Wednesday 13 April 2022



HERE is a superb piece by James Parker in The Atlantic on Kurt Vonnegut's masterpiece Slaughterhouse-Five.  

Fifty years have passed since the publication of Slaughterhouse-Five. It’s the same age as me. And the older I get, and the more lumps fall off my brain, the more I find that rereading is the thing. Build your own little cockeyed canon and then bear down on it; get to know it, forward and backward; get to know it well. So I don’t know how many times I’ve read Slaughterhouse-Five. Three? Four? It never gets old, is the point. It never wanes in energy. This book is in no way the blossom of a flower. Slaughterhouse-Five is more in the nature of a superpower that the mutant author had to teach himself to master—and then could use, at full strength, only once.

What I love about this is Parker's acceptance as he gets older that 'rereading is the thing'. It's what I have been doing for years: Slaughterhouse-Five, Catch-22, Cannery Row, The Old Ways, Popper. But I have never thought of this habit of mine as building '...your own cockeyed canon' and bearing down on it. I will now. 

So it goes.