Each one of these pieces is a funny, quirky character study. The writing is sharp (as Bern's always is) and nonchalant in a way that allows you to imagine that you're being informed of these actual events by a master storyteller.
Speaking of master storytellers, my first review of Bern's writing invited comparison to Kurt Vonnegut--not in a theft of style, but more as a testament to similar sensibilities.. Tales of Toscana is no exception to that comparison, and this was all too clear to me when I read Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five.
Slaughterhouse is a classic, and there's not an awful lot I can say about it. It's a brilliant anti-war piece, interlaced with the oddball genius humor of the writer that I came to love in books like Breakfast of Champions. I have no idea why it took me so long to get to this, probably the late writer's most celebrated and controversial work.
I read all three-hundred pages of this in one afternoon (and still found time to spend an hour doing puzzles with my mom, run over four miles, and eat some jelly beans). I can come to a number of conclusions here:
- After four soul-sucking years as an English major, I've finally rediscovered my joy for reading, and hit my typically avid stride.
- My attempts to avoid my seeming Internet addiction are working, and I am filling my time with other endeavors.
- Slaughterhouse-Five is an amazing book, Vonnegut is an engaging writer, and you should read this.
- If you haven't read this, you should read this.
- If you have read this, you should read this.