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Welcome to the Monkey House Paperback – November 1, 1970


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Dell Books (November 1, 1970)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385291272
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385291279
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (254 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,689,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Listeners are in for a treat as a masterful cast animates many of Vonnegut's finest short pieces. Vonnegut colors his oft-wondrous works with memorable characters, fantastic realities, pitch-perfect dialogue and heapings of satire and humor—a tall order for any audio actor. But this group of narrators are veterans of screen and stage, each with a unique voice as malleable as clay. It's hard to find fault with this production. Occasionally, Tucci and Irwin oversoften their voices, and listeners may find themselves reaching for the volume. Otherwise, there are very few blemishes. Baker is outstanding in "All the King's Horses" and "The Hyannis Port Story." Strathairn shines on "Tom Edison's Shaggy Dog" and "The Lie." Tucci handles with ease the predominantly male pieces "Go Back to Your Precious Wife and Son" and "Manned Missiles." Irwin inhabits every character. The robust Roberts is both commanding and wry. Given the fertile material and the collective talent of the cast, listeners should expect nothing less than excellence here. They won't be disappointed. Available in paperback from Dell. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“He strips the flesh from bone and makes you laugh while he does it. . . . There are twenty-five stories here, and each hits a nerve ending.”—Charlotte Observer
 
“Vonnegut is George Orwell, Dr. Caligari and Flash Gordon compounded into one writer . . . a zany but moral mad scientist.”—Time

“A great artist.”—Cincinnati Enquirer
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

More About the Author

Kurt Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis in 1922. He studied at the universities of Chicago and Tennessee and later began to write short stories for magazines. His first novel, Player Piano, was published in 1951 and since then he has written many novels, among them: The Sirens of Titan (1959), Mother Night (1961), Cat's Cradle (1963), God Bless You Mr Rosewater (1964), Welcome to the Monkey House; a collection of short stories (1968), Breakfast of Champions (1973), Slapstick, or Lonesome No More (1976), Jailbird (1979), Deadeye Dick (1982), Galapagos (1985), Bluebeard (1988) and Hocus Pocus (1990). During the Second World War he was held prisoner in Germany and was present at the bombing of Dresden, an experience which provided the setting for his most famous work to date, Slaughterhouse Five (1969). He has also published a volume of autobiography entitled Palm Sunday (1981) and a collection of essays and speeches, Fates Worse Than Death (1991).

Customer Reviews

If you like Vonnegut this collection of short stories is a must.
Ernest Boehm
They're the kind of stories that make you want to close your eyes and think for an hour after you're done reading them.
hannah
I read them 30 years ago when in school, and I do believe they've gotten better with age.
Jan M.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Oregon Skier on October 3, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Please note that my rating is about the quality of the Kindle edition, not the quality of Vonnegut's writing.

On the one hand, the short stories are wonderful and showcase some of Vonnegut's earlier writing. On the other hand, the Kindle edition would likely embarrass any author, and particularly one whose precision of language was equal to Kurt Vonnegut's. Specifically, the book appears to have been created by scanning a hard copy and then using optical character recognition (OCR) software to convert the images to letters, without making an effort to even so much as electronically verify that the OCR got it right (e.g. even a Word grammar checker would have turned up most of the obvious mistakes). This results in an almost verbatim rendering of the original, but not quite. In the Kindle version it is quite jarring to find, for example, the word "mat" appearing nonsensically in the middle of some sentences where the word "that" was plainly intended. Two examples: "It was in this news mat Nancy perceived a glint of hope" or "Why, honey bunch, they call mat truth serum." Mostly, "that" shows up correctly, but not always. Perhaps the most obnoxious example is in the short story "Deer in the Works" where a character's name is first given as "Lou Flammer" then inexplicably switches for a few pages to "Lou Hammer" and then switches back to last name "Flammer" again. Vonnegut doesn't make those sorts of mistakes. Kindle does, and it is a shame to do it to a writer of such ability. Nevertheless, what Vonnegut writes in these short stories are entertaining, thought provoking, disturbing, and somewhat of a time capsule for the mindset of America in the 1950s and early 60s. My only suggestion is to buy a hard copy version and read what Vonnegut actually wrote, instead.
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95 of 100 people found the following review helpful By Eric J. Lyman on March 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
If you don't already know Kurt Vonnegut's work, this may be the best introduction to it -- especially considering that short stories are the art form that Vonnegut started out with, where he developed his craft.
And if you already know Vonnegut but don't know this book, then think of this as the author in delicious bit-sized chunks.
But read the book!
I would not say that Welcome to the Monkey House is Vonnegut's best book -- in fact, it may not even be in the top five by my calculations -- but it is the one book of his I would keep if I had to give all the other away, simply because of the diversity of the stories he tells and the simple writing skill they illustrate.
And I might argue that the best single STORY Vonnegut ever wrote is "Harrison Bergeron" the riveting and still-relevant tale about human nature that effects me as much today as it did when I first read it 20 years ago. Vonnegut without a doubt proves with this story that all writers are not created equal.
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85 of 92 people found the following review helpful By Michael Battaglia on March 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
I'm not a huge fan of short story collections since I'd much rather sit through a single story throughout all those pages instead of a series of tales that at best tend to be hit or miss and wildly inconsistent. However there are some writers that I will acknowledge are masters of the form, Theodore Sturgeon, Ray Bradbury and of course Kurt Vonnegut (that's not even counting the "classic" short story masters who I haven't read) who's novels sometimes come across as longish short stories anyway. Most of these stories were written early in his career, in the fifties or sixties and it looks like someone actually made an attempt to sequence them instead of just dumping them in chronoloogical order, thus there's a bit of a procession as you move along, finally ending with the darkly hopeful 'Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow". Along the way you'll find that the quality is quite high and many of these are very much vintage Vonnegut. He mixes around with genres and so SF exercises such as "Harrison Bergeron" and "Welcome to the Monkey House" (classics both) sit comfortably next to more typical stories such as "Manned Missiles" (which gets my vote for most effective story in the collection and surprised me the most). There aren't really any clunkers here, some are simpler than others and will pass you by without much impact, but the majority all have some moment or theme to recommend them as keepers and give you something to think about long after you've finished them. Sure, most of the stories were written in a different time but regardless of the SF or the Cold War backdrop or whatever, these are essentially timeless and deserved to be read again and again.
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49 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 17, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Having never read Vonnegut before, I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. The title led me to expect some degree of science fiction. What I found was a collection of rich, wonderfully written stories about a wide assortment of subjects. Vonnegut is a great writer, pure and simple. Many of the stories dealt with the future and the state of society, and Vonnegut struck me as having a somewhat cynical yet witty view of the subject. I found the themes of his stories to be somewhat akin to my own fears of life as we will some day know it, in a world where the government attempts to create utopia on earth. Two of the more memorable stories found in these pages are "Harrison Bergeron" and "Welcome to the Monkey House." In the first story, we find the type of society that I fear the most, a socialist republic where all people are required to be equal; those who possess intelligence and pose the danger of actually thinking are controlled by implants which forcefully disallow any thought from entering their minds. In the latter, we find a Malthusian world of overpopulation where everyone takes pills to numb the lower halves of their bodies and people are encouraged to come to Federal Ethical Suicide Parlors and voluntarily remove themselves from the crowded world. Other stories deal with massive overpopulation troubles.
On the other hand, we find more simplistic stories in which Vonnegut conveys individuals in a deep, touching light, striking great chords of sympathy in this reader's mind.
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