Hot Best Seller

Look at the Birdie: Unpublished Short Fiction

Availability: Ready to download

Look at the Birdie is a collection of fourteen previously unpublished short stories from one of the most original writers in all of American fiction. In this series of perfectly rendered vignettes, written just as he was starting to find his comic voice, Kurt Vonnegut paints a warm, wise, and funny portrait of life in post—World War II America–a world where squabbling coup Look at the Birdie is a collection of fourteen previously unpublished short stories from one of the most original writers in all of American fiction. In this series of perfectly rendered vignettes, written just as he was starting to find his comic voice, Kurt Vonnegut paints a warm, wise, and funny portrait of life in post—World War II America–a world where squabbling couples, high school geniuses, misfit office workers, and small-town lotharios struggle to adapt to changing technology, moral ambiguity, and unprecedented affluence. Here are tales both cautionary and hopeful, each brimming with Vonnegut's trademark humor and profound humanism. A family learns the downside of confiding their deepest secrets into a magical invention. A man finds himself in a Kafkaesque world of trouble after he runs afoul of the shady underworld boss who calls the shots in an upstate New York town. A quack psychiatrist turned "murder counselor" concocts a novel new outlet for his paranoid patients. While these stories reflect the anxieties of the postwar era that Vonnegut was so adept at capturing– and provide insight into the development of his early style–collectively, they have a timeless quality that makes them just as relevant today as when they were written. It's impossible to imagine any of these pieces flowing from the pen of another writer; each in its own way is unmistakably, quintessentially Vonnegut. Featuring a Foreword by author and longtime Vonnegut confidant Sidney Offit and illustrated with Vonnegut's characteristically insouciant line drawings, Look at the Birdie is an unexpected gift for readers who thought his unique voice had been stilled forever–and serves as a terrific introduction to his short fiction for anyone who has yet to experience his genius. Contents: Letter from Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., to Walter J. Miller, 1951. Confido F U B A R Shout About It from the Housetops Ed Luby's Key Club A Song for Selma Hall of Mirrors The Nice Little People Hello, Red Little Drops of Water The Petrified Ants The Honor of a Newsboy Look at the Birdie King and Queen of the Universe The Good Explainer


Compare

Look at the Birdie is a collection of fourteen previously unpublished short stories from one of the most original writers in all of American fiction. In this series of perfectly rendered vignettes, written just as he was starting to find his comic voice, Kurt Vonnegut paints a warm, wise, and funny portrait of life in post—World War II America–a world where squabbling coup Look at the Birdie is a collection of fourteen previously unpublished short stories from one of the most original writers in all of American fiction. In this series of perfectly rendered vignettes, written just as he was starting to find his comic voice, Kurt Vonnegut paints a warm, wise, and funny portrait of life in post—World War II America–a world where squabbling couples, high school geniuses, misfit office workers, and small-town lotharios struggle to adapt to changing technology, moral ambiguity, and unprecedented affluence. Here are tales both cautionary and hopeful, each brimming with Vonnegut's trademark humor and profound humanism. A family learns the downside of confiding their deepest secrets into a magical invention. A man finds himself in a Kafkaesque world of trouble after he runs afoul of the shady underworld boss who calls the shots in an upstate New York town. A quack psychiatrist turned "murder counselor" concocts a novel new outlet for his paranoid patients. While these stories reflect the anxieties of the postwar era that Vonnegut was so adept at capturing– and provide insight into the development of his early style–collectively, they have a timeless quality that makes them just as relevant today as when they were written. It's impossible to imagine any of these pieces flowing from the pen of another writer; each in its own way is unmistakably, quintessentially Vonnegut. Featuring a Foreword by author and longtime Vonnegut confidant Sidney Offit and illustrated with Vonnegut's characteristically insouciant line drawings, Look at the Birdie is an unexpected gift for readers who thought his unique voice had been stilled forever–and serves as a terrific introduction to his short fiction for anyone who has yet to experience his genius. Contents: Letter from Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., to Walter J. Miller, 1951. Confido F U B A R Shout About It from the Housetops Ed Luby's Key Club A Song for Selma Hall of Mirrors The Nice Little People Hello, Red Little Drops of Water The Petrified Ants The Honor of a Newsboy Look at the Birdie King and Queen of the Universe The Good Explainer

