Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Book review: Deadeye Dick

An early-Eighties Kurt Vonnegut novel, Deadeye Dick is a sort of twisted life story, narrated by Rudy, who happened to be away from his home town when it was destroyed by a neutron bomb. It's a meandering but interesting story of someone crippled by guilt over a childhood event - at the age of 12, Rudy's father got him to clean a loaded gun, which resulted in him shooting dead a pregnant woman and acquiring the titular nickname. Feeling that he deserves an outcast's life, Rudy lives as a neuter, a term he defines not just as sexual, but meaning he steers clear of any kind of emotional or intellectual investment in the world at large. It's an emotional distance that's reflected in the narrative style itself - a failed playwright, when Rudy needs to retell some of the more complex and important encounters of his life, he turns them into playlets in his narration, distancing himself from the fact that they happened to him. Not a classic, and a little bit aimless at times, but I found it worth the read.

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