Majie Failey to Sign We Never Danced Cheek to Cheek at KVML Grand Opening on 1/29/11

If you’ve spent any time on the KVML web site, you’ve noticed that our Grand Opening Event will occur on Saturday, January 29, 2011, from noon to 5PM at The Emelie Building (340 N. Senate Avenue).  There are many reasons to attend, and this blog post gives you yet one more (as if you needed one!). My last blog post focused on one of the event’s speakers, Heather Augustyn. Today’s post highlights We Never Danced Cheek to Cheek, the new book about Vonnegut written by Majie Failey, Vonnegut’s lifelong friend. Mrs. Failey will speak at the grand opening and also sign copies of the book.

As a fan or scholar of Vonnegut, why might this book be of interest to you? Mrs. Failey’s publisher was kind enough to provide some compelling reasons.

“Majie Failey, probably Kurt’s most trusted long-term friend knew ‘Kay’ of boyhood days and stayed closed to  him as he passed through high school, post-war years, marriage for both of them and the gradual process of growing older. She has transformed hundreds of memories, scrapbook photos, accounts of other ‘pals’ and a history of the Owls Club and later years of  national recognition in the old home town into a book of personal revelation….

The Kurt we see in this memoir is related to the Vonnegut of Hocus Pocus and God Bless You Mr. Rosewater but in buddy Majie’s story is much warmer, valuing above all family, long-time associations and a sense of home that he somehow seemed to lose early on. The book shows the Kurt of kindergarten years, pained by changes in his home life caused by the Depression, Kurt of dancing class manners and pranks like trying to lift a streetcar off the tracks with firecracker explosives, Kurt of the Shortridge Daily Echo (some of his columns are included), the Kurt of a bad schooling stint in Chicago, picnicking on the beach with his wife and baby and old friends before heading east to fame and eventually fortune.

Change, always change, on and on, a theme in Kurt’s books,…and with that change, consequences.  Kurt was deeply sensitive to growing older and the book explores how the Owls Club members, always in touch, and their girlfriends found themselves no longer the handsome and lovely young people of 1940 tea dances and moonlight boat rides. The war had changed them all anyway….

Majie Failey’s book is a first-person account of living a life close to the friend of one’s childhood who evolves in life to become one of the most famous writers in the nation. ‘Who knew?’ says Majie, and it is only part of the deeper layers of meaning in this book about a man and his friends.”

Finally, the book contains multiple photos (many from Vonnegut’s youth). Nanny and Edie Vonnegut gave Mrs. Failey access to these materials, and some of them have not been made public until now.

This book is available for sale at the KVML gift shop and from our online store.

Stop by on January 29 to hear what is sure to be a fascinating talk by Mrs. Failey and to get your copy of We Never Danced Cheek to Cheek autographed.


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