June 8, 2023

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Charles J. Shields’s ‘And So It Goes’: Excellent biography of Kurt Vonnegut; The Washington Post

In the introduction to “And So It Goes,” his excellent biography of Kurt Vonnegut, Charles J. Shields recalls an early conversation in which Vonnegut lashed out, with genuine venom, against such family members as his brother, Bernard, a man he had written about with great affection in his 1976 novel, “Slapstick.” A few pages later, Shields recounts an earlier incident in which Vonnegut, incensed by the remarks of a “smart aleck” theatergoer, invited the man into the parking lot and knocked him to the ground. These vignettes serve as early warning signals that the portrait we’re about to encounter — the portrait of a world-renowned humanist — will contain some dark and unexpected revelations.