In the first significant book to appear since Kurt Vonnegut's passing in 2007, Jerome Klinkowitz, considered by many to be our leading Vonnegut scholar, has delivered a brief, but helpful appraisal of KV's body of work. Klinkowitz, who teaches at the University of Northern Iowa, knew Vonnegut for almost 40 years and helped edit his first collection of nonfiction, Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons
. Klinkowitz's prose suffers, at times, from a seeming wonderment at his proximity to Vonnegut's celebrity, and his book, despite its title, doesn't really delve into Vonnegut's complicated relationship with the country he loved but felt he'd lost. These shortcomings, though, are more than compensated for by Klinkowitz's closely reasoned insights into the singular nature of Vonnegut's literary contribution. In a series of chapters, Klinkowitz takes us through Vonnegut's canon a decade at a time, frankly assessing his subject's hits and misses. Vonnegut neophytes and longstanding admirers are both likely to find this a useful guide to a body of work that defies generic categorization.