Saturday, October 31, 2009

Book Review - 'Look at the Birdie - Unpublished Short Fiction,' by Kurt Vonnegut - Review - NYTimes.com [+ Kindle version -- UPDATED]

An excerpt from the full review:

“Unpublished is not a word we identify with a Kurt Vonnegut short story,” Sidney Offit notes in his foreword to “Look at the Birdie,” a new collection of Vonnegut’s early, and unpublished, short fiction. Perhaps more than any of his contemporaries of similar stature, Vonnegut was until early middle age a practical and adaptable writer, a guy who knew how to survive on his fiction. In the era of the “slicks” — weekly and monthly magazines that would pay decently for fiction — a writer had to have a feel for what would sell. The 14 stories in “Look at the Birdie,” none of them afraid to entertain, dabble in whodunnitry, science fiction and commanding fables of good versus evil. Why these stories went unpublished is hard to answer.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. For transmittal of moral instruction, they are incredibly efficient delivery devices.

In another of my series of semi-random Kindle observations, check this:

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In case it’s not clear from the screen clip, the Kindle version of this new, $27 suggested retail price book is, as I type this, $1.59. Somehow I suspect Jeff Bezos et al are subtly sending signals about their favorite authors…

UPDATE: note that the Kindle edition has only one of the stories ("Look at the Birdie") -- a fact that is not clear in the screen clip above. So it's not such a great price... but it is still a fun read. Looks like Amazon has some work to do, in order to clarify distinctions between dead-tree and Kindle versions of books. See this post for more details and musings.

Book Review - 'Look at the Birdie - Unpublished Short Fiction,' by Kurt Vonnegut - Review - NYTimes.com

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