Grandpa Vonnegut: old age as uninspiring punctuation

Kurt Vonnegut calls the success of his new essay collection “a nice glass of champagne at the end of a life.” But then he

jokes, sort of, that he has “lived too long” and wishes he had been finished off by a fire at his home a few years ago, from which he escaped unharmed. “When Hemingway killed himself he put a period at the end of his life; old age is more like a semicolon,” Vonnegut said with a wheezy laugh worthy of a long-term chain smoker.

“My father, like Hemingway, was a gun nut and was very unhappy late in life. But he was proud of not committing suicide. And I’ll do the same, so as not to set a bad example for my children.”

There’s no cable at la casa de Maud, and despite my longtime Vonnegut-worship I haven’t found time to download the video clip of his Daily Show appearance. But The Rake was watching through the gaps between his fingers.


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