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About the book
  • Published: 1 November 2010
  • ISBN: 9780099548850
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $19.99
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Look At the Birdie




LOOK AT THE BIRDIE is a collection of fourteen previously unpublished stories by the twentieth century master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

  • Pub date: 1 November 2010
  • ISBN: 9780099548850
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis in 1922 and studied biochemistry at Cornell University. An army intelligence scout during the Second World War, he was captured by the Germans and witnessed the destruction of Dresden by Allied bombers, an experience which inspired his classic novel Slaughterhouse-Five. After the war he worked as a police reporter, an advertising copywriter and a public relations man for General Electric. His first novel Player Piano (1952) achieved underground success. Cat's Cradle (1963) was hailed by Graham Greene as 'one of the best novels of the year by one of the ablest living authors'. His eighth book, Slaughterhouse-Five was published in 1969 and was a literary and commercial success, and was made into a film in 1972. Vonnegut is the author of thirteen other novels, three collections of stories and five non-fiction books. Kurt Vonnegut died in 2007.

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Praise for Look At the Birdie

“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


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