Armageddon in Retrospect (2008)
Published posthumously, Armageddon in Retrospect begins with an outstanding introduction by Kurt’s son Mark and contains an exuberantly imaginative and heartfelt speech, original artwork by Kurt and a series of deeply critical and compassionate essays and stories – a marvellous mixture. Most of the stories compiled herein are about war, and Dresden is at the fore. Has the ignominious reality of war and its aftermath – the hunger, the disposal of bodies, the secrets soldiers live with, the petty theft and looting, the people left behind and the chaos that follows – ever been as well-observed? To read these stories is to see Vonnegut grappling with how to represent war and how to represent Dresden, which eventually culminated in Slaughterhouse-Five. There is, as always, Vonnegut’s trademark humour. His piercing gaze found the crack to let a little bit of light (and levity) in.