Friday, 25 September 2009

5 ON 3

Through the miracle of modern t.v. technology, I was able to record a Radio 3 dramatisation of Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut. Vonnegut is my favourite novelist, and also occupies a leading position in my league table of wonderful human beings. I'll let you know what I thought of the adaptation once I've had the opportunity to hear it. The novel is based around the fire-bombing of Dresden in WW II and features a character who becomes "unstuck in time'.

I was greatly saddened by Vonnegut's death last year as well as by the relative lack of reaction to this event, particularly in the UK. I think he is still misunderstood by many people as being a 'science-fiction' writer (not that this should be any kind of deterrent to readers) because he sprinkled SF tropes throughout his books, although often in a self-aware and ironic fashion. The quality of his writing was, as he fully acknowledged, uneven, but at its best his work blended autobiography, fiction, humour and pathos in very powerful and moving way. Slaughterhouse 5 remains his most critically-acclaimed and best known novel, whereas Jailbird would top my list, although I have read, re-read and enjoyed all of his writing for many years now.

The broadcast can be heard through the inter-ether for a little while longer.


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