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God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

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God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

Michel Faber (left), author of ”The Crimson Petal and the White,” recommends God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut (Delta, $12.95).

Vonnegut’s best book is ”Slaughterhouse-Five,” one of the greatest novels ever written about war. It’s the one that will stay on university courses and the shelves of your local bookshop, so you don’t need me to recommend it to you. However, Vonnegut also wrote one of the most poignant, wise, and thought-provoking books about peacetime. The hero is a mentally ill, alcoholic millionaire who dedicates his life to caring for the utterly unlovable citizens of a small American town. Vonnegut challenges us to respect the basic humanity of life’s losers, the unattractive and the stupid. I was an arrogant young intellectual when I read it, and it made me weep with shame and compassion.