Review: If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?

I love Kurt Vonnegut’s work.  At his best he sees the world with surprising clarity and expresses those sights with simple, clear language.  He can make the problems with the world look simple and comprehensible.  Not prefectable, or even improvable, but tractable.

If This Isn’t Nice, What Is? is a short collection of graduation speeches that Vonnegut gave.  It’s a good format for him.  He comes out, gives a bit of pithy advice and wishes the graduates good luck in this horrible and wonderful world.  He also keeps it short.  Lovely little mini-essays.

What’s probably most surprising are the mid-2000’s speeches that make many direct comments on current events.  I think of Vonnegut as a timeless figure, and hearing him bitch about US foreign policy brings him surprisingly down to earth.

A lot of this material is available on the web and other places, but I found the collection worth a couple dollars on Amazon.


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