30 review for Look at the Birdie: Unpublished Short Fiction

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Look at the Birdie, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. Look at the Birdie: collects 14 short stories from an original writer in American fiction. This series of vignettes, never published in Vonnegut’s lifetime, reveals a warm, wise & funny portrait of life in post–WWII America--a world where squabbling couples, high school geniuses, misfit office workers & small-town lotharios struggle to adapt to changing technology, moral ambiguity & unprecedented affluence. Featuring a Foreword by author & longtime Vonnegut c Look at the Birdie, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. Look at the Birdie: collects 14 short stories from an original writer in American fiction. This series of vignettes, never published in Vonnegut’s lifetime, reveals a warm, wise & funny portrait of life in post–WWII America--a world where squabbling couples, high school geniuses, misfit office workers & small-town lotharios struggle to adapt to changing technology, moral ambiguity & unprecedented affluence. Featuring a Foreword by author & longtime Vonnegut confidant Sidney Offit, Look at the Birdie is for readers who thought that Vonnegut’s voice had been stilled forever & introduces his short fiction to any who have yet to experience it. Foreword Letter from Kurt Vonnegut, Jr, to Walter J. Miller, 1951 Confido FUBAR Shout about it from the housetops Ed Luby's key club A song for Selma Hall of mirrors The nice little people Hello, Red Little drops of water The petrified ants The honor of a newsboy Look at the birdie King & queen of the universe The good explainer Illustrations تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز دوازده ماه آگوست سال 2012میلادی عنوان: جوجو رو نیگا! مجموعه داستان کوتاه؛ نویسنده: کورت ونه‌گوت (ونه گات)؛ مترجمها: زیبا گنجی، پریسا سلیمان‌‌‌‌‌‌‌زاده؛ تهران، مروارید، 1390؛ در 256ص؛ شابک 9789641911432؛ موضوع داستانهای کوتاه از نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 21م فهرست: همدم؛ برگ چغندر؛ از فراز بامها فریادش بزن؛ کلید کلوپ اد لابی؛ ترانه ای برای سلما؛ تالار آینه ها؛ آدم کوچولوهای نازنین؛ سلام رِد؛ قطرات ریز آب؛ مورچه های متحجر؛ شرافت پسرک روزنامه فروش؛ جوجو رو نیگا!؛ پادشاه و ملکه ی گیتی؛ تو بهتر توضیح میدهی؛ کتاب «جوجو رو نیگا» مجموعه‌ ی چهارده داستان کوتاه از «کورت ونه‌ گات»، نویسنده‌ای نامدار «ایالات متحده آمریکا» است؛ در این سری داستان‌ها که به‌ زیبایی ترسیم شده‌ اند، «کورت ونه گات» تصویری زنده، خردمندانه و درعین‌حال بامزه، از زندگی در «آمریکای» پس از جنگ جهانی دوم ارائه می‌کنند ـ دنیایی که در آن زن و شوهرهای ناسازگار، نابغه‌های دبیرستانی، کارمندان نخاله، و کلاه‌برداران شهری، برای کنار آمدن با پیشرفت تکنولوژی، و سردرگمی اخلاقی، در تلاش و تقلا هستند؛ این داستان‌ها بازتاب تشویش‌های پس از دوران جنگ هستند، و بصیرتی را نشان می‌دهند که سبک اولیه‌ ی «ونه‌گات» را به تکامل رسانده اند چکیده داستان «جوجو رونیگا»: روزی جوانی در جایی نشسته بود، و درباره ی کسی که ازش متنفر بود، فکر میکرد؛ مردی ریشو نخست با مهربانی درباره ی دلیل نکشتن شخص مورد تنفرش از آن جوان می‌پرسد؛ مرد ریشو میخواهد یک فنّ کشتن را در ازای گرفتن عکس از وی به او بیاموزد؛ همسر مرد ریشو از جوان عکس می‌گیرد، و مرد ریشو فن را به جوان می‌آموزد؛ مرد ریشو به عنوان یک بیمار روانی و طبیب قلاّبی شناخته شده بود، که سال‌ها پیش بیماران «پارانویا» و «اسکیزوفرنی» را درمان می‌کرده، و اینک با گرفتن عکس، از کسانی که قصد کشتنش را داشتند، از آنها اخاذی می‌کند و آن‌ها را در صورت نپرداختن وجهی، تهدید به کشته شدن توسط بیماران روانی که تحت فرمان مرد ریشو بودند می‌کند نقل از متن همدم: (تابستان با آرامش به خواب ابدی رفته بود و پاییز، همچون قیّمی خوش سروزبان، داشت زندگی را تمام و کمال قفل و کلید میزد تا زمانی که بهار برای باز پس گرفتنش از راه برسد؛ با این تمثیل اندوهبار زیبا، «الین باورز» صبح زودِ سه شنبه روزی، پشت پنجره ی آشپزخانه ی خانه ی نقلی اش، داشت صبحانه ی شوهرش «هنری» را آماده میکرد؛ در آن سوی دیوار نازک، زیر دوش آب سرد، «هنری» داشت نفس نفس زنان بازی بازی و شلپ شلوپ میکرد الین زنی ریزه میزه و بور بود، سی و یکی ـ دو ساله، و با وجود لباس راحتی کهنه ای که به تن داشت، بسیار مهتابی و جذاب؛ او زندگی را با تمام فراز و نشیبهایش دوست داشت؛ اما حالا با تمام وجود به زندگی عشق میورزید؛ به شدت کوبشِ ارگ کلیسا به هنگام آمین، چرا که امروز صبح با خودش میگفت شوهرش خوب که بوده، به زودی ثروتمند و مشهور هم میشود او قبلاً هرگز به این چیزها فکر نمیکرد، انتظارش را هم نداشت؛ به همان لوازم ارزان و حس و حال درونی مثل فکر کردن به پاییز که هزینه ای نداشت دلخوش بود؛ «هنری» آدم پول درآری نبود؛ از این رو «الین» درکش میکرد هنری تعمیرکار قانعی بود، سازنده و تعمیرکاری که تسلط معجزه آسایی روی مواد و دستگاه ها داشت؛ اما طی کار به عنوان دستیار لابراتوار در کارخانه ی آکوستی جم که سمعک تولید میکرد، خلاقیتهای کوچکی هم از خود نشان داده بود؛ کارفرمایانش ارزش کارش را میدانستند، اما حقوق چندانی به او نمیدادند؛ «الین» و «هنری» خودشان هم با خوش بینی تمام قبول داشتند که نباید هم درآمد آن چنانی نصیبشان شود، آخر در ازای این ور رفتنها کی میآید پول قلمبه به آدم بدهد؛ زندگی همین است دیگر...؛ الین پیش خود گفت شاید هم من فکر میکردم زندگی همین است، چون روی میز آشپزخانه جعبه ی حلبی کوچکی قرار داشت با مقداری سیم و یک گوشی شبیه سمعک، ابداعی در نوع خود مدرن، که در شگفت انگیز بودن دست کمی از آبشار نیاگارا یا مجسمه ی ابوالهول نداشت؛ «هنری» آن را در ساعات استراحت ظهر، پنهانی ساخته و شب قبل به خانه آورده بود؛ درست قبل از خواب اسمی برای جعبه به ذهن «الین» رسیده بود، اسمش را گذاشته بود «همدم»؛ هنری مردی قدبلند و یغور بود و مثل دهاتیها خجالتی و صاف و ساده؛ اما حالا آدم دیگری شده بود، پرحرارت و قبراق؛ بار اولی که «همدم» را نشان «الین» داده بود با ناز و ادا پرسیده بود: اگر گفتی آن چیست که برای هر کسی واجب است، حتی واجب تر از نان شب؟ خوشبختی است؟ البته که خوشبختی است! اما کلید خوشبختی چیست؟ ایمان به خدا؟ امنیت نیست؟ سلامتی چی عزیزم؟ توی نگاه غریبه های توی خیابان که دقیق میشوی، به هرجا چشم میگردانی توی نگاهها چه حسرتی میبینی؟ الین با درماندگی گفته بود خودت بگو هنری، من دیگر عقلم به جایی قد نمیدهد یکی که آدم باهاش درددل کند! کسی که آدم را درک کند! همین؛ «همدم» را بالای سرش تکان تکان داده بود «این همان است که میگویم!؛ حالا، صبح فردای آن شب، الین پشت به پنجره کرد و با احتیاط گوشی همدم را توی گوشش گذاشت؛ جعبه ی مسطح فلزی را به بلوزش سنجاق کرد و سیم آن را لابه لای موهایش پنهان کرد؛ صدای تق تق و فش فش خیلی ملایمی، با آهنگی شبیه وزوز پشه، گوشش را پر کرد. با اینکه قصد بلند حرف زدن نداشت، آگاهانه گلویی صاف کرد و عمداً توی دلش گفت عجب سورپرایز جالبی هستی همدم!؛ همدم توی گوش او گفت الین تو بیشتر از هر کسی نیاز به استراحت داری؛ صدا زنگ دار و ریز بود، مثل صدای بچه ای از لای دندانه های شانه ای که دستمال کاغذی رویش کشیده باشند؛ بعد از آن همه سوختن و ساختن، وقتش رسیده تو هم از زندگی ات چیزی بفهمی)؛ پایان نقل تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 21/05/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ethan

