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Download And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life epub

by Charles J. Shields

A New York Times Notable Book for 2011

A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book for 2011

The first authoritative biography of Kurt Vonnegut Jr., a writer who changed the conversation of American literature.

In 2006, Charles Shields reached out to Kurt Vonnegut in a letter, asking for his endorsement for a planned biography. The first response was no ("A most respectful demurring by me for the excellent writer Charles J. Shields, who offered to be my biographer"). Unwilling to take no for an answer, propelled by a passion for his subject, and already deep into his research, Shields wrote again and this time, to his delight, the answer came back: "O.K." For the next year―a year that ended up being Vonnegut's last―Shields had access to Vonnegut and his letters.

And So It Goes is the culmination of five years of research and writing―the first-ever biography of the life of Kurt Vonnegut. Vonnegut resonates with readers of all generations from the baby boomers who grew up with him to high-school and college students who are discovering his work for the first time. Vonnegut's concise collection of personal essays, Man Without a Country, published in 2006, spent fifteen weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and has sold more than 300,000 copies to date. The twenty-first century has seen interest in and scholarship about Vonnegut's works grow even stronger, and this is the first book to examine in full the life of one of the most influential iconoclasts of his time.

Download And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life epub
ISBN: 0805086935
ISBN13: 978-0805086935
Category: Literature
Subcategory: History & Criticism
Author: Charles J. Shields
Language: English
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; First Edition edition (November 8, 2011)
Pages: 528 pages
ePUB size: 1543 kb
FB2 size: 1890 kb
Rating: 4.7
Votes: 582
Other Formats: docx mbr mobi lrf

The ironies and contradictions in this tomb were rife... underscoring in upmarket fashion the importance of writing passionately from the heart. Nothing *more*. Nothing less.

Overall, something told me this would be a challenging book… ‘And So It Goes’ it was. It was a hard book to put down for sure. All the way around I really got a lot out of this biography; a MUST READ for writers in particular, and anyone else who enjoys what solid storytelling is all about. I love old-school fiction, and loved reading about its derivatives. The best book on writing I've read thus far!
It seems on browsing through some of the reviews of "And So It Goes" that many readers picked up this biography hoping to find the persona that Kurt Vonnegut crafted, as opposed to an honest story about the person. This is not a hit piece, as some reviewers assert, but rather a biography of the man, not the image he cultivated to sell his books. They are two very different things. Charles Shields is a fan of Vonnegut's, even going so far as to call him "an extraordinary man" in the text's Introduction. However, he does present him truthfully, and it seems that many fans can't handle that. I too will admit that I don't like finding out how much Kurt Vonnegut was not the man in real life that he used as his persona for the author of his novels. It makes me a little sad, but close reading of Vonnegut's nonfiction pieces alerted me long ago to his bitterness and mean spirit. I just conveniently ignore it. However, Mr. Shields must be truthful in this book, and he is.
I'll start with bringing up some negatives about the text. On a minor note, there are a few factual errors and inaccurate statements about a couple of Vonnegut's novels. Not a big deal which I am sure will be cleared up in later prints of the book. Of more consequence (to me) was how Mr. Shields inserts his own opinions about Vonnegut's novels occasionally into his examination of them. I don't like this. I am fine with him examining critical receptions and reader responses to the works when they appeared, but his personal thoughts on them should be left alone. It detracts from the objectivity he as the biographer should be trying to create.
However, Mr. Shields shines when he examines Vonnegut's life and the manner in which it found its way into his masterpiece "Slaughterhouse-Five". This part of the text is very well done, as is a lovely section on thoughts about the nature of "art" that Vonnegut shared with his scientist brother Bernard. The conversation is recounted on pages 394-396 of the text and is a highlight. The book also ends with an interesting (and short) history of Vonnegut's ancestors. I am not sure why it ends the book, but it is informative none the less.
On a personal note, if "And So It Goes" and Vonnegut's life feature a villain it is Vonnegut's second wife Jill Krementz. If half of what appears in this text is true (and it is all footnoted in the bibliography) then she was and is a horrible woman who did much to bring despair and pain into Vonnegut's life. The reader will hate her, and be exhausted and troubled by Vonnegut's never washing his hands of her. Mr. Shields never says this, but I get the feeling he was not too fond of her.
As the first authorized biography of Vonnegut (he was working with Shields when he died) "And So It Goes" is an important text. One of the most important writers of the last century deserves a biography, and now finally he has it.
Read this loved it KV is a fav of mine since reading Cat's Cradle! Mr. Shields has painted a thoughtfuk portrait. I have this in hardback and kindle and we have given my sister a signed copy!
I have not read a lot of biographies; they could probably be counted on two hands. But this one is definitely the strangest. It is a systematic and comprehensive chronicle of Vonnegut and well-written. But Shields has something negative to say on almost every page about the author to the point of moral judgment. I've never seen anything quite like it.

For example: "As often as Vonnegut fulminated about the pernicious effects of big money and big corporations, he opened himself to charges of hypocrisy and getting into bed with him." As another reviewer said, "you get Kurt, warts and all." That's fine, but there is this snarky tone which seems like it's part of some personal feud. I've read biographies of Hemingway and the British actor, Oliver Reed, whose public and private behaviors were far more odious, yet their biographers remained objective. Although I'm no expert it would seem that objectivity is central to biography. Kurt's second wife, Jill, is a nasty bit of business, but here Shields reports just the facts and condemns nothing.

Very good insights into one of my favourite authors' life and writing. This biography shed a lot of light on his character, his life and some of his books: I realized why I like some of his books so much better than others. Unfortunately, there was very little about the background of "Galapagos"; some other details are drawn out for no apparent reason.
I liked this because it gave me insight into Vonnegut like I never had before. It humanized him and I love him even more. He's in heaven now with Isaac Asimov.
I have enjoyed his quirky novels over the years. This biography is a welcome addition to the Vonnegut oeuvre. I now look forward to enjoying THIS volume for further insights into this iconic leader in American fiction.
As a lifetime fan of the author's fiction, it reveals that KV was actually writing autobiographical material to a large degree. This IS a must read for all writers.