New York: Kurt Vonnegut, satirical novelist who captured the absurdity of war and questioned the advances of science in darkly humorous works such as ``Slaughterhouse-Five'' and ``Cat's Cradle,'' has died. He was 84.
Mr. Vonnegut, who often marvelled that he had lived so long despite his lifelong smoking habit, had suffered brain injuries after a fall at his Manhattan home weeks ago, said his wife, photographer Jill Krementz. He died on Wednesday. The author of at least 19 novels, many of them best-sellers, as well as dozens of short stories, essays and plays, Mr. Vonnegut relished the role of a social critic. He lectured regularly, exhorting audiences to think for themselves and delighting in barbed commentary against the institutions he felt were dehumanising people. ``I will say anything to be funny, often in the most horrible situations,'' Mr. Vonnegut, whose watery, heavy-lidded eyes and unruly hair made him seem to be in existential pain, once told a gathering of psychiatrists. A self-described religious skeptic and freethinking humanist, he used protagonists such as Billy Pilgrim and Eliot Rosewater as transparent vehicles for his views. AP