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Like Shaking Hands With God: A Conversation…

Like Shaking Hands With God: A Conversation About Writing (1999)

by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

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I think I could listen to Vonnget talk about absolutely anything. ( )
  katemo | May 16, 2013 |
An excellent commentary on the craft of writing and the experience of writing as a whole from two great writers. Their insights delve deep into the realities that writers face and what it means to be one. ( )
  bacis88 | Jan 9, 2011 |
This collection of two moderated conversations between Lee Stringer and Kurt Vonnegut is a rare and entertaining hour's read. The two authors discuss writing style, inspiration and subject matter. The longer conversation is peppered with passages from Vonnegut's Timequake and Stringer's Grand Central Winter. If you are fan of either author or just an avid reader, I would recommend this collection. ( )
  nickdreamsong | Apr 29, 2008 |
While this isn't really a Vonnegut text, per se, it shows two very interesting sides to the man that you don't see through his fiction.

Firstly, you see very humble deference to another author, the first time I can remember that Vonnegut actively points out another writer that he admires. What you learn from this humility, however, is that he values most every writer as a member of the sacred community of artists.

But, far more interestingly, you also see a darker, and arguably more passionate, Vonnegut, the Vonnegut that sincerely suggests that Lee Stringer actually need not write another book, no matter how much the man may feel he must.

So sure, there's the usual fond and fascinating connections between life and writing found here, but there's far more interesting things to be found out about the man who says notably less here. Good stuff.
  dczapka | Apr 1, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743410580, Paperback)

Kurt Vonnegut (Breakfast of Champions): writer of wild, satiric, outrageous fiction. Lee Stringer (Grand Central Winter): one-time homeless crack addict who discovered that pencils are not just drug implements. Kurt Vonnegut and Lee Stringer: a mutual admiration society. Like Shaking Hands with God: a transcription of two moderated conversations between Vonnegut and Stringer--one before a bookstore audience, one over lunch.

Shaking Hands has a slender profile and a pretty cover. But the only thing slight about these conversations is that they leave the reader wanting more. The book is billed as "a conversation about writing," but it is as much about life as about writing. Neither Vonnegut nor Stringer is interested in holing up in a garret to write. Vonnegut makes any excuse to go out and rub elbows with the folks who buy lottery tickets. Stringer wonders, "Can you write anything on Park Avenue, really?" Vonnegut laments his happy childhood as "no way for a writer to begin." Stringer panics--while he wrote his first book as if on a high, the next one may emerge from an awareness of Oprah and marketability.

Vonnegut and Stringer are passionate about one another's work, passionate about life, and passionate about writing, but not so much so that they ever, for a moment, lose their sense of irony or humor. In the age of the sound bite, literature can be deemed, on some level, useless. Stringer praises writing, in that context, as "a struggle to preserve our right to be not so practical." And Vonnegut? "We are here on Earth to fart around," he proclaims in Timequake (excerpted here). "Don't let anybody tell you any different!" --Jane Steinberg

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:41 -0400)

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