Welcome to the Monkey House (Dell #9478)
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Welcome to the Monkey House (Dell #9478)

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  30,000 ratings  ·  1,047 reviews
This long-awaited volume brings together the finest of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr."s, shorter works. Sex, machines, pills, men, women, society, good, evil, outer space, inner space, time past, present and future, are among the subjects infused with the fascinating, fantastic and formidable Vonnegut magic. It is a funny, sad, explosive, wildly gyrating gathering, a mind-bobbling gra...more
Mass Market Paperback, 308 pages
Published 1973 by Dell Publishing (first published 1968)
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Tracey
Previously read June 2003 (among many other times)

Like many offbeat/outcast teens, I went through a Vonnegut phase - and am glad to say I never completely recovered. I would heartily recommend Welcome to the Monkey House for anyone new to Vonnegut's body of work, as it covers basically the first two decades of his career (and IMHO, the best years)

It contains an honest-to-goodness love story - "Long Walk to Forever" that always makes me sniffle a little. Then there's the familiarly sardonic "Rep...more
Seak (Bryce L.)
Vonnegut does a wonderful job with a short story and while most stories were "okay" to "yeah, I liked it I guess", it's definitely worth it for the few 4 to 5 star ratings.

"Where I Live" (Venture- Traveler’s World, October 1964) - 2/5 Kinda boring and no real plot. Just meandering
"Harrison Bergeron" (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, October 1961) - 5/5 Loved this one - science fiction - Handicapping people so everything is fair and no one can take unfair advantage because of their lo...more
Dan
I could write a long review and talk about every short story in this collection, but I'm not going to do that. There are just too many good stories in this collection. My personal favorite was probably "Harrison Bergeron" but I would have to think about that. It's not necessary that I have a "favorite" per se, but my mind just works that way.

If you're a Vonnegut fan, you've probably read this. If you've never read Vonnegut, give it a shot. It's a great way to start your journey into his mind. He...more
MJ Nicholls
This collection, along with Bagombo Snuff Box, collects short stories from Vonnegut’s time writing for the glossies, dailies and slicks. The pieces range from speculative fiction to standard romance fare, each only hinting at the greatness he would achieve as a novelist. He wrote these for money, no doubt about it, and although several spar with some of his Big Stuff, they lack the scathing black humour, wild absurdity and heartbreaking pathos of . . . hmm, well, start at The Sirens of Titan and...more
Evan
This collection of early short stories, mostly from the 1950s, displays Vonnegut's versatility--of subject matter, theme, and style; and also his grasping for an identifiable, unique personal style. At this point, he already is a mature, assured writer. Except for possibly "The Manned Missiles" (which nonetheless has the same clever twist ending as many of the other stories in this collection) all of the stories in this compilation are great. Vonnegut's command of narrative and descriptive detai...more
Justin
I heard once from an old English teacher that the hardest pieces to write are short stories and short films. To develop a plot and characters in a short and constricted time frame requires no small amount of skill. There's no room to waste words and phrases; to do so would turn your short story into a novella. Poe was great at it. And I feel Vonnegut was great at it too.

Welcome to the Monkey House has been a favorite book of mine for a long time. I may have inadvertently acquired this copy from...more
Alan
In the 70s I taught this at community colleges, and it was wildly popular--the three scifi pieces on future overpopulation, or taking the joy out of sex ("ethical birth control") astute. The Cape Cod autobiographical shorts are wonderful views of an enviable past--the Yacht Club on the Bay side that is barely a shed, etc. My students could talk about this book for days, and did--though I never came up with paper assignments that evoked their best writing. Not sure why. Maybe Vonnegut's own prose...more
Anca
PS: - povestirea cea mai impresionanta (greu cuvantul pentru niste povestiri prin excelenta impresionante si surprinzatoare) e pentru mine, de departe, Toti caii regelui, despre cum e sa ai in maini viata celorlalti si sentimentul de-a fi la moftul cuiva, gandire limpede in tensiune, thriller in toata puterea cuvantului, ca la PROTV.

- mi-a placut in mod deosebit Colectia de primavara-iarna, despre o lume utopica(?) in care oamenii pot invata sa-si paraseasca corpurile, pricina tuturor nazurilor...more
Manny
The world is overpopulated, and they have Ethical Suicide Parlors, where public minded citizens are encouraged to go in and get a lethal injection from the attractive hostesses. There's a big thermometer outside, showing how many people there currently are in the world.

So the guy comes in, and he's chatting with the hostess. He wants to know how much the mercury will go down if he decides to do it. A foot?

No, she says.

An inch?

Not quite, she says.

