Kurt Vonnegut, long-time smoker author of “Slaughterhouse Five” and “Cats Cradle,” died last night of brain injuries he suffered weeks ago during a fall. He was 84.
“I will say anything to be funny, often in the most horrible situations,” Vonnegut, whose watery, heavy-lidded eyes and unruly hair made him seem to be in existential pain, once told a gathering of psychiatrists.
A self-described religious skeptic and freethinking humanist, Vonnegut used protagonists such as Billy Pilgrim and Eliot Rosewater as transparent vehicles for his points of view. He also filled his novels with satirical commentary and even drawings that were only loosely connected to the plot. In “Slaughterhouse-Five,” he drew a headstone with the epitaph: “Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt.
“We probably could have saved ourselves, but we were too damned lazy to try very hard … and too damn cheap,” he once suggested carving into a wall on the Grand Canyon, as a message for flying-saucer creatures.
Interesting trivia: Kurt Vonnegut was the younger brother of a climatologist/environmental scientist and IgNoble Prize winner Bernard Vonnegut.
UPDATE: From darkman: