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Vonnegut’s “Mother Night” Feels Eerily Familiar, Sixty Years Later

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Iowa Public Radio
Kurt Vonnegut's "Mother Night" is the January pick for the 2021 season of the Talk of Iowa Book Club.

First published in 1961, then republished several years later from Iowa City, Kurt Vonnegut’s “Mother Night” explores issues of morality, humanity and individual responsibility in the aftermath of World War II. While the book explores an era of misinformation and mass tragedy decades in the past, the themes feel eerily relevant to the state of affairs in 2021.

It’s a new season of the Talk of Iowa Book Club. Host Charity Nebbe is joined by Vonnegut scholars Jerome Klinkowitz and Suzanne McConnell as well as first-time Vonnegut reader Caleb Rainey for a discussion of this timeless modern classic.

Interested in joining the next meeting of the Talk of Iowa Book Club? Our February selection is “The Queen’s Gambit” by Walter Tevis. Pick up the book now and join the discussion on February 16th.

In the meantime, chat about book club selections and other literary interests with Charity and hundreds of other readers from across the state in the Talk of Iowa Book Club Facebook group.

Guests:

  • Jerome Klinkowitz, University of Northern Iowa professor emeritus and author and editor of books including "The Vonnegut Effect," “Kurt Vonnegut’s America” and “Kurt Vonnegut Complete Stories”
  • Suzanne McConnell, author, "Pity the Reader: On Writing with Style"
  • Caleb Rainey, poet, spoken word artist and founder of IC Speaks
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Katelyn Harrop is a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa