"If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?
is a spectacular read in its entirety, brimming with Vonnegut’s unflinching convictions and timeless advice to the young."—Maria Popova
“Like [that of] his literary ancestor Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut’s crankiness is good-humored and sharp-witted.”—A.O. Scott
, The New York Times Book Review
"Like so much of Vonnegut's work, these speeches combine absurdist humor, pessimism and countercultural politics, with improbably and disarmingly charming results."—Troy Jollimore, Chicago Tribune's Printers Row Journal
"If This Isn't Nice, What Is?
is a blast of pure acid."—Entertainment Weekly
"The material here offers us a slightly different lens, a different window, extending across a wide range of time and geography, from Fredonia College in Fredonia New York in 1978 to Eastern Washington University in Spokane in 2004, and framed by not just Vonnegut’s sense of humor but also of humanity, his faith in our essential decency."—David Ulin
, The Los Angeles Times
"These delightful scattershot commencement speeches offer fresh clues to what lay behind Kurt Vonnegut's twinkly visage—clues that are well worth celebrating."—Peter Matthiessen
About the Author
Born in 1922 in Indianapolis, Indiana, KURT VONNEGUT
was one of the few grandmasters of modern American letters. Called by the New York Times
“the counterculture’s novelist,” his works guided a generation through the miasma of war and greed that was life in the U.S. in second half of the 20th century. After a stints as a soldier, anthropology PhD candidate, technical writer for General Electric, and salesman at a Saab dealership, Vonnegut rose to prominence with the publication ofCat’s Cradle
in 1963. Several modern classics, including Slaughterhouse-Five
, soon followed. Never quite embraced by the stodgier arbiters of literary taste, Vonnegut was nonetheless beloved by millions of readers throughout the world. “Given who and what I am,” he once said, “it has been presumptuous of me to write so well.” Kurt Vonnegut died in New York in 2007.
A longtime friend of Kurt Vonnegut’s, Dan Wakefield
edited and introduced Kurt Vonnegut: Letters
. Wakefield is the author of the memoirs New York in the Fifties
and Returning: A Spiritual Journey.
His novel, Going All the Way
was made into a movie starring Ben Affleck. Wakefield also created the NBC prime time series, James at Fifteen
. He lives in Indianapolis, Indiana.