    Up until now, I've read very few posthumous works that are of any value. With a single volume, the brilliant short story collection Look at the Birdie, Kurt Vonnegut has reached up from the grave and single-handedly changed my opinion of posthumous literature forever. This is the finest posthumous work I have read yet, and is one of the greatest short story collections I've ever read, period. Unlike some posthumous work, this doesn't seem rushed or exploitative. The cover is beautiful, it has a g Up until now, I've read very few posthumous works that are of any value. With a single volume, the brilliant short story collection Look at the Birdie, Kurt Vonnegut has reached up from the grave and single-handedly changed my opinion of posthumous literature forever. This is the finest posthumous work I have read yet, and is one of the greatest short story collections I've ever read, period. Unlike some posthumous work, this doesn't seem rushed or exploitative. The cover is beautiful, it has a great foreword by someone who personally knew Vonnegut, and art drawn by Vonnegut himself can be found at the beginning of many of the stories, adding a great personal touch to the collective whole of this book. It doesn't feel like a quick way for an estate to make a buck, it feels like a love letter to Kurt Vonnegut. The stories themselves, with one or two exceptions, are superb, and some are utterly perfect. It's completely mind-blowing, and a little tragic, that these treasures were never published during Vonnegut's lifetime. The stories are clearly well-thought-out; one even consisted of three numbered parts and an epilogue. It's also very evident the stories weren't written just to make money; they carry powerful moral insight, and several stayed with me after reading them. They are essentially fables, attempting to teach a greater truth to the reader: that money can't buy you happiness, that you should try to see the good things in life, that sometimes bad things happen to good people, etc. In typical Vonnegut fashion, a secret or event or truth is usually concealed until the very end of each story; Vonnegut skillfully pulls the reader along toward these endings, and his command in these stories (which unbelievably were written very early in his career) invoke memories of his later novels The Sirens of Titan and Cat's Cradle. You have absolutely no clue what's going to happen until the very end, but the journey toward that ending is completely captivating. And the ending itself usually delivers and is incredibly satisfying, whether it's a happy ending or not. The stories also have the Vonnegut "feel". It's hard to explain, but his stories have a certain feel to them. Vonnegut readers will know what I'm talking about. These stories are vintage Vonnegut in this respect. There were some peculiar similarities in several of the stories: used car lots (which made me smile, because one of the characters in one of Vonnegut's most famous later novels, Breakfast of Champions, is a car salesman), funeral homes, and the revealing that, though they seem like very nice people on the surface, a person's neighbours are really horrible people with a lot of nasty secrets. Maybe Vonnegut hated the neighbours he had when he was writing these stories? We'll never know! In summary, Look at the Birdie is a diamond in the rough, a sparkling flotsam treasure chest in a sea of mostly unworthy posthumous rubbish. It's a masterpiece. It's vintage Vonnegut. It's an absolute must-read. Highly recommended!

  3. 5 out of 5

    JSou

    Kurt Vonnegut has always been one of my favorite authors; he was one of the very first writers that was able to change the way I think. I had always loved books, but after my first encounter with KV in high school, I amazingly realized what a novel could actually do. But it's more than than that. Vonnegut has always reminded me of my grandpa, though thinking about it, I'm not really sure why. The only things I know of that they had in common were their age, WWII, and Pall Mall cigarettes. Maybe Kurt Vonnegut has always been one of my favorite authors; he was one of the very first writers that was able to change the way I think. I had always loved books, but after my first encounter with KV in high school, I amazingly realized what a novel could actually do. But it's more than than that. Vonnegut has always reminded me of my grandpa, though thinking about it, I'm not really sure why. The only things I know of that they had in common were their age, WWII, and Pall Mall cigarettes. Maybe it's that reading KV's books have clued me in to a side of my grandpa I was never able to know. So many times, I would ask him about his experiences during WWII, only to hear, "Aww honey, you don't want to hear about all that." Then he would quickly tell a joke to change the subject. This man, who practically raised me, and gave me everything else I'd ever wanted, never gave me that. I didn't know if he really just didn't want to talk about it; I mean, who knows what he saw and what things he had to do over there. I remember my grandma telling me that he never even said much about it to her. She told me he thought it was inappropriate to talk about certain things in front of women. It's not that he thought women were inferior, to him it was a matter of respect. He was from a different era, that's just how he was. Awhile ago, my GR friend Cait sent me a great article about Vonnegut attending the Connecticut Forum shortly before he passed away. At the interview, Joyce Carol Oates went all feminist on him in front of everybody. After reading that, I still can't bring myself to read one of her books. Bitch. (JCO, not my friend Cait) Seriously Joyce, he's an old man. Lay. The. Fuck. Off. I'm not sure when all of these stories were written, but some of the ideas in them do seem a bit dated. Most of them wouldn't seem spectacular to anyone who hasn't read any Vonnegut before, but considering the sub-title of the book, Unpublished Short Fiction, I'm okay with the fact it wasn't a phenomonal collection. Who knows if Vonnegut, who was always re-writing, even wanted these to ever be published? One high point, this book has some of KV's illustrations that I'd never seen before. (yay, pictures!!!) Here's my favorite, drawn only a few months before he died. Reading this felt like it gave me an extra inside look into Vonnegut. Kind of like finding a picture or letter from a loved one who's passed away. No matter what it looks like, or what it says, it still feels like a treasure. Certain things can remind us of who people actually were, and this book shows that Kurt Vonnegut above all, was a writer. In my eyes, just like my grandpa, there is nothing he could do that I wouldn't absolutely love.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Abhinav

