> Skip to content

LOOK AT THE BIRDIE is a collection of fourteen previously unpublished stories by the twentieth century master

Look at the Birdie evokes a world in which squabbling couples, high school geniuses, misfit office workers, and small-town Lotharios struggle to adapt to changing technology, moral ambiguity, and unprecedented affluence.In “Confido,” a family learns the downside of confiding their deepest secrets into a magical invention.In “Ed Luby’s Key Club,” 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.In “Look at the Birdie,” a quack psychiatrist turned “murder counsellor” concocts a novel new outlet for his paranoid patients.The stories are cautionary they also brim with his trademark humour.

Wry, ironic, satirical and poignant Look at the Birdie reflects the anxieties of the postwar era in which they were written and provides an insight into the development of Vonnegut’s early style

Reviews

The wittiest man since Groucho Marx and the wisest since Karl Marx

The Times

For the last years of his life, Vonnegut was our sage and chain-smoking truth teller... Why these stories went unpublished is hard to answer. They're polished, they're relentlessly fun to read, and every last one of them comes to a neat and satisfying end

Dave Eggers, New York Times Review of Books

These [stories] date from early in his literary career in the early to mid-Fifties, but already they show the hallmarks of Vonnegut's distinctive voice and style - that unique mixture of knowingness and wide-eyed innocence, warmth and cynicism, guile and simplicity.... Not too difficult to see why he didn't manage to place these stories at the time - the early Fifties wasn't ready for such darkness and lightly-worn subversion. Terrific

Daily Mail

What is surprising about these 14 short stories written by the master satirist during the 1950s, is that not one has been published before. it is not for want of quality: they are rather wonderful... They are uncharacterisable, but so was Vonnegut (The New York Times said it best in calling him the laughing proophet of doom). The opening tale, Confido, starts the collection as it means to go on: it is mischievious, nutty and astute

David Hayles, The Times

The fourteen unpublished stories in Look at the Birdie are as outlandish and well turned as anything he wrote, displaying his impish playfulness. Most authors spend a lifetime finding their voice. Here we see that Vonnegut's was well-established at the start of his career: tightly plotted yet loose in style; spry; sporadic if not downright acerbic, yet with plenty of laughter in the dark. [...] warm, generous and uncompromising spirit behind this collection.

Neil Fitzgerald, Times Literary Supplement

...they show the hallmarks of Vonnegut's distinctive voice and style - that unique mixture of knowingness and wide-eyed innocence, warmth and cynicism, guile and simplicity...Not too difficult to see why he didn't manage to place these stories at the time - the early Fifties wasn't ready for such darkness and lightly-worn subversion. Terrific.

Daily Mail

rather wonderful...still knocks most purveyors of the short story form into a cocked hat

David Hayles, The Times

Look at the Birdie is a valuable time capsule, providing insight into the early developments of Vonnegut's style. Wry and ironic commentary connect each story making this collection an enjoyable read

Aesthetica

All the stories are clever, witty and written with Vonnegut's trademark invention

Simon Shaw, Mail on Sunday

Look at the Birdie is a valuable time capsule, providing insight into the early developments of Vonnegut's style. Wry and ironic commentary connect each story making this collection an enjoyable read

Cherie Federico, Aesthetica

Read More

Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780099548850

    November 1, 2010

    Vintage

    272 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781407074887

    November 1, 2010

    Vintage Digital

    272 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
    • iBooks
    • Google Play EBook AU
    • Kobo
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks