Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

A Man without A Country

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

A Man without A Country

Article excerpt

A Man Without A Country, by Kurt Vonnegut. Seven Stories Press, September 2005. $21

A man has a right to be crotchety when he's reached the age of 82. But if Vonnegut is crotchety, we need more of it. This little gem, presumably entitled as it is because Vonnegut wishes to separate himself from the policies of the US government in the world, demonstrates the opposite. Vonnegut is an American with a strong sense of his personal origins and his ties to what he calls "freshwater socialism." His frustration and even despair at the Bush administration is secondary to his deep-seated pessimism about the essential driving forces of the US no matter which party is in power. Vonnegut's deep-seated pessimism about the future is tied to the sense that the country's "addiction to fossil fuels" will cause us to commit "violent crimes" to get "what little is left."

But the reader needs to be assured that Vonnegut has not sacrificed his sense of humor or irony to produce a mere political screed. …

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