Like Shaking Hands With God: A Conversation About Writing is, unsurprisingly, a conversation about writing. But hold on! The two people chatting it up are none other that Kurt Vonnegut, for whom my adoration knows no bounds, and Lee Stringer, for whom my awareness was exactly zero before picking up this book.
Based on what he has to say, I’ll be reading his book Grand Central Winter: Stories from the Street. Stringer is a former homeless man and crack addict. These hardships haven’t hurt his ability to write beautifully, if the readings included in Shaking Hands are anything to go on.
The conversation took place in a New York City bookstore. I wish I’d been there. They talk about writing, novels, each other’s work, the death of the novel (or whether it was ever really alive), and the challenges of finding demanding readers. And more.
As is my habit, I went over to Amazon to see how many one-star reviews the book had been given. I am addicted to shrill, one-star reviews, particularly when they’re for a book I hated as well.
This slim volume (about 80 pages) is sitting at a three-star average. Most of the complaints have to do with the cost of the tiny book, the fact that it’s nothing but a mutual appreciation exhibition between the two authors, that Vonnegut rambles, that they’re better writers than interviewees, and so on.
I loved it. I think it’s worth a try. If you hate it, I’d love to hear from you, or even host a rebuttal guest post.