    THIS IS AMAZING. Put that on repeat 13 more times - for all the 14 short stories in this compilation. Like I said in my only status update while reading this, it seems unbelievable that these stories, written in the early part of Vonnegut's career, never saw the light of day until two years after his death. This is the second such compilation of short fiction by him published posthumously (four have been released till date, the first being 'Armageddon in Retrospect'). I happened to read somewhere t THIS IS AMAZING. Put that on repeat 13 more times - for all the 14 short stories in this compilation. Like I said in my only status update while reading this, it seems unbelievable that these stories, written in the early part of Vonnegut's career, never saw the light of day until two years after his death. This is the second such compilation of short fiction by him published posthumously (four have been released till date, the first being 'Armageddon in Retrospect'). I happened to read somewhere that Vonnegut wrote these 'purely for money' & they were rejected by the 'slick' magazines of that time. Perhaps, the editors might have realised that the stories appearing in their own magazines wouldn't possibly match up to these. The stories in this compilation dabble in a variety of genres - ranging from sci-fi to romance to whodunit to allegory to Depression-era coming-of-age tales to life's tragicomedies. There is a maverick inventor who creates a billion-dollar talking machine that delves into the darkest recesses of one's mind ('Confido') & then they are tiny beings who fly around in a spaceship that looks like a paper knife ('The Nice Little People'). You have a dull, boring PR officer whose bright new assistant gives him love & his life back ('FUBAR'), a squabbling couple who have lost love on account of one spouse finding fame ('Shout About It from the Housetops') & then you see two naive rich love birds having their first brush against poverty in the Depression era ('King and Queen of the Universe'). There are two tales of crime & mystery too - 'Ed Luby's Key Club' moves at the blistering pace of a thriller while 'The Honor of the Newsboy' is a classic whodunit. And let's not forget the one from which the compilation gets its title, where a once-upon-a-time quack finds a new way to make his living. My personal favourite, however, has to be 'The Petrified Ants' - all I can say that for me, it's somewhat of a short story equivalent of George Orwell's two greatest works. I'm not kidding. True, there are always a few stories that aren't probably as good as the best of the lot. But in each of the stories here, you find that touch of humanity in the narrative, the raw emotions, the deep understanding of how people react to different situations & Vonnegut's uncanny ability to find humour in the unlikeliest of places. The storytelling is simplistic & straightforward but yet so good & pleasant to read. 4.5 to 5 stars for 'Look at the Birdie' by Kurt Vonnegut. This happened to be the first time I'm reading Vonnegut & this definitely won't be the last, since I'm a fan already. Highly recommended for those who enjoy short stories & fans of the author, for it does provide valuable insight into the making of one of America's greatest post-war writers. P.S. Watch out for the illustrations throughout the course of this book. One heck of a talented artist that Vonnegut chap was.

  5. 5 out of 5

    William Thomas

    When I was 16 and started working my way through the Vonnegut library, the man could do no wrong. That is, until I turned 22 and read Jailbird. What an awful piece of shit that book turned out to be. And now that I've read all of his major and minor works, save some of his post-Timequake work, I can stand back and analyze it without being so starry-eyed as I was in younger years. Even though he was my first literary love, and will always be number one in my heart, I can honestly say that these w When I was 16 and started working my way through the Vonnegut library, the man could do no wrong. That is, until I turned 22 and read Jailbird. What an awful piece of shit that book turned out to be. And now that I've read all of his major and minor works, save some of his post-Timequake work, I can stand back and analyze it without being so starry-eyed as I was in younger years. Even though he was my first literary love, and will always be number one in my heart, I can honestly say that these works could have remained unpublished and the world would have been just the same. If we could somehow cut approximately 60% of these stories, the book would have been more powerful and 5 stars. However, it is perfectly clear why some of these stories remained unpublished and uncollected for so long. because they stink to high heaven. And if you don't like what I have to say about it then why don't you take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut Why don't you take a flying fuck at the mooooooooooooon?

  6. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    Reading an author’s posthumous, previously unpublished work never sits completely right for me. In almost any forward of a deceased author’s “uncovered work” you can find someone vouching for the guy (or gal) as being a real stickler for editing, a tireless craftsman, someone who always wanted to get each turn of phrase just right. And I get that. It really resonates. Anyone who has ever written anything would be mortified to have an unprepared version of it sent out to an audience of strangers, Reading an author’s posthumous, previously unpublished work never sits completely right for me. In almost any forward of a deceased author’s “uncovered work” you can find someone vouching for the guy (or gal) as being a real stickler for editing, a tireless craftsman, someone who always wanted to get each turn of phrase just right. And I get that. It really resonates. Anyone who has ever written anything would be mortified to have an unprepared version of it sent out to an audience of strangers, especially if the person’s literary credentials were on the line. So, that said, how to go about reading LatB? It’s nice, mostly tidy collection of short fiction. Most of the stories sit more firmly on the realism side of the fence than on the sci-fi one, but Vonnegut can shine on either. Perhaps it’s best to review each story individually then. Confido- Eerie enough with a finish a bit like an episode of the twilight zone. 4 stars Fubar- Ho hum. Youth vs old age. 2 stars Shout it from the housetops-I had to go back to remember what this story was even about. Perils of creation and all that. Suburban monotony? 3 stars Ed Luby’s Key Club- Great premise, riveting story, likable characters, Kafkaesque problems. The end moves quicker than I would have liked. This felt like notes for a novel too... 4.5 stars A Song for Selma- The worst of the lot. Some humor. Not enough. 1 Star. Hall of Mirrors- Maybe the best story in the collection for my money. Again, the ending felt a bit rushed, but this had some excellent narrative control. 5 Stars. The Nice Little People- Tralfamadorians? Proto-Tralfamadorians? This felt most like the Vonnegut of Cats Cradle, Slaughterhouse V, and Sirens of Titan. Great voice. Most complete feeling of all the stories. 5 stars. Hello, Red- Goodbye, Red. 1 Star. Little Drops of Water- I don’t even recall. 1 Star The Petrified Ants- Better left submerged, methinks. 1 Star The Honor of a Newsboy- Pleasantly quaint, though I imagine some might be turned off by how aged it feels. 3 stars. Look at the Birdie- Quick and cutthroat. 4 stars. King and Queen of the Universe- Ho hum domestic yarn. 2 stars. The Good Explainer- A weak ending to a decent collection of stories. I was ready for this one to be over. 2 stars. And really I was ready for the collection to be over throughout most of the listen. There are some seriously nice nuggets of writing here, and Vonnegut is never truly deplorable, but so much of this collection should have been laid to rest with the author. So it goes. 2.5 stars.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I have been a Vonnegut fan for years, and just recently received and read this collection of his earlier short stories. And though the San Francisco Chronicle commented that "it seems Vonnegut is working out the kinks in these early attempts," quite frankly, I think it may be my favorite Vonnegut work, and to think it went unpublished for so long is astonishing. Unlike many of his stories, which I find well-written, ironic, hilarious, and cynical, this piece is well-written, ironic, hilarious... I have been a Vonnegut fan for years, and just recently received and read this collection of his earlier short stories. And though the San Francisco Chronicle commented that "it seems Vonnegut is working out the kinks in these early attempts," quite frankly, I think it may be my favorite Vonnegut work, and to think it went unpublished for so long is astonishing. Unlike many of his stories, which I find well-written, ironic, hilarious, and cynical, this piece is well-written, ironic, hilarious... and sweet. I don't know if Vonnegut, as a man, became more cynical with age, as probably happens with lots of bright people, but I get the feeling that this early work shows his brilliance when it was maybe not un-touched by cynicism, but less touched by cynicism. Most of these stories left me with a feeling of hope and tenderness towards mankind. And I only say most because there are two stories that are meant to be on the sad side. What struck me most about this collection was the rare sweetness in Vonnegut's voice. And I think that will stay with me for a long time.

