He apparently died in New York on Tuesday. This is a bit of a shock. I knew he was old (84, in fact) but somehow I expected him to be around forever, preserved by all that cigarette smoke he inhaled. I, for one, will miss his voice. I will miss his humanity.
Anyway, as a way of mourning his passing, I think my approximately one reader should go and read Breakfast of Champions, for my money the best thing he wrote. A book that is deeply serious at exactly the same moment it is outrageously funny. Can't think of another writer who does this. Not in the way he does.
An epitaph? How about the one Vonnegut wrote for Kilgore Trout, his science fiction writing alter ego, that sums up so much of his Vonnegut's own work:
We are only healthy to the extent that our ideas are humane.