“A Man Without A Country” is Kurt Vonnegut’s last book. It is not a story as much as a collection of his thoughts toward the end of his life. And I’ll just say, years of experience made him one pessimistic man, or perhaps he was frightfully realistic. Either way, it has also made him a very eloquent man. Just about every sentence from this book is quotable.
So, instead of my more standard synopsis, I’m going to share some selections with you. I found all of these both insightful and amusing.
“But now I am eighty-two… The last thing I ever wanted was to be alive when the three most powerful people on the planet would be named Bush, Dick, and Colon.”
On the environment:
“The biggest truth to face now- what is probably making me unfunny now for the remainder of my life- is that I don’t think people give a damn whether the planet goes on or not. It seems to me as if everyone is living as members of Alcoholics Anonymous do, day by day. And a few more days will be enough. I know of very few people who are dreaming of a world for their grandchildren.”
“For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course that’s Moses, not Jesus. I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes be posted anywhere… ‘Blessed are the merciful’ in a courtroom? ‘Blessed are the peacemakers’ in the Pentagon? Give me a break!”
” ‘Welcome to Earth, young man,’ I said. ‘It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, Joe, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of: Goddamn it, Joe, you’ve got to be kind!’ ”
I recommend this book. Vonnegut has always been an excellent one with words and it is interesting to read him talk about his process in writing and some of his history. His views on politics and the environment are harsh and charming at the same time. He is terribly amusing and it is often dark. He has always found that balance well. I am a fan of his novels and am happy to have read this very personal, straightforward book.
I’ll end the post with my favorite quote of the book.
“How beautiful it is to get up and go out and do something. We are here on Earth to fart around. Don’t let anybody tell you any different.”