Suddenly, he changes his tone. Every inch, he says...more
David
Aseara dupa ce am intrat in posesia cartii, mi-am spus "hai sa vad cum incepe". Am citit prefata (semnata de autor) si nu m-am mai oprit pina nu am terminat primele 5 povestiri, printre care si Harrison Bergeron o scurta distopie de tip orwellian, absolut tulburatoare, de care eram interesat in mod deosebit dupa ce am vazut ecranizarea-i superba in filmul de 25 de minute, 2081.

In mare, filmul respecta povestea, dar, nu reuseste sa redea latura ironica existenta in povestire — un amanunt nesemni...more
Annalisa
Oct 13, 2007 Annalisa rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: those who enjoy science fiction
This was a summer reading assignment for me in high school and I remember being hooked by Vonnegut's social satire. I loved his imaginative stories, humor, and slightly sci-fi plots to portray human pitfalls. The book left we pondering considerably and hungry for more Vonnegut and I soon read every one of his novels. Recently I reread the collection of short stories and it wasn't the amazing book I remember from my youth, many of his warnings about humanity are old news now. But as a youth I was...more
Josh
I think Vonnegut's best talent as a writer is his knack for stripping away the gap between facade and reality. He loves to sketch out characters that are (or simply seem) amazingly rich or powerful or charismatic. Then he breaks their circumstances down such that they're stuck with only their base humanity, and they have to confront themselves as they really are. How degrading to find out how much you're just like everyone else!
Missy
The Basics

A series of short stories (and even a couple of articles) by Kurt Vonnegut.

My Thoughts

Sad to say, the first thing I want to address is that the title story of this collection (“Welcome to the Monkey House”) is one of the most horrifically unfortunate things I’ve ever read. I want to sit here and tell myself that Vonnegut was from a different time, blah blah. I can’t justify it. And I can’t not talk about it openly and honestly. TRIGGER WARNING: the story has what is basically date rape...more
Ryan
In my mind, Kurt Vonnegut is the writerly equivalent to an eccentric, sarcastic, but kindly old uncle, the one you can always count on to take the stuffing out of your more puffed-up, less agile-minded relatives at family Christmas parties, while giving you a sly wink. In an important way, he was a voice for America in the 1950s and 60s, both a counterpoint to and a commenter on "mainstream" attitudes. He could do zaniness, anger, sorrow, and gentleness equally well.

This collection is a fine int...more
Cathi Davis
I haven't read any Vonnegut for a long time. So when this was the kindle deal of the day, I thought, why not? Glad I reread it. I knew I liked his writing style, but this just refreshed the thought. He is good. This is a collection of short stories, from various publications. Some are dated and quaint. You can't help but giggle out loud at his sense of humor, perhaps even more appealing today in the face of so much "serious" fiction.
An example from "Where I live"--
"So he went down the narrow ya...more
Alison Looney
I like Kurt Vonnegut's short stories. Many of his protagonists are ordinary blue collar workers, middling salesmen, or high school band directors who offer a glimpse into post war middle class Americas. They frequently end up brushing elbows with politicians, entertainers, and the fantastically wealthy, offering Vonnegut's commentary on the American dream. With hard work and a can-do spirit, you too can install storm glass for movie stars.

I think Mr. Helmholtz, a high school band director with a...more
Elizabeth Wallace
You'd THINK that, what with Vonnegut having written one of my all-time favorite classic sci-fi novels "Sirens of Titan", not to mention "Slaughterhouse Five", you'd think I'd have remembered that he wrote "Harrison Bergeron," one of the great classic sci-fi short stories (it was even in a school textbook of mine) and the second story in this collection. Somehow I never put that together in my head, that it was a Vonnegut story, though I should've; a dystopian more-than-a-little-tongue-in-cheek s...more
Patdmac7
Welcome to the Monkey House - Kurt Vonnegut

One foot in front of the other - through leaves, over bridges. 56

A chance is a girl. You smile at her, you be friendly, you be glad she's a girl. ... If men are nice to me and make me happy, I kiss them sometimes. 87

...if folks would swallow their self-respect and pride, there wouldn't be any more divorces. 129

But I can tell you now, darling - it's awfully hard for a woman to admire a man who actually doesn't do anything. 159

That's a mistake (to think)....more
Stef
25 short stories originally written between 1950 and 1968. The collection was published in 1968.

Narrators are Bill Irwin, Maria Tucci, Dylan Baker, David Strathairn, and Tony Roberts - one narrator per story. Some of the narrators are better than others. All are adequate.

The stories range from slice-of-life to science fiction, and the tone ranges from gentle compassion to savage satire. Unlike a lot of Vonnegut's later work, most of the stories have what might be considered "happy endings."

