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Excellent post, Mr. Mannion. I wish Vonnegut wrote that novel, too. It would be interesting to see what he would do with the genre. Plus I like that sort of stuff.

Funny about Crown Hill Cemetary. I was in Indy in December for a wedding and passed it. I took a picture of the sign from the car because it was advertising its website, which I found more than amusing.

I also just finished reading an article in the latest issue of Mother Jones about the health gap with upper middleclass African Americans. The writer is a young man originally from Indy and he talked about the stasis of Hoosiers. It was an illuminating description for me because I could never quite put my finger on what that was. How Hoosiers were different than their neighbors. Anyhow, it was an interesting article.

Kate Marie

Very nice.


In general I had a wonderful Hoosier upbringing, but while my parents had one foot firmly planted in Indiana, they had their other one firmly planted in the world. Maybe that is what saved me.

When people ask me about my hometown I say it was a wonderful place to grow up and a wonderful place to leave.

I definitely would have read Vonnegut's book.

David W.

I respect Vonnegut's choice, and suspect he felt it wasn't a story that was his to tell. If such a story interests anyone, author Richard Rhodes told his own in A Hole in the World.

Bill Altreuter

I never knew that Paul Dresser was Theodore Dreiser's brother (it would have been a clue if they'd spelled their names the same way). It seems to me that a reason Vonnegut might not have written that book could be that Booth Tarkington had already done so-- he would have known about Ambersons, and might not have been able to have written what he wanted to without being pulled into Tarkington's influence. Vonnegut has pretty much avoided being imitative throughout his career, I'd say, and he has done this by saying what he has to say in his own way, without much regard for many of the conventions of narrative fiction.

Kevin Wolf

I haven't read Timequake but I've read some Vonnegut and I think in his (apparently) offhand and even loose style he deals with things lightly, quickly yet surely. Even heavy issues.

Perhaps in Timequake, in discussing the novel he never wrote, he has in fact, Vonnegut-style, written that novel. Certainly, Lance, you seem to have gotten a lot out of it.


Wow. Crown Hill Cemetary. Now there's a place I haven't thought of in a long time. I grew up in a little farm town west of Indy [although, arguably, not far enough; it's now almost continuous strip malls and houses made of ticky-tacky all the way out from Speedway]. We used to pass CHC on our way to watch Butler U basketball games in the old Hinkle Fieldhouse [immortalized in the final reel of "Hoosiers" and probably razed and replaced with an Olive Garden by now].

I have an interesting off-and-on conversation with a high school chum [he and I were 2 of 3 PhDs or MDs that our little class of 35 produced, which seemed statistically odd; was it?], wondering how he and I managed to be *from* Indiana, without being *of* Indiana.

I haven't read KV's stuff in years--the last thing I read was 'Slapstick,' which may have justified my taking a 20+ year breather. And when I did read him, I didn't have the historical context that Lance describes above, so I can see why it wouldn't have stuck. Time to dive back in, I think. [After I finish re-reading for the nth time LeCarre's 'A Call for the Dead,' still one of my favorite Smiley stories--just had to work that in.]



Nothstine- When I first read your post I put in an apostrophe and read, "Class of '35"!

I know many people who are "from" Indiana, but not "of" Indiana... in fact, a number of them are still there. How is that possible?

harry near indy

nothstine, i hope this pleases you. hinkle fieldhouse has not been torn down. in fact, iirc, it's on the national register of historic places. and it is on the campus of butler university, which makes it the university's property. so if anyone tried to tear it down, the grief he or she would get would be overwhelming.

jennifer, it is possible to live in indiana and not be of indiana. whatever bad parts of white america you can imagine, indiana has it.

some of those bad parts include racism, sexism, a pharisitical form of christianity, willfull ignorance, self satisfaction ... i could go on, but i won't. i hope you get the idea.

i try very, very hard not to think and act like that.

that's just the middle class. violence and jealousy poison the lower classes. it's part of the scotch-irish mentality they've brought from the south.

many of the best and brightest leave at the first opportunity, much like james joyce left ireland. they felt suffocated.

the powers that be try to keep them by trying to get well-paying jobs, but for some, any amount of pay isn't worth the b.s.


Hi, Harry and Jennifer-- You've sort of hit on what my old chum and I have tentatively concluded [although he finds this idea a little wackier than I do]:

All of those bad things you inventoried were there as we grew up. We were immersed in messages telling us that this was how we should be, that was how we should act, this is who we should like, that is who we should dislike, etc. Why didn't all that "learning" catch on? I can only guess that it was one more thing I was supposed to be paying attention to during my formative years, but wasn't. My friend thinks it can't possibly be that simple; I find its simplicity elegant.

When I visit there, I notice myself picking up a little of the twang of the local talk again, although I still don't put an "R" in the name of the state that's immediately north of Oregon.



Alice Munro did write the story "Spaceships Have Landed," which is in some ways a comic science fiction story.

Dan K.

Vonnegut's play, "Happy Birthday Wanda June", isn't what you're wishing for, exactly, but it deals with families and, being a stage play that takes place in a living room (as I recall), it's hard to mis-box it as science fiction. Might want to add it to your list.

J.E. Michael

My maternal grand father would have been Albert Carl Lieber jr. I believe he was a first cousine of the man referenced here.

According to the family history I was brought up with the Lieber fortune was lost by way of this second marriage and there being I believe three new daughters who came with the new wife, each requiring very elaborate weddings.....

Not sure if that is of any help but hope so.

Ther'es a very good book/memoir written by another lieber cousine some years back: The Road to Scottsdale by Albert Lieber and forward by Kurt V. Amazon .com link:

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