Top critical review
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early Vonnegut -- for his old friends, mainly
on March 31, 2012
While Mortals Sleep consists of 16 short stories that have not previously been compiled in book form. They were written by Kurt Vonnegut in his early years, before he had become established as a successful writer. The stories originally were published in such venues as The Saturday Evening Post, Colliers, and Ladies' Home Journal. To publish these stories, the author would have been obliged to reflect values and interests of the US suburban middle class; thus one will not find political messages or wild flights of fancy of his later novels. The stories tend to be sentimental, lightly humorous, and humane; indeed Vonnegut's moral vision and sense of humanity shines through.
This collection primarily will be of interest to fans of Vonnegut's work who wish to trace his development as a writer back to his early years. Unfortunately (and inexplicably), no bibliographic information is provided about when and where each of the stories originally was published. Nonetheless, Vonnegut fans and other readers could do worse than to sample these warm and entertaining little tales.