  8. 5 out of 5

    AdiTurbo

    Two or three brilliant stories, a few sharp one-liners, and the rest is quite mediocre, not up to Vonnegut's usual standards. I can see why this stuff hasn't been published before. Two or three brilliant stories, a few sharp one-liners, and the rest is quite mediocre, not up to Vonnegut's usual standards. I can see why this stuff hasn't been published before.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rose

    so, so brilliant. i can't tell you how happy this book made me! i got it for christmas from a friend and i don't know if he got it randomly or he really knows me, cause it was filled with short stories with happy endings. aka my absolute favorite kind of stories. i can't tell you how many times i smiled or laughed- i'm truly upset that i'm done!!! if anyone knows any other books similar to this one, please feel freeeee to let me know of them :) so, so brilliant. i can't tell you how happy this book made me! i got it for christmas from a friend and i don't know if he got it randomly or he really knows me, cause it was filled with short stories with happy endings. aka my absolute favorite kind of stories. i can't tell you how many times i smiled or laughed- i'm truly upset that i'm done!!! if anyone knows any other books similar to this one, please feel freeeee to let me know of them :)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Missy (myweereads)

    “Do we all have to bleed, before we can believe each other?” Look At The Birdie by Kurt Vonnegut is a collection of short stories from his earlier career. Previously unpublished, they showcase his unique skills readers have come to love. The subject matter vary from good versus evil, science fiction, human nature, social influence and many others. This was my first read by Vonnegut therefore I had no idea what to expect. Instantly the first story pulled at my heart strings and left me shocked. The “Do we all have to bleed, before we can believe each other?” Look At The Birdie by Kurt Vonnegut is a collection of short stories from his earlier career. Previously unpublished, they showcase his unique skills readers have come to love. The subject matter vary from good versus evil, science fiction, human nature, social influence and many others. This was my first read by Vonnegut therefore I had no idea what to expect. Instantly the first story pulled at my heart strings and left me shocked. The story is called “Confido”, it’s about a salesman who creates the ultimate hearing aid which is more than what it appears to be. Others which stood out for me were “Shout About It From The Housetops”, “A Song For Selma”, “Hall Of Mirrors”, “The Honor Of A Newsboy”, Look At The Birdie” and “The Good Explainer”. These all had elements which had me tense, laughing at parts which were dark, surprised and unsettled. Vonnegut’s use of language and timing made the stories so unique and enjoyable. I hadn’t even gone through the first two when I knew I had to read more by him. This book is a good taster into his work and has me ready to read more. A definite recommended read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Erik Graff

    There's a reason for these stories having been unpublished during the author's lifetime--they're not very good. Still, for someone like myself who has pretty much read all of Vonnegut with appreciation for his authorial voice, this book may be worth a look. There are moments in some of the stories which are quite good, either because they are emotionally moving or because they're very funny. There's a reason for these stories having been unpublished during the author's lifetime--they're not very good. Still, for someone like myself who has pretty much read all of Vonnegut with appreciation for his authorial voice, this book may be worth a look. There are moments in some of the stories which are quite good, either because they are emotionally moving or because they're very funny.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Erik Ferguson

    I'll try to avoid spending too much time dwelling on what's already been said about how amazing it is to read for the first time this collection of stories written while Vonnegut was still working for GE. But for just one small point: it is, in fact, important to note that the raw materials with which Vonnegut worked throughout his career -- especially the elements of disillusionment with larger Systems of which his characters find themselves a part; and, unfortunately, themes of some distortion I'll try to avoid spending too much time dwelling on what's already been said about how amazing it is to read for the first time this collection of stories written while Vonnegut was still working for GE. But for just one small point: it is, in fact, important to note that the raw materials with which Vonnegut worked throughout his career -- especially the elements of disillusionment with larger Systems of which his characters find themselves a part; and, unfortunately, themes of some distortion of reality that imply the presence of more real distress in the author's life -- appearing in what might have been called his formative years if he had been significantly younger when these pieces were written. And of course, his dark wit about it all shines through cleanly. To me, though, the most distinctive factor in this collection is that which is the most dissatisfying for someone whose experience with Vonnegut began with Slaughterhouse-Five. A result of the constraint that Vonnegut was – of necessity – writing with the goal of publishing at this time, it’s that he was working with very little room to toy with form. Never has Vonnegut seemed so little like Vonnegut. He does what he can, of course, by consistently exploring the element of surprise. But sadly, some of the endings (especially in the first three pieces in the book) end up being too happy – a bit Hallmark-channelish. The more engrossing pieces, however, work much better. “Little Drops of Water” and “Hall of Mirrors” are probably the best here, and the finishing touches of the otherwise-straightforward “The Nice Little People” leave a taste of Nabokov in the mouth: the right blend of sour and otherworldly. A contemporaneous reader could have well expected that the author would later demonstrate much more capability. Vonnegut was a master when he had room to breathe. This collection illustrates the contrast between his mastery and pre-mastery by showcasing his characteristic punchy-ness, while disallowing him the opportunity to deomonstrate the most important of his traits: his reasons for being punchy.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Addie

    As with most collections of short stories, there is good and there is bad. But one of the many reasons why Kurt Vonnegut was so brilliant can be showcased perfectly by this little gem of an opening paragraph: I was sitting in a bar one night, talking rather loudly about a person I hated – and a man with a beard sat down beside me, and he said amiably, “Why don’t you have him killed?” And that's all I need. As with most collections of short stories, there is good and there is bad. But one of the many reasons why Kurt Vonnegut was so brilliant can be showcased perfectly by this little gem of an opening paragraph: I was sitting in a bar one night, talking rather loudly about a person I hated – and a man with a beard sat down beside me, and he said amiably, “Why don’t you have him killed?” And that's all I need.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    There are some good stories here for any Vonnegut reader. Of course, some are much better than others. 7 of 10 stars

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jeff B.

