Thursday, October 21, 2010

We're all swine before God's pearls

God Bless You, Mr. RosewaterGod Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. This obviously isn't Vonnegut's most famous novel. I'm not qualifies as a literary critic to say whether it's one of his best. And I've only just started reading it, so I'm not ready to say whether it's my favorite of his yet. But I will say this, it has to be the least subtle. What I mean by that is that is is a scathing satire of class and political and moral hypocrisy in America, and he doesn't hold any punches. Because of that, I am loving it!

Witness this exchange between Senator Lister Rosewater with his daughter-in-law Sylvia, discussing the mental health of his son, Eliot:

"I loved Eliot on sight."
"Isn't there some other word you could use?"
"Than what?"
"Than love."
"What better word is there?"
"It was a perfectly good word- until Eliot got hold of it. It's spoiled for me now. Eliot did to the word love what the Russians did to the word democracy. If Eliot is going to love everybody, no matter what they are, no matter what they do, then those of us who love particular people for particular reasons had better find ourselves a new word." He looked at an oil painting of his deceased wife. "For instance- I loved her more than I love our garbage collector, which makes me guilty of the most unspeakable of modern crimes: Dis-crim-i-nay-tion."
Yeah, if you read and believe anything Jesus said in the New Testament, we are all called to love our neighbor indiscriminately and unconditionally- and as Vonnegut shows through his vagabond billionaire protagonist, Eliot Rosewater, if you genuinely follow Christ's example, people with think you're certifiably insane.

View all my reviews

No comments:

Post a Comment