Picks and Pans Review: Dead-Eye Dick

updated 11/08/1982 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/08/1982 01:00AM

by Kurt Vonnegut

The hero gets his nickname, the novel's title, at 12, when he fires a rifle from the cupola on his house and kills a pregnant woman vacuuming a bedroom eight blocks away. Is that funny? Is destroying all the people of Midland, Ohio with a neutron bomb funny? Is having a father who admired Hitler funny? With Vonnegut, the answer is that things are much more than merely funny. The author of Cat's Cradle and Slaughterhouse-Five has never offered a more wacky view of the world, but his prose is clean and beautiful. While this novel isn't as paranoid as Jailbird—which came out of Watergate—Dead-Eye Dick shows Vonnegut has plenty on his mind: the bomb, Eleanor Roosevelt, race relations, drugs, and children vs. parents. Despite—or because of—all that deep meaning expressed so outrageously, Dead-Eye Dick is a marvelous entertainment. (Delacorte, $14.95)

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