Vonnegut’s surprise memoir – he claimed to have retired – is subheaded A Memoir of Life in George W Bush’s America. In it, he draws parallels between the way the world now views America and the way the world viewed Germany during the Nazis’ rise to power.
In this volume, Vonnegut, a committed humanist, appears to give up on the human race. Pacifism is the only solution he proposes to what he sees as a potentially very frightening future. He feels betrayed by the USA and is brutal in his pessimism, stating that the world’s problems are due to people simply not caring.
Reading this book was like having a conversation with Vonnegut. He reacts to critics, and defends and explains his body of work and how he came to be a writer. Now past 80, he reflects on a long and rich career.
There are consolations in the book’s humour and Vonnegut’s characteristically brilliant prose, but it is a clear warning. Vonnegut is continuously negative about Bush and also about our outrageous abuse of natural resources. He foresees an epitaph for ‘the good earth – we could have saved it, but we were too damn cheap and lazy’. A powerful read.