Kurt’s canon

In this entry from “The Salon.com Reader’s Guide to Contemporary Authors,” Dave Eggers summarizes and notates Vonnegut’s literary output.

Dave Eggers in Salon:

KvKurt Vonnegut is one of the few writers in this guide that I can be sure that everyone has already read (unless “everyone” includes people who cannot read, or do not read, or are very young, or speak a language into which his work as not been translated). So. Vonnegut is a science fiction aficionado, WWII vet, lover of women, pitier of the poor, cranky luddite, fun-loving doomsayer, sometime postmodernist. His books — very personal novels disguised as allegories disguised as science fiction — nearly always take the entire world (or more) as their canvas. Usually there is a world war, or some catastrophic event, or often genocide, or a scientific or political innovation that threatens to, or has succeeded in, destroying all that we hold dear.

Because of this, Vonnegut could be dismissed as a cranky pessimist. Because his prose is frank and uncomplicated and often very funny, he could be passed off as a “humorist.” Gore Vidal once called him “America’s worst writer.” But despite Vidal (did you know he’s related to Al Gore? And the Kennedys?) and other critics, for some inexplicable reason, Vonnegut is taken seriously (by many at least), and he is loved by millions — even the superintellectuals like yourself.

More here.