Wednesday, December 03, 2008

by Kurt Vonnegut

I miss Kurt Vonnegut. A lot. His books are witty and clever and they never fail to turn the world on its head, challenge our views, or reinvigorate life as we may never know it.

Bluebeard is probably not one of his better-known books, but as I was explaining to people while I was reading it, "It's Vonnegut". And even mediocre Vonnegut is better than most stuff floating around out there. That really is saying a lot.

I didn't immensely enjoy Bluebeard, but there were a few nuggets of wisdom in it, a few insights I agreed with. And, of course, I laughed a bit, I felt sad a bit, and I thought of my favorite Vonnegut-ism a bit: and so it goes. So, I guess, I missed him a bit too.

The novel is an autobiography about an Armenian artist who hung out with the crowd of Abstract Expressionistic painters, including Jackson Pollock. But it's more about the nature of art, the obscene price of art, and the beauty of art all at the same time. The great thing about Vonnegut is that when he says something that strikes a chord, it really strikes a chord. I especially liked his view on artists and communities. Now that we are worldwide, only a few artists are needed to satisfy the masses, but that leaves several other less talented people who would have sufficed in a village. Sad but true, even more so today, with the internet.

I don't know if I'd recommend this book to a lot of people. Artists, writers, and creative types will all get something out of it. If you can hold out, the ending is wonderful and beautiful and actually well-worth it, one of Vonnegut's best...

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