Friday, April 13, 2007


This moving future memoir of humanity's re-absorption into the ocean is the perfect book to review on the occasion of the author's death, AND, I HOPE, BURIAL AT SEA. He lived on Cape Cod, people: for crying out loud, take advantage of the fact.

Kurt Vonnegut, almost alone among authors, is loved by the college crowd as well as their kid sisters and stuffy aunts. He has done more than his fair share of bringing recruits to the jaws of Dagon. He did this by penning Galapagos, the moving story of how the last few humans on dry land finally went back to the ocean AS THEY WERE INTENDED TO ALL ALONG. You have to like how he works the story, so that within a very few generations, the few plucky survivors of a worldwide plague transform into a population of furry, torpedo-shaped, seal-like characters who live all their lives on the beach and in the sea, catching fish in their teeth as Dagon intended, while still retaining the essential characteristic that marks them as human: when somebody farts, everyone laughs and laughs.

You also have to love the narrator, a long-suffering ship's ghost. This character was trapped in the hull of a cruise liner he was working on, after dying in the shipyard of a nasty accident. He was doomed for the rest of history, after the ship foundered off the Galapagos Islands, to watch how it all comes out. This is the only human who gets to see up close, and really understand on a human level, the fate of humanity.

What's his name? Leon Trotsky Trout, named after a visionary of the Communist movement...and a fish.

And what have the humans on Galapagos finally achieved? The Communist ideal, is what. Total togetherness, in a paradise free of both possessions and labor relations. All they needed to do was return to the sea.

If my eyes could still make tears, this book would move me to cry. It's been great, Mr. Vonnegut. There will never be another one like you.


Blogger rodger said...

A beautiful book but remember...he also penned Cat's Cradle about the discovery of ice nine. Ice nine ultimately falls into the ocean, instantly freezing all the water on earth, creating a pseudo nuclear winter killing all organic life.

Hmmm...I guess we should all hope Galapagos is his prophetic novel. For your sake and mine.

10:11 PM  
Blogger Ur-spo said...

I recall Galapagos as my favorite Kurt book.

9:39 PM  
Blogger Cliffie, The Lemming Girl said...

Ah, but Rodger, Cat's Cradle was still all aboout the critical importance of water, don't you see? Without it, even the landscum are completely fcrewed.

8:31 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home