Fates Worse Than Death: An Autobiographical Collage of the
by Kurt Vonnegut
A collection of essays and
previously unpublished items such as adresses which can be considered a sequel
to Palm Sunday(1981). The title is
intriguing since Kurt attempted suicide and spent time in a looney bin,
accordingly, in the 1980s. Book is dedicated to Kurt Vonnegut, SR. The contents
of this work are as such:
Preface- KV discusses writers who were in WWII.
I- Palm Sunday, Dr. Suess, fraternity practical jokes, ROTC days, SR as an
archectitect during the Great Depression, SR as a "unicorn," section ends with
a letter written by JR to SR after JR sold his first story to Collier's.
II- Sister Alice, daughter Alice's ex-husband Geraldo Rivera, mother's
insanity, only depressed people can write good serious fiction, speech given
to American Psychiatric Association in Philadelphia because of son Mark's
book, The Eden Express, bad chemicals are the root of insanity, Nelson
Algren's three rules to living(#3- "Never go to bed with anybody who has more
troubles than you do.")
III- "Finishing it" is explored as destroying masterpieces following the
"two-thirds of a masterpiece is more than enough" rule. Jackson Pollock,
schools of art are "artificial extended family." Bluebeard.
IV- Revisiting the places where you grew up.
V- Sons of architects don't know how to write conventional stories.
Hemingway and other war writers.
X- High school reunions (thank goodness for Lyme Disease!), Kurt had "some
really lousy times in high school." Going "apeshit" and having to be in a
"locked ward for thirty days," instead of getting "out of life entirely."
Lecture during "The Legacy of Strategic Bombing" series at the National Air
and Space Museum (the firing bombing of Dresden, the basis of Slaughterhouse-Five).
XI- Joe Crone, the model for Billy Pilgrim, is buried in Dresden. He died
before the fire bombing from starvation. Crone's "buddy" Tom Jones was at the
lecture on Dresden and had with him a letter depicted in both Slaughterhouse-Five and
Mother Night, which urges
POWs to join the Nazis and fight the Communist Front.
XIV- Hocus Pocus was
about Imperialism. KV speaks of AA as a great thing, especially with regards to being an Artificial Extended Family. (In the Prologue of Jailbird, K states that his uncle Alex co-founded the Indianapolis Chapter, while a reoccurring theme from Slaughterhouse-five is commonly a closing prayer to AA meetings.)
XV- Sermon from which the book takes its name. Took place at the cathedral
of St. John the Divine in NYC.
XVI- First wife Jane was a Quaker. East coast Quakers never welcomed her
into their folk society. Jane got big into Transcental Meditation (TM).
Lecture at Rochester, NY for Unitarian Universalists for "only a person of
great faith can be a skeptic" (K quotes translated Nietzsche)
XVII- Mozambique, see Biafra: A People Betrayed from
Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons (Opinions) , which allows K to think little
of the bloodshed
XVIII- Translations and Translators of works by K, see Invite Rita Rait to America, also
from Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons (Opinions). K ends with his mentioning
his failed attempt to kill himself in 1984, when he was carted off to ER Of
St. Vincent's Hospital (no connection to translators).
XIX- K ponders whether he is in fact dead from his suicide. He talks of
writing as though he does only because he knows how jokes work.
XX- Different types of people are within different professions. Different
types of people commit suicide for different reasons. Great Depression jokes.
XXI- Being of "nazi"/German heritage
Appendix- Pictures, Letters, Latin, and much other misc...