    I decided I was going to re-read all the Kurt Vonnegut in 2021. I had read almost all of his stuff about 30 years ago when I was around 19. This book was released in 2009 posthumously so I had never read any of these stories. Like many short story collections, some of the stories are better than others - but overall it was an enjoyable collection. I gave it 3 stars. Here are my thoughts: 1. Much like Welcome to the Monkey House, this is early Kurt Vonnegut - he hasn't found the voice that we know I decided I was going to re-read all the Kurt Vonnegut in 2021. I had read almost all of his stuff about 30 years ago when I was around 19. This book was released in 2009 posthumously so I had never read any of these stories. Like many short story collections, some of the stories are better than others - but overall it was an enjoyable collection. I gave it 3 stars. Here are my thoughts: 1. Much like Welcome to the Monkey House, this is early Kurt Vonnegut - he hasn't found the voice that we know and love yet. He was famous for saying his secret ingredient was that his books have no villains, but you will find plenty of villains here. Unlike Welcome to the Monkey House, these stories weren't published in their time, so it could be presumed that they are of lesser quality. Maybe so, but I did find many of the stories well-written and engaging. 2. Actually, many of these stories feel like different versions of stories from Welcome to the Monkey House. "Confido" reminds me a lot of "The Euphio Question" - about a million dollar idea that's more trouble than it's worth. And "Shout About It from the Housetops" gave me plenty of vibes from "Go Back to Your Precious Wife and Son". 3. After reading this and Welcome to the Monkey House, I've come to the conclusion, that maybe Kurt Vonnegut was a bit more right wing when he was younger. In my review of Welcome to the Monkey House, I mention how all my republican friends always bring up Harrison Bergeron. Well, there's plenty here for my republican friends to like. Kurt takes shots at abortion and communism. 4. Like Welcome to the Monkey House, this book's 14 stories range from romance to sci-fi. Though this book has a lot less sci-fi and has a lot more focus on crime fiction. Maybe he thought these stories would get into crime magazine but were rejected. I don't know. My 5 favorite stories from this book: Confido - This short story is about an invention that cures loneliness, but brings out our worst - kind of like Facebook. Ed Luby's Key Club - This is a very engaging crime story about a corrupt town. I was at the edge of my seat. Hall of Mirrors - Another crime story about a hypnotist suspected of being a killer. Hello, Red - A story about a guy who comes back home after many years to try and be a father. This one had the best ending of the bunch. Kurt always tries to end these with a twist or cute line, often they came off corny, but I though this ending was great. The Good Explainer - This story has a patient traveling hundreds of miles to see the right doctor, but why did he have to travel so far? Another good ending. Anyway, I enjoyed this collection of early Kurt Vonnegut. I would never recommend anyone getting into Vonnegut start here (or with any of his short story collections). And if someone wanted to read his short stories, I would recommend Welcome to the Monkey House - the stories are more iconic and a bit more representative of what's to come. If you've read Welcome to the Monkey House and want more short stories, then this book would fit that bill. Also, if you like crime fiction and Kurt Vonnegut, you'll get a taste here.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    Spoiler Alert - this review might give away some of the storylines I was ambivalent about reading this book. These are stories that Kurt Vonnegut wrote during his lifetime but chose to leave unpublished. Vonnegut was a stickler for perfection in his writing so he might have decided these stories were not good enough to be printed or that they needed some more editing before they were. So, on the one hand I wondered if reading these stories that his estate chose to publish posthumously was disresp Spoiler Alert - this review might give away some of the storylines I was ambivalent about reading this book. These are stories that Kurt Vonnegut wrote during his lifetime but chose to leave unpublished. Vonnegut was a stickler for perfection in his writing so he might have decided these stories were not good enough to be printed or that they needed some more editing before they were. So, on the one hand I wondered if reading these stories that his estate chose to publish posthumously was disrespectful to an author whose writing I greatly admire. On the other hand, to throw away the opportunity to read anything that Vonnegut wrote, even if it was merely a shopping list, would be a travesty. Hopefully Vonnegut will forgive me for I found this book to be full of excellent writing and wonderfully cutting, insightful, and satirical works. As I have said before, Kurt Vonnegut’s satire of American life cuts to the core of our society. His insight and wit on one hand seem comical and on the other terrifyingly truthful. From the first line of the first story Vonnegut’s impressive skills are evident. “The Summer had died peacefully in its sleep, and Autumn, as soft-spoken executrix, was locking life up safely until Spring came to claim it.” The themes of these fourteen stories cover an extensive range of the human experience. In the first story, Confido, a mild mannered man has happened upon an invention that will make him rich and famous but his wife is not sure he should reveal it to the world. The second story, Fubar, is about a man whose life is a clear case of fouled up beyond all recognition (thank Vonnegut for the PG version of this acronym). The third, Shout About It From The Housetops, centers around a woman who has written a masterful, loving ode to her husband, only to find its publication results in his being fired and the two of them ostracized by their community. The fourth, Ed Luby’s Key Club, revolves around the age old question of which succeeds in this world - goodness and honesty or self-centeredness and deceit. The fifth, A Song for Selma, poses the question of what is genius and how does one recognize it in one’s self or others. The sixth, Hall Of Mirrors, is a fascinating tale of deception that weaves back and forth more than an intricate oriental rug. The seventh, The Nice Little People, is a story about extraterrestrials that only Vonnegut could come up with. The eighth, Hello Red, is a grippingly honest story about love, deception, and parenthood. The ninth, Little Drops Of Water, is a story of a woman’s power and revenge against a self-centered lover. The tenth, The Petrified Ants, is a story from the old days of the USSR under Stalin. The eleventh, The Honor Of A Newsboy, is a Norman Rockwell painting as written by Vonnegut. The twelfth, Look At The Birdie, is about a murder counselor, of sorts. The thirteenth, King and Queen of the Universe, poses the question of whether the rich have any morality. And the fourteenth, is a painful but honest story of a woman getting back at a man who has wronged her. Some of these stories are excellent, a few less so, and a couple that Vonnegut definitely would have reworked before putting them into print. However, even the least of these stories gives a glimpse of the genius of Kurt Vonnegut.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Chester Hart

