Sunday, June 15, 2008

So it goes

Kevin Jackson, writing in The Sunday Times on the posthumous collection of Vonnegut's writings, makes this observation on Slaughterhouse-Five:

Powerful inspiration: but the book's enchantment for its time seems to have been more a matter of sensibility than content. It was an amalgam of old-style folksy and new-style wiseacre: flip, knowing, or slickly fatalistic: “So it goes.”

Jackson seems to have read a different version of the book from me. 'So it goes' could potentially be described as folksy, I suppose, or even slickly fatalistic. And David Copperfield could be called the first misery memoir.

'So it goes' is a way of saying the unsayable. It is a silent cry of pain, a desperate attempt to cling to some trace of humanity and decency in the middle of bastard inhumanity. It is the eloquence of the human spirit. It is indefatigability.

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