Jul. 23rd, 2011

I was put off this book for a long time because I was once told that it’s a science fiction book about fire-bombing Dresden during World War II. My brain refused to process that description and the matter was dropped. Alas, my brain couldn’t conceive what Kurt Vonnegut could do and it’s been my loss.

I have a habit of grouping quotes from a book, and it’s surprisingly hard with this one. The narrative is disjointed, but there’s such masterful buildup that I’m reluctant to move things around, especially the parts about the war.

  • I drive my wife away with a breath like mustard gas and roses.
  • The destruction of Dresden was represented by a vertical band of orange cross-hatching, and all the lines that were still alive passed through it, came out the other side.
  • He caught my eye, winked, opened the bag. There was a plaster model of the Eiffel Tower in there. It was painted gold. It had a clock in it. “There’s a smashin’ thing,” he said.
  • He had a prophylactic kit containing two tough condoms “For the Prevention of Disease Only!”

__ We were connected to the institutions that supported us by means of pneumatic tubes which ran under the streets of Chicago.
__ In 1841, only two years later, an assistant to Daguerre, André Le Fèvre, was arrested in the Tuileries Gardens for attempting to sell a gentleman a picture of the woman and the pony.
__ Weary had a block of balsa wood which was supposed to be a foxhole pillow.
__ … dumb motherfucker.” The last word was still a novelty in the speech of white people in 1944.

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