Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut (1997) For whatever reason, I decided to read (and in some cases, reread) all of Kurt Vonnegut's novels (and maybe a few of the other books) in order—but after reading his first, Player Piano, I decided to read this, his last novel, next, out of curiosity, and in case I didn't get through them all. Written when he was in his seventies, it feels like a last novel, or a kind of summing up. It's in part about a failed novel, which was his original attempt at “Timequake”—about a glitch in the Universe that reverted everyone back ten years, from 2001 to 1991, at which time we all have to relive the previous ten years. I don't know about you, but that kind of jumping around in time makes a lot of sense to me—I guess—in a world, and life, that is often hard to make any sense of. Besides the sci-fi, fantasy, and absurdist elements, this book is also somewhat of a memoir, or could even be looked at as an unconventional autobiography. It's also a final jaunt with his goofy alter-ego, Kilgore Trout. A lot of it is very funny, and a lot of it is very sad. Overall, it kind of made me happy, though—at least in a subdued way. You want to feel like Kurt Vonnegut is your friend, even though sometimes he's a maddening old fart—and he's the first to admit that. But he's also the kind of friend that really helps you (or me, anyway, maybe not you) deal with what we all know life is (well, I speak for myself)—you know: Pain! Fear! Suffering! Wow, that donut's good! Death! Nothingness!
Books I've Finished Reading