A remarkable analysis of Vonnegut's fiction and its cultural impact
Kurt Vonnegut is one of the few American writers since Mark Twain to have won and sustained a great popular acceptance while boldly introducing new themes and forms on the literary cutting edge. This is the "Vonnegut effect" that Jerome Klinkowitz finds unique among postmodernist authors.
In this innovative study of the author's fiction, Klinkowitz examines the forces in American life that have made Vonnegut's works possible. Vonnegut shared with readers a world that includes the expansive timeline from the Great Depression, during which his family lost their economic support, through the countercultural revolt of the 1960s, during which his fiction first gained prominence. Vonnegut also explored the growth in recent decades of America's sway in art, which his fiction celebrates, and geopolitics, which his novels question.
A pioneer in Vonnegut studies, Jerome Klinkowitz offers The Vonnegut Effect as a thorough treatment of the author's fiction—a canon covering more than a half century and comprising twenty books. Considering both Vonnegut's methods and the cultural needs they have served, Klinkowitz explains how those works came to be written and concludes with an assessment of the author's place in American fiction.
Jerome Klinkowitz is the author of more than forty books, including novels, collections of short stories, air combat narratives, and studies of literature, philosophy, art, music, and sports. His other books on Vonnegut include Vonnegut in Fact: The Public Spokesmanship of Personal Fiction and Kurt Vonnegut's America. Klinkowitz is a professor of English and University Distinguished Scholar at the University of Northern Iowa.
"Lively, provocative, and compelling, The Vonnegut Effect is as interesting and accessible to general readers as it is indispensable to students and scholars of modern American literature and culture."—Barbara Tepa Lupack, author of Insanity as Redemption in Contemporary American Fiction
"Jerome Klinkowitz masterfully illuminates the intersection of a great artist's life and work and, in doing so, creates an engaging and essential study that belongs on the shelf right next to the volumes by the Grand Old Man himself."—Robert B. Weide, writer and producer of Mother Night and Kurt Vonnegut: American Made