Look at the Birdie: Book summary and reviews of Look at the Birdie by Kurt Vonnegut

Look at the Birdie

Unpublished Short Fiction

By Kurt Vonnegut

Look at the Birdie
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  • Published in USA  Oct 2009,
    272 pages.

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Book Summary

Look at the Birdie is a collection of fourteen previously unpublished short stories from one of the most original writers in all of American fiction.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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"To be sure, they lack the polish and humor of the author's best-known work. Nevertheless, for devotees, they provide an instructive view of Vonnegut's talent in the making." - Publishers Weekly

"These early stories lack the polish of Vonnegut's classic novels but track the development of his hugely influential mix of sf and black humor. Important for fans, but first-time readers should start with the better-known titles." - Library Journal

"Everything here entertains, perhaps surprisingly." - Booklist

"The pieces are not dated, nor are we told whether they went unpublished because they were rejected or because the author was dissatisfied with them.For ultra-committed fans and Vonnegut scholars only." - Kirkus Reviews

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Author Information

Kurt Vonnegut Author Biography

Kurt Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on November 11, 1922. He studied biochemistry at Cornell University (1940–2) before attending the Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1943.  He served in the US Army from 1942-1945.  As an advance scout with the US 106th Infantry Division during the Battle of the Bulge, Vonnegut was cut off from his battalion behind enemy lines and was eventually captured in December 1944 and held as a prisoner of war.  He was held in Dresden where he witnessed the February 1945 bombings that destroyed much of the city.  He was one of just seven American prisoners of war in Dresden to survive, in an underground meatpacking cellar known as "Slaughterhouse Five".  This experience formed the basis for his ...

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Name Pronunciation
Kurt Vonnegut: kert VAHN-uh-guht

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