Some...more
Christina
Over the years, I had encountered a few of these short stories before. But I never sat down and went through the entire collection. I enjoyed at least 60% of them and a few seemed a bit like filler. My favorites are when Vonnegut tackles the absurd and really uses his wit to challenge our notions of ourselves. I Found that I enjoyed the title piece, "Welcome to the Monkey House" more this time than in the past. However, somehow "Harrison Bergeron" was less compelling to me now that I am older. A...more
Andrew
Dec 06, 2008 Andrew rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: all
Recommended to Andrew by: English professor at SFCC
A long remembered book from early college days read before my great awakening at the hands of the Federal Government.

As usual, Vonnegut's humanism comes through in fanciful ways with tragedy and humor. Very helpful to me, along with Slaughterhouse Five, through a barbaric period of my life.

I cannot convey my gratitude to Vonnegut for having written so much on pleasure and light amid the devastation of life.

These stories all had new depth for me as I re-read them. Some I thought somewhat trite o...more
Jil
Aug 20, 2008 Jil rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Science fiction & short story lovers
Recommended to Jil by: Matthew
I think Vonnegut really ought to have been a short-story writer. As much as I love some of his novels, the character of Kilgore Trout and frequent synopses of HIS short stories show me that deep down, Vonnegut just wanted to spin out wild short fiction tales.

And here he gets the opportunity, except some of these stories are not wild and just interesting and pleasant. In looking at a listing (on Wikipedia, of course) of the stories in this book, I'm surprised at how many of them make me think, "...more
Maeve
Mar 30, 2007 Maeve rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Everyone, especially Vonnegut virgins.
Shelves: fiction
This was the first Vonnegut book I read. I spotted on my Dad's bookshelf, said to myself "I've been meaning to read some Vonnegut" and picked it up to read without even glancing at the back cover. I loved the first chapter, then read the second and loved it too but had no idea how it connected to the first. When I got to the third and it was also completely different I finally glanced to the cover and noticed it was a collection of short stories! They are all wonderful. Some funny, often in that...more
Tabitha
This is a really fantastic book of short stories. Best of all (for me at least) is the inclusion of 'Harrison Bergeron,' which was my first experience with Vonnegut in high school. Still one of my favorite pieces of writing.
Christopher
Re-read in 2014, still 5 stars all these years later. Harrison Bergeron was still required reading when I was in high school; looking around today, it seems we all knew better...
Travis Roberson
Kurt Vonnegut often stated that he considered Mark Twain a saint. He justified this by his belief that Twain "could do no wrong," judging my his literary works.

Well, I considered Kurt Vonnegut a saint. Because, seriously, the man can do no wrong. Welcome to the Monkey House is a collection of short stories from Vonnegut's earlier days. It is amazing to see how much Kurt Vonnegut evolved in time. Most authors do, but Vonnegut did it like no other. In my opinion, the "classic" Vonnegut writing sty...more
David
This is a collection of short stories that Vonnegut wrote between 1950 and 1968. The stories range from war-time epics to futuristic social commentaries. In the introduction, Vonnegut explains that these stories helped to keep him financially afloat while he was working on his true aspiration - novels. The stories were published in various magazines and other publications, and were corralled into Welcome to the Monkey House in 1968.

Each story is incredibly unique and forward-thinking, especially...more
Arda Aghazarian
This is by far my favorite collection of short stories. Vonnegut is a brilliant writer with such whimsical imagination it's almost daunting. The preface itself was so well-written, so smooth, so close-to-heart that he proved, before even beginning with the stories, that "all it takes, baby he's got it."

He writes so easily, and his imagination soars and soars. I admit that some of the stories were somewhat "average" and at some point I was thinking "I'm going to give this 3 stars, or perhaps 4",...more
Anne
Whimsical, fluffy for the most part - I love these short stories that were his bread and butter in the 1950's. The title story makes fun of Grand Rapids, Michigan - hilarious.

The famed Harrison Burgeron predates affirmative action and predicts a tendendency to dumb us all down to the lowest denominator.

There are two standouts in this volume: The Manned Missle is the saddest piece of short fiction I have read to date - Vonnegut really hated war and so do I - two fathers - one Russian, one Americ...more
Helen
I don't know what year it was anymore, and whether I was in high school or college, but I do know this; to my infinite surprise, my writing is still influenced by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. In "Adam," a Holocaust survivor tries to celebrate the birth of his son, a small miracle after the slaughter of European Jewry, but every human being he encounters is too jaded to care. In "Harrison Bergeron," the brightest and strongest are fitted with mechanical impediments to ensure that everyone, everywhere, is eq...more
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Kurt Vonnegut, Junior was an American novelist, satirist, and most recently, graphic artist. He was recognized as New York State Author for 2001-2003.

He was born in Indianapolis, later the setting for many of his novels. He attended Cornell University from 1941 to 1943, where he wrote a column for the student newspaper, the Cornell Daily Sun. Vonnegut trained as a chemist and worked as a journali...more
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“A sane person to an insane society must appear insane.” 553 likes
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