August 18, 2010; Source: Detroit Free Press | Thomas Wolfe may have said you can never go home again, but don’t tell that to fans of Kurt Vonnegut. Three years after the author’s death, a memorial library is taking shape in his hometown of Indianapolis. The Associated Press reports that the 1,100-square foot, nonprofit facility will also house an art gallery and a revenue-generating gift shop.
When it opens in November, items visitors will see include a photo of Vonnegut just after his release from a World War II POW camp, a Nazi sword he brought back with him, and the primary tool of his trade, a cigarette-stained Smith Corona typewriter.
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Edie Vonnegut, a daughter, also is loaning the library some of the many rejection letters her father received from publishers. “We have boxes of rejection letters, letters saying ‘You have no talent and we suggest you give up writing,'” she said. “He did not have an easy time of it, and I think for anyone who wants to be writer, it will be important for them to see how tough it was for him.”
Before becoming a fulltime writer, Vonnegut wrote press releases for General Electric and sold cars on Cape Cod. Later, he had a large following for his many books, which critics have described as “darkly comic, satirical works that combined social commentary, science fiction and autobiography.”—Bruce Trachtenberg