Thursday, May 21, 2015

Hitting The Target

I was a bit worried when I set out on Deadeye Dick that it was going to be another of Vonnegut's clunkers, along the lines of the dreadful Slapstick. My concerns were provoked by the laconic references in the excellent Chronology by the LoA editor Sidney Offit to a quickly written novel that received mixed reviews. However, it turned out to be a solid enough effort for post-Slaughterhouse 5 Vonnegut, a little too similar to Jailbird for comfort, but holding together in its own right.

The thing is that whenever KV goes for the first person narrative voice you seem to get some kind of version of Howard J. Campbell from Mother Night: vulnerable, eccentric, self-deceiving. But I enjoyed the interpolated recipes, the occasional bits of dramatisation (narrator Rudy Waltz is a kind of failed playwright) and the digressions into the art world (his dad being a failed painter.) In fact, for a quickly written effort it's good stuff showing Vonnegut hadn't entirely abandoned his sense of craft at this stage.

I've just started Galapagos, which Offit tells us got good reviews, and was relieved to find myself in the company of a third person narrator. This is likely to be my last Vonnegut, at least for two or three years, and I'm hoping this sees echoes of his former glory.

No comments: