Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
I’m including the Vonnegut Marathon as a category for this post, but before anyone accuses me of overlooking this book during the marathon, let me quickly point out that this is not a novel and never pretends to be one. It is a collection of essays, speeches, and whatnot that Vonnegut put together and published circa 1974.
I hoped to love this book, as I almost always loved the introductions to his novels, but much of the material in this book fell short of my expectations. However, there were several standout pieces. “The Mysterious Madam Blavatsky” was fun and interesting. “Biafra: A People Betrayed” was absolutely horrifying, but the kind of picture of humanity that we all need to consider from time to time. I also enjoyed his “Address at Rededication of Wheaton College Library, 1973,” in which he said,
I am fascinated by the good and evil in myself and in everyone, and I can’t get anybody to talk about either one anymore. People are embarrassed for me.
I am fascinated by the good and evil in your library.
So am I.
There are enough good things in Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons that I recommend it for Vonnegut fans. Most of the pieces are short, so you can simply skip any that don’t suit your taste.