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Welcome to the Monkey House: A Collection of Short Works Paperback – September 8, 1998
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“[Kurt Vonnegut] 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.”—The Charlotte Observer
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This collection of Vonnegut's short masterpieces share his audacious sense of humor and extraordinary creative vision.
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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.
We identify with the madness; we identify with the sanity. It is all real, or at least vividly imagined. These are the short stories Vonnegut sold while he worked on his memorable novels, which are all readily available here at Amazon. They are all worthy of our attention as historic narratives of a cultural epoch of our lives from one of the 20th century's most vigorous and lasting literary voices. He continues to speak to our dreams and fears and leaves it to us to decide which is which.
These snippets offer insight into a culture little known elsewhere. It is, at turns, insightful into human nature or irreverent, even simultaneously when it suited the author's perception of his world, focused mainly on the middle of the last century. An exhilarating thing about this collection of short stories is you get servings of farce ricocheting through decades of life on parallel paths with tidbits of poignant ordinary existence and the occasional stark truth of the ignoble mindlessness of such things as how war is often conducted.
Savor these emotional sojourns one at a time or in a sitting or two: enjoy as snacks or feasts. Browse until you're satisfied. If you love language, read them aloud -- to someone you care about or just yourself -- for the pure joy of the sounds. This is a delicious read.
He's genius. This book of short stories will have you laughing and pondering mankind.
If you like the show - Black Mirror - then you'll probably love this book.
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