A Feature Review of
Kurt Vonnegut: Letters
Dan Wakefield, ed.
Reviewed by Larry Shallenberger.
[ Read an excerpt of this book ]
Mark Twain was consumed with concerns about his reputation and legacy to the point that when he sat down to write his autobiography he ordered the estate to keep the document sealed for one hundred years. The work was finally published in 2010. Twain’s reminiscences were so rambling and anecdotal that one was left with the impression that Twain’s fear of being truly known submarined the project, despite the century-long moratorium of being judged by history. The mantle of being America’s satirist passed from Twain to novelist Kurt Vonnegut, but gratefully, the posthumous collection of Vonnegut’s correspondence is more generous in its revelations about his relationships, struggles and wit.
Letters was compiled and edited by Vonnegut’s longtime friend, Dan Wakefield, who was also a son of Indianapolis and a novelist. Wakefield organized Vonnegut’s type-written correspondence by decades and opened section with brief historic and biographical notes which provide quite helpful to those less versed in the particulars of Vonnegut’s life.