distribution among communities. The breakdown of the American family, war, technology, the negative aspects of politics and religion on society are all targets of his satire. Vonnegut frequently employed imagined alien societies and civilizations to emphasize or exaggerate absurdities and idiosyncrasies in our own world, causing him be mislabeled as "merely" a science fiction writer early in his career.
Vonnegut's writing style has been described as straightforward; his sentences concise, his language simple, his paragraphs brief, and his ordinary tone conversational, using this style to convey normally complex subject matter in a way that is intelligible to a large audience. While most of his work is easily accessible to a broad range of ages and educational backgrounds, some of his novels that follow a more traditional, linear narrative such as Mother Night, Cat's Cradle or The Sirens of Titan are suggested starting points for the uninitiated, before moving on to some of the more convoluted offerings such as Breakfast of Champions, Slaughterhouse-Five, or Timequake.
As always, the staff at Bokonon Books is glad to have the opportunity to help with further recommendations or discussions about this featured author or any other literary topic our customers would like to know more about.