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  • Published: 30 October 2012
  • ISBN: 9781448161744
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 480

Kurt Vonnegut: Letters

Sixty years of Vonnegut's life seen through his brilliant, entertaining letters

This collection of Vonnegut’s letters is the autobiography he never wrote – from the letter he posted home upon being freed from a German POW camp, to notes of advice to his children: ‘Don’t let anybody tell you that smoking and boozing are bad for you. Here I am fifty-five years old, and I never felt better in my life’. Peppered with insights, one-liners and missives to the likes of Norman Mailer, Gunter Grass and Bernard Malamud, Vonnegut is funny, wise and modest. As he himself said: ‘I am an American fad—of a slightly higher order than the hula hoop’.

Like Vonnegut’s books, his letters make you think, they make you outraged and they make you laugh. Written over a sixty-year period, and never published before, these letters are alive with the unique point of view that made Vonnegut one of the most original writers in American fiction.

  • Published: 30 October 2012
  • ISBN: 9781448161744
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 480

About the author

Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis in 1922 and studied biochemistry at Cornell University. An army intelligence scout during the Second World War, he was captured by the Germans and witnessed the destruction of Dresden by Allied bombers, an experience which inspired his classic novel Slaughterhouse-Five. After the war he worked as a police reporter, an advertising copywriter and a public relations man for General Electric. His first novel Player Piano (1952) achieved underground success. Cat's Cradle (1963) was hailed by Graham Greene as 'one of the best novels of the year by one of the ablest living authors'. His eighth book, Slaughterhouse-Five was published in 1969 and was a literary and commercial success, and was made into a film in 1972. Vonnegut is the author of thirteen other novels, three collections of stories and five non-fiction books. Kurt Vonnegut died in 2007.

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Praise for Kurt Vonnegut: Letters

The collected letters of Kurt Vonnegut include some remarkable examples of epistolary eloquence… it is the tender letters to his youngest daughter, Nanette, that are the jewel of this collection

Jane Shilling, Sunday Telegraph Seven

A laughing prophet of doom

New York Times

Unimitative and inimitable social satirist


A satirist with a heart, a moralist with a whoopee cushion, a cynic who wants to believe

Jay McInerney


Doris Lessing

Kurt Vonnegut never regarded himself as a great writer. But he did possess that undervalued gift of charm, of sociability. There are authors we admire or envy, but there are just a few we really, really love, and Vonnegut is one of them.

Washington Times

This miraculous volume of selected letters provides a moving and revelatory portrait of the famed author of Slaughterhouse-Five and Cat’s Cradle. . . . Fans will find the collection as spellbinding as Vonnegut’s best novels, and casual readers will discover letters as splendid in their own way as those of Keats.

Publisher's Weekly

[Reveals] Vonnegut’s passions, annoyances, loves, losses, mind and heart . . . The letters stand alone—and stand tall, indeed. . . . Vonnegut’s most human of hearts beats on every page

Kirkus Reviews

Splendidly assembled and edited by Dan Wakefield . . . [Vonnegut’s] familiar, funny, cranky, acute voice . . . is chronicling his life in real time.

New York Times Book Review

One closes this volume...full of gratitude for Dan Wakefield...the editor of this labour of love that gives us one more reason to love Kurt Vonnegut

John Sutherland, The Times

This collection is perhaps the best insight into the everyday needles of a prolific author you could hope to read

Ed Caesar, Sunday Times

A well-rounded collection of letters

James Campbell, Guardian

Droll and self-deprecating letters offer intriguing insights into Vonnegut’s life

Sunday Times

Splendidly assembled and edited

Kurt Andersen, Scotsman

[The letters] have a directness and a consistency, a scruffy but ensnaring humanity… Kurt seems by turns kind, engaged, imaginative, witty, self-deprecating ("I write with a big black crayon… grasped in a grubby, kindergarten fist,") and – on various fronts – courageous

Keith Miller, Daily Telegraph

Crisply edited... There was something fundamentally goodhearted about Vonnegut. For all his gloom and cantankerousness, he never entirely lost his faith in human nature.

John Preston, Spectator