Player Piano

Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1952) In some other book I was reading there was a description of Kurt Vonnegut novels on a shelf, those old Dell paperbacks, each with a different color, and that made me want to read these books, which I haven't in many years, or even remember what I read, including this one. But I always got the feeling that Kurt Vonnegut enjoyed writing—as much as I wish to—and whether or not that is true, I admire the feeling that comes through, and his sense of humor, behind which there is some real sadness. This was his first novel, somewhat different in style than he would settle into, but it's pretty amazing for someone's first novel, and also amazing for 1952. It's about a future time, set in Upstate New York, after the third world war, and a society in which miracles of automation have eliminated a large amount of labor, and so there has become an increased and well-defined class division. There are a lot of characters, some parallel stories, and a lot happens. It took me a few chapters to get into it, but once I was, this was one of those reading experiences where picking up the book was the high point of each day. It kept surprising me. The world he describes is at the same time an older, recognizable world, an imagined future that hasn't happened, and also, in many respects, a frighteningly accurate description of now. This made want to read (and re-read) more Kurt Vonnegut, and even though there is so much to read, and so little time, I'm going to.