Kurt Vonnegut is 80. Robert Musil is said to have travelled with three suitcases containing the manuscript and notes for The Man Without Qualities. There's something tragically beautiful about the fact that he wrote 1800-odd pages of it before dying with it unfinished. And not unfinished in the sense of no end being written—unfinished in the sense of, as you read it, you have no idea where it could possibly end, how he could possibly have finished it. It just kind of falls apart, apparently. Critics disagree about whether this means it doesn't deserve to be ranked with the greatest novels, or whether the very fact of it's unfinishability makes it so. The version I'm reading is the newest translation and I'm about two-thirds of the way through. I can't see the signs of loose ends yet—and when I do, they are going to have to be pretty loose indeed to change my mind about the greatness of it. Then again, I haven't read Proust or Joyce (yet).

"This freedom of will is man's ability to do voluntarily what he wishes involuntarily." —Musil