God Bless You Dr. Kevorkian

Vonnegut, Jr., Kurt

Primary Category: Literature / Nonfiction

Genre: Collection (Essays)

Annotated by:
Kohn, Martin
  • Date of entry: Mar-28-2001


Leap into the world imagined by Kurt Vonnegut, WNYC's reporter on the afterlife, and land with him at the Pearly Gates, or more precisely, "the hundred yards or so of vacant lot between the far end of the blue tunnel and the Pearly Gates" (8). There, Vonnegut, forever the humanist, has his interviewees talk about that which is of ultimate importance--how they lived (or should have lived) their lives.

Vonnegut begins his journeys from the state-of-the-art lethal injection facility in Huntsville, Texas, and reaches his destination though the able assistance of Jack Kevorkian. Who does he meet at the mid-point of his round trip journeys? Dead folks--many famous ones, some not so famous--21 in all (including his fictional creation, Kilgore Trout). Also on the list of interviewees are John Brown, Clarence Darrow, William Shakespeare, Mary Wallstonecraft Shelley, Karla Faye Tucker (actually put to death in the Huntsville facility), and Isaac Asimov.


Vonnegut explains in the introduction to this collection that a botched surgery provided his first near death experience. That event, coupled with the testimonials on TV of persons going down the tunnel to and beyond the "Pearly Gates," and then returning, were the inspirations for the imagined interviews. These interviews were broadcast on WNYC, a public radio station.

The collection of the interviews in this book was Vonnegut's way of raising funds for the station, which, as he puts it "does what no commercial radio or TV station can afford to do anymore. WNYC satisfies the people's right to know--as contrasted with, as abject slaves of high-roller publicists and advertisers, keeping the public vacantly diverted and entertained"(12).


Seven Stories

Place Published

New York



Page Count