    My expectations when I pick up something by Kurt Vonnegut now are huge. The first couple of stories in this collection did not really resonate with me but as the book went on the stories seemed to get better and better. I love the way that all of the elements of the stories are thrown out as if they are just random things, something that a less astute author might throw into the mix to add to the description or add character background. But then there those same elements are at the end of the sto My expectations when I pick up something by Kurt Vonnegut now are huge. The first couple of stories in this collection did not really resonate with me but as the book went on the stories seemed to get better and better. I love the way that all of the elements of the stories are thrown out as if they are just random things, something that a less astute author might throw into the mix to add to the description or add character background. But then there those same elements are at the end of the story playing an integral part and making you feel smart as a reader. There were some fantastic stories in here that, my favourites were; A song for Selma, about a school that keeps secret IQ tests about it's students. The Petrified ants, about communist archaeologists who make a remarkable discovery Look at Birdie, about a strange encounter in a bar. There were also some lines that blew me away. As always, my favourite; "having been caught fishing illegally in the waters of human misery, I have returned my entire catch to the muddy stream."

  18. 4 out of 5

    তানজীম Rahman)

    It's not a masterpiece by any means, but I genuinely enjoyed the book from start to finish. It's an anthology full of stories that crackle with wit and insight. Some of my favorites were: - Look at the Birdie: a great, darkly funny story about a 'murder consultant' with an interesting twist. - Hall of Mirrors: a neat little story that truly gives you the feeling of being lost in a hall of mirrors. - King and Queen of the Universe: a heartbreaking story that could've done without the saccharine endi It's not a masterpiece by any means, but I genuinely enjoyed the book from start to finish. It's an anthology full of stories that crackle with wit and insight. Some of my favorites were: - Look at the Birdie: a great, darkly funny story about a 'murder consultant' with an interesting twist. - Hall of Mirrors: a neat little story that truly gives you the feeling of being lost in a hall of mirrors. - King and Queen of the Universe: a heartbreaking story that could've done without the saccharine ending, but was pretty memorable regardless. The other stories were good too, but almost all of them suffer from being a little heavy-handed. Vonnegut was Vonnegut though, so the prose is always delightful. Not a life-changing or earth-shattering book, but definitely a great read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    ash 💫

    really, really enjoyed these. i’ve liked everything i’ve read by vonnegut so far (i say this as it seems many become disillusioned quickly as they work through his body of literature) so this was a really fun read for me. i liked how each and every story had something that made the plot go off the rails a little bit - either a big secret reveal, a little sci-fi, a little magical realism, an untrustworthy narrator, etc. these left turns in the plots based in breaking down powerful systems - law e really, really enjoyed these. i’ve liked everything i’ve read by vonnegut so far (i say this as it seems many become disillusioned quickly as they work through his body of literature) so this was a really fun read for me. i liked how each and every story had something that made the plot go off the rails a little bit - either a big secret reveal, a little sci-fi, a little magical realism, an untrustworthy narrator, etc. these left turns in the plots based in breaking down powerful systems - law enforcement, class, wealth, marriage - only highlighted the overall messages of each story. great read

  20. 5 out of 5

    Karl Griffiths

    How has it taken me this long to even open this book. Kurt Vonnegut is excellent and these short stories are a delight. Twists and turns and delightful insights into different parts of the human condition.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin

    Some hits. Some Misses. Favs: Ed Luby's Key Club, The Honor of a Newsboy and King and Queen of the Universe. Some hits. Some Misses. Favs: Ed Luby's Key Club, The Honor of a Newsboy and King and Queen of the Universe.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Maxwell Pollack

    Look at the Birdie is a great book. Most of the short stories I've read have been Horror, standard campfire fare, and it was refreshing to read something like this. Kurt Vonnegut knows exactly what he's doing, he leads the reader with cautious poise through his strangest imaginings, through warped mirrors into worlds that are subtly perverted versions of our own. Look at the Birdie is a great book. Most of the short stories I've read have been Horror, standard campfire fare, and it was refreshing to read something like this. Kurt Vonnegut knows exactly what he's doing, he leads the reader with cautious poise through his strangest imaginings, through warped mirrors into worlds that are subtly perverted versions of our own.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    These stories aren't first-rate Vonnegut, but they had enough in them to beguile me on a long feverish achy day as my country drew closer to the drain it's been circling. I'm glad I had them around. These stories aren't first-rate Vonnegut, but they had enough in them to beguile me on a long feverish achy day as my country drew closer to the drain it's been circling. I'm glad I had them around.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bryan Hovey

    I've always enjoyed a collection of short stories. Vonnegut shows his wide and varying storytelling ability masterfully. Such a great imagination. I've always enjoyed a collection of short stories. Vonnegut shows his wide and varying storytelling ability masterfully. Such a great imagination.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mike Degen

    I very much enjoyed my study of Vonnegut and his short stories were as engaging as his novels

