Every time I read Vonnegut I’m reminded of the simplicity of life, of mortality, of an honest voice.
He references many of the same events in many of his books. Even within a book, he makes circular references that very cleanly bring a point back to itself. And I see life like that, full of circular references.
When I read I imagine the old man Vonnegut’s voice in my head. I see him writing, on a pad of paper, spending more time erasing or scratching out than writing. I think his relatives confirm he was a careful writer. I imagine his frustrations taken out on crumpled sheets of paper. I imagine his satisfaction of finally arranging the words he wants on paper.
The writing is funny, it can be really funny. Really funny writing is far less about slapstick and far more about sarcasm and wit and perspective. He really appreciated jokes of classical construction, the setup and the punchline. That often shines through in his writing, in the way he decides to tell his stories.
It seems like on person could have told him “you’ve done so much in life”, and another person could tell him “wow you haven’t done much”, and he would have admitted they’re both right. But that’s only in my imagination.