There’s a new book out compiling Vonnegut’s letters. And by reading these letters you can get a great window in the nature of the man himself. Obviously.
In this review, Lydia Kiesling synthesizes the core sensibility of Vonnegut as such:
Vonnegut had such a fine grump-humanist sensibility, and such a surprising turn of phrase — now-goofy, now-eviscerating — that his collected letters were destined to bring forth bounty.
So yes, in my own sour little way, I was inspired by these letters, because I am inspired by a friendly humanist with a great work ethic and a dark sense of humor
(Us again) In this sense, Vonnegut reminds us quite a bit of Mssr. Miller: half-misanthrope, half-romantic. What a combination!
That said, Kiesling notes an undercurrent of melancholy in Vonnegut’s letters that we, personally, don’t necessary sense with Miller’s work:
But I also found them pretty sad. While it’s true that the life of Vonnegut did not appear to be easy, reading these letters, it wasn’t indifferent awards committees or prudish readers or the Chicago anthropologists who jumped out as the major roadblocks in the man’s life. Reading these letters, it seemed like Kurt Vonnegut’s biggest obstacle to happiness was Kurt Vonnegut.
It’s a great review – read the whole thing here!