The Sirens of Titan

Sorry for the radio silence. I’m slogging my way through an unenjoyable read right now. But I promised myself I wouldn’t write a review on any book I didn’t finish, so the slog goes on. Hopefully I’ll have a writeup on it this weekend. In the meantime, here’s a review I wrote last year on a Kurt Vonnegut classic. I hope you enjoy it. Vonnegut is close to my heart, and is probably my biggest influence as a writer. You should read his stuff. All of it.

The Sirens of Titan

by Kurt Vonnegut

It is one thing to remember how much you loved reading Kurt Vonnegut. It is quite another to read him for the first time in a long time, and realize that he was much better than you even remembered.

I read Player Piano for the first time several years ago, which was his first novel. It was interesting, and there were glimpses of the magic, but it was very uneven and plodded at times, and just not very Vonnegut. I remember wondering if my admiration of other Vonnegut books I had read years before were colored by the haze of memory. So I was a little anxious digging into Sirens.

The worry was for nothing. This is Vonnegut through and through. Everything I remembered. The imagination. The humor. The heartbreak. The humanness. Yes, there is still some “finding his footing” here, as one would expect from a second novel. But the writer we all remember and love is here, just waiting to burst forth.

As for the story itself, I won’t attempt to summarize the unsumarizable, other than to say this: rich dude travels solar system looking for the meaning of it all, and is sorely disappointed. Does that sound depressing? Of course it does, because Vonnegut. But it’s not. Or rather, it’s a good kind of depressing. Again, because Vonnegut.


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