God Bless You, Mr Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut

Hilarious. Bonus: one can read it and laugh without the horrified guilt that hangs over the reading of Mother Night because it is only about the bad stuff we do to poor people and basically nice white people are all in agreement that it’s okay to live better at the expense of poor people.

I would love to pull bits of this out to show you how funny it is. The scene where Eliot gives money to the poet so that the poet can tell the truth and the poet discovers he has no truth to tell. He only thought he did while he rationalised that poverty prevented him from doing so. Eliot’s novel set in heaven. It’s the only thing I’ve ever read about heaven that felt like it might actually exist. But out of context, sitting here on the page, they just lose their oomph, not unlike Vonnegut’s attempt to tell the two funniest jokes in the world in a ‘Paris Review’ interview.

Still, I can’t resist this, about a Kilmore Trout book, which the person buying is expecting to be sexually obscene because he found it in a smut shop.

He didn’t understand that what Trout had in common with pornography wasn’t sex but fantasies of an impossibly hospitable world

Hilarious. So sad. It is all like this.

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