13 abr. 2007

I read Vonnegut pretty intensely from age 12 to 15 or 16, and not much after that. He was one of my first literary obsessions, along with Cummings and Tolkien. Breakfast of Champions came out in 1973 when I was 13, so that represents the height of his career for me, the intersection between him near the height of his powers and me as a reader. Then the next book failed to impress me. Nothing he wrote after Breakfast seemed to have as much weight. Now I don't know whether that's because his books were not as good any more, or whether I had outgrown him in some sense. I'd have to go back and read him again, but I don't think I'd ever be able to re-capture the adolescent emotion of reading him.

The fact that he may be a writer for adolescents says nothing against him. Adolescents are those most in need of writers. Things I read in those days, like Kafka, have stayed with me forever. I read Catch 22 five times before the age of 17, but not once since. It has stayed with me.

8 comentarios:

Andrew Shields dijo...

I like that line about the adolescent need for writers so much that I have put it in my signature file.

Jonathan dijo...

If I had known you were going to do that I would have polished the sentence a little more.

Jesse Crockett dijo...

I can't believe you read Catch 22 five times. I hope you recovered.

bobbasil dijo...

I'm quoting that line on basil.ca, if you don't mind.

PS --> my writers back then was Eugene O'Neill and R.D. Laing.

bobbasil dijo...

"my writers *were* ..."

Andrew Shields dijo...

I think "adolescents are those most in need of writers" is pretty well put!

Glenn Ingersoll dijo...

I also loved Vonnegut at the ages you mention. (I remember an 8th grade student teacher showing me the * in Breakfast of Champions.) And I stalled on Jailbird; I couldn't finish it.

After a few years I picked up Galapagos and enjoyed that. Now and then over the years I will try a Vonnegut. I didn't like Bluebeard but I thought Hocus Pocus quite good.

Chris dijo...

I too like the line "Adolescents are those most in need of writers." But the first time around I read it as: "Adolescents are the neediest of readers." Which could be an implication of your statement... and might even be true...