  26. 4 out of 5

    John Blumenthal

    Meh. Not too hard to figure out why these were unpublished

  27. 5 out of 5

    John

    It is inevitable that when an author of Kurt Vonnegut's stature passes away, every scrap attributable to him will be pulled from the back of the pantry for consumption by an insatiable public. We can forgive the impulse to want more from a wellspring which has been so deeply nourishing. But our hunger is rarely satisfied by the leftovers, and "Look at the Birdie" is no exception. The New York Times Book Review is quoted, on the front page, as follows: "Why these stories went unpublished is hard t It is inevitable that when an author of Kurt Vonnegut's stature passes away, every scrap attributable to him will be pulled from the back of the pantry for consumption by an insatiable public. We can forgive the impulse to want more from a wellspring which has been so deeply nourishing. But our hunger is rarely satisfied by the leftovers, and "Look at the Birdie" is no exception. The New York Times Book Review is quoted, on the front page, as follows: "Why these stories went unpublished is hard to answer." This is disingenuous. They went unpublished because Vonnegut clearly recognized what those who have deified him have trouble coming to terms with: they are, on the whole, sub-par in comparison to his body of previously published short stories. This is not to say that these are bad stories. There are no train wrecks here. And several of them hold up well. Opening with a one-two punch, "Confido" is the wry sibling of "The Euphio Question," while "FUBAR" reminds us that life's beauty is in the eye of each beholder. A similar theme is emphasized in "A Song for Selma," while "King and Queen of the Universe" touches on some of the themes that crop up (albeit within a much different context) in "The Sirens of Titan," as it explores the relationship between who we are and who we believe we are. There are some near-misses here, too. "Shout About It from the Housetops," "Hello Red," "Little Drops of Water," and "Hall of Mirrors" are flawed gems which approach the level of Vonnegut's best work, even if they don't quite make it over the goal-line. The remainder of these stories suffer, in short, from contrivance. Vonnegut's weakest works (which are still better than many authors' best) are marked by contrivances which either blunt their impact or render their climaxes predictable. Thus, for example, the conclusion of "Ed Luby's Key Club" is too pat, too convenient, to leave a deep impression. Or, to take another example, the morality play of "The Petrified Ants," broken into three acts with an Epilogue/denouement, is a clear misfire, in that the reader can see the end -- including the moral -- halfway through the second act. Other pieces here, such as "The Nice Little People," or the title piece are too slight and too trite to achieve much impact. Vonnegut must have known that these stories would be collected together and brought to the attention of his ever-adoring fan base. He didn't forbid their publication, nor did he choose to destroy them. It is hard to imagine that he could not foresee their publication. I'd like to think that he had high hopes for us, hopes that we would be discerning enough to know why they went unpublished, but to love him for swinging even when he missed.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Derek Wolfgram

    There was an article in the Washington Post a couple weeks ago about the estates of prominent authors (in this case, Douglas Adams, A.A. Milne, and Bram Stoker) hiring folks to write "authorized" sequels. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/... God help us if Vonnegut's estate ever follows this path. That being said, how can the world not be made a better place by the publication of more Vonnegut? His incredible wit, intense humanism, and insight into the human character were unparalleled. Chan There was an article in the Washington Post a couple weeks ago about the estates of prominent authors (in this case, Douglas Adams, A.A. Milne, and Bram Stoker) hiring folks to write "authorized" sequels. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/... God help us if Vonnegut's estate ever follows this path. That being said, how can the world not be made a better place by the publication of more Vonnegut? His incredible wit, intense humanism, and insight into the human character were unparalleled. Chances are, as long as his unpublished ouevre keeps being mined for more, I'll keep buying them, most likely with mixed feelings about the works. Look at the Birdie is a great example: it provides some early, poignant examples of short stories demonstrating the development of Vonnegut's trademark style. On his way to becoming the greatest novelist of the 20th century, he began his career writing short stories for a number of pulp magazines, with his gift for brevity often in direct competition with the "pay by the word" approach of these publications. If the stories in this collection remind me of anything, it's the surprise twist at the denouement of O. Henry's short stories. From the winning attitude of Francine from the "Girl Pool" who brings new light into the life of a bureaucrat who thinks he's in a dead end position in "FUBAR" to the frightening but familiar portrait of small town politics in "Ed Luby's Key Club," these stories illuminate the vagaries of life in the way that only Vonnegut could. I'm glad there are still some opportunities left to experience his unique perspective on the world.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Sometimes you wish families wouldn't release writers' work posthumously, but in this case, it was a beautiful thing to do. Here's a collection of short stories from "Early Kurt." Nothing is told in first person, and the familiar voice of his well-known books is barely there. But if you know his work you'll spot a few things: the unmistakable "um" given as a response by a character to ominously dumb statements (at least three times in this collection). The surprising absence of profanity (Vonnegu Sometimes you wish families wouldn't release writers' work posthumously, but in this case, it was a beautiful thing to do. Here's a collection of short stories from "Early Kurt." Nothing is told in first person, and the familiar voice of his well-known books is barely there. But if you know his work you'll spot a few things: the unmistakable "um" given as a response by a character to ominously dumb statements (at least three times in this collection). The surprising absence of profanity (Vonnegut even hyphenates the word "bastard" to avoid offense). Most of all, the traces of the raw and honest sentimentality that later made him famous, once he finally turned to first person and placed so many autobiographical details into his novels. Perhaps most surprising is the optimism that saturates these stories. Something Vonnegut lost completely by the middle of his career, but returned to in his own way later on. Compared to work written in his prime, elements of these stories are amateurish. I was surprised to note how similar these early tales are to the work of Isaac Asimov, who later became one of Vonnegut's best friends. There's always a hard twist at the endings, which keeps you turning the page to the next one. The title story is aptly chosen, a mere three page shocker that is the perfect example of Vonnegut's black humor. At his best, Vonnegut always played god and plunged characters into terrible situations... Artwork is included between stories, and adds much to the "feel." If you like his books, you'll miss him more for the way "Look at the Birdie" allows you to complete the circle of his full, painful, and transparent life.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

    Vonnegut has a very surreal way of writing about what might be otherwise-normal situations; there's always an element of "Where did THAT come from? Seriously?" in each of his stories, but it seems to make perfect sense, in the end. After reading a book of his, I feel disappointed picking up almost any other book for a while. Shirley Jackson's another author who has this effect on my reading habits. Regarding this book, specifically, it's absolutely perfect for waiting rooms - each story took me a Vonnegut has a very surreal way of writing about what might be otherwise-normal situations; there's always an element of "Where did THAT come from? Seriously?" in each of his stories, but it seems to make perfect sense, in the end. After reading a book of his, I feel disappointed picking up almost any other book for a while. Shirley Jackson's another author who has this effect on my reading habits. Regarding this book, specifically, it's absolutely perfect for waiting rooms - each story took me about 15 minutes, tops, to read (I read quickly, but they're not written in an over-arching prose or anything), and there are quite a few of them, so carrying this book in my bag for a couple of weeks took care of a lot of what would otherwise be absolute boredom. It also has the bonus of being good, truly, with unexpected surprises, some odd endings, karmic justice, and the sort of oddball language that we, in the 21st century, deem to be "retro" or "cute" - and that language is used effectively, in context, so even if you've never heard a term before, you don't have to look it up or spend the rest of the story confused. I love a clear, concise read, and while Vonnegut doesn't suit everyone's tastes, I could imagine myself recommending individual stories from this book to many people that I know. Now I just have to wait another week for my brain to stop having such high expectations so I can read something else.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...