Books: Raisin d'Etre

WAMPETERS, FOMA & GRANFALLOONS

by KURT VONNEGUT JR.

285 pages. Delacorte/Seymour

Lawrence. $8.95.

The most distinctive voice in recent American fiction is that of Kurt Vonnegut Jr., the author of seven likable but sometimes hopelessly tacky novels and a couple of unsuccessful plays. In this collection of commencement speeches, book reviews and other shavings from under a busy writer's workbench, his tone has the usual rarefied diffusion of tiredness and rue. It may be time to ask why this tone is so attractive.

Tiredness is part of the answer. When Vonnegut writes, it is...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!