Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Welcome to the Monkey House” as Want to Read:
Welcome to the Monkey House
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Welcome to the Monkey House

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  53,795 ratings  ·  1,911 reviews
Welcome to the Monkey House is a collection of Kurt Vonnegut’s shorter works. Originally printed in publications as diverse as The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and The Atlantic Monthly, these superb stories share Vonnegut’s audacious sense of humor and extraordinary range of creative vision.

Alternative cover edition here
Paperback, 331 pages
Published 2013 by Dial Press Trade Paperbacks (first published August 1968)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Welcome to the Monkey House, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Jeff Thomas I don't know. Some of the stories in "Welcome To The Monkey House" are good and some are just so so. I would probably recommend "Cat's Cradle" first, …moreI don't know. Some of the stories in "Welcome To The Monkey House" are good and some are just so so. I would probably recommend "Cat's Cradle" first, and then maybe "Slaughterhouse 5." But I think "Cat's Cradle" was probably my favorite so far, though I haven't read everything of his.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  53,795 ratings  ·  1,911 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Welcome to the Monkey House
Jul 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut is a collection of short stories from the 50s and 60s and demonstrates Vonnegut’s tremendous range as a writer.

I have read one critic who did not like Vonnegut, saying that all of his novels are essentially the same, with his voice and tone narrating each new set of facts. I agreed somewhat, but still liked the way he writes and have enjoyed every one of his works I have read.

The stories in this collection, however, written earlier than most of his
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american
A Compendium of Curmudgeonly Humour

Kurt Vonnegut is a curmudgeon. Curmudgeons are often misunderstood and taken for irascible pedants. On the contrary, they are anything but pedantic. Curmudgeons are introverts who are simply tired of adapting themselves to the demands of an extrovert world. They want to be left alone. Which is why they occasionally write or say nasty things to annoy people. The hope is that other people will then have something to talk about with each other and give the curmudg
Vit Babenco
May 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every epoch tells its stories its own way and Kurt Vonnegut managed to catch the spirit of the last midcentury perfectly…
The Year was 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else.

The absolute conformity is a paradise for politicians…
The tales may be mockingly dystopian, vaguely romantic or ju
Daniel Clausen
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-of-2018
This is a master class in the art of short story writing. Every short story is finely crafted. Many have humor, many have heartbreak, many have subtle romance.

Almost all have commentary on society, especially American society, that is as relevant today as it was in the 1950s.

What are these stories missing?

You reader. It's missing you to unlock their meaning and beauty.
Dec 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
The story is available to read online, courtesy of the Saturday Evening Post. Link in the Goodreads book details.

Susanna, a young and pretty bit-part actress, in town for the summer and working at the local theater, is in the small, local, drug store to pick up her morning paper and, by chance, she meets a local boy, Corporal Norman Fuller, just returned from the Korean War. That’s the setting, and what transpires between these two displays the genius of Kurt Vonnegut’s writing ability. You can
Jun 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
What is happiness? What is pleasure? Is happiness an emotion that endures, that has to be earned and pleasure a temporary reaction to something that makes you feel good.?

In this short story, radio waves from a distance star are picked up and amplified and the effect on people is much like good weed. Everyone hangs out feeling mellow, letting the little things go, a somewhat deviant idea of what is funny, great hilarity and general love. (view spoiler)
Brian Yahn
Sep 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Welcome to the Monkey House is the best collection of stories I've read.

Rating it accurately is as difficult as ever. Should it be based off of the best stories? Or all of them? I don't know.

What I do know is: Harrison Bergeron, Welcome to the Monkey House, Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, EPICAC, Where I Live, and The Euphio Question are some of the best shorts ever written.

Much like Vonnegut's other novels, they're strangely scientific with quirky characters, great dialogue, and plenty of c
Kaethe Douglas
Jun 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
1982 January 6
2014 October 3

Where I Live - Keenly observed. I wonder what an update would be like 50 years on?

Harrison Bergeron - This one has aged a bit, but it's still good.

Who Am I This Time? - I vividly recall the American Playhouse production with Susan Sarandon and Christopher Walken. Magic.

Welcome to the Monkey House - Likewise aged, not that there aren't people who would be delighted to see the sex drive killed for everyone else, but those people tend not to be in favor of birth control
Feb 19, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011, audio
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
Elyse  Walters
Apr 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This man was a genius!!!! And ---a loving Husband -father! One heck of a decent human being!!!

A few stories were soooooooooooooooooo good, that I was wishing I could 'go-back' and change a few things about my College days. I would have loved to be talking about this book in a College Class. I'm ready now!!!!!

I'm really happy I won this book. I could have missed it. THANK YOU --THANK YOU ---THANK YOU ---to whom ever 'picked' my name as a 'first read'.

I enjoyed reading other reviews --early this
Sep 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Steven Godin
Mar 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Found this online and was really impressed with it. I know there are people who just don't get on with short stories, but I think they're great - especially when one has little time to engage in a novel.
I don't know how highly regarded Vonnegut Jr is when it comes to short stories: when I think of Salinger, Yates, Hemingway, Carver, and Cheever being right up there with the best America has to offer, but I can say he was quality here. Hope to read his short story collection 'Welcome to the Monke
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Put it down for some time after the eponymous "Welcome to the Monkey House." I only speak for myself, but I'm tired of reading about rape, either as a plot device or metaphor. Especially since I read this just after "Sirens of Titan," in which Vonnegut also writes in a detached manner of a character's assault. The character Billy's explanation of his actions was condescending and objectifying, even saying his other victims were "grateful," and asserting Nancy's anger is not because of her violat ...more
Dec 26, 2016 added it
Shelves: reviewed
I spent over three months with this book, never reading more than one story per day. I have read selections of Vonnegut, including parts of Player Piano and "Harrison Bergeron," but this was my first cover-to-cover read. I love the guy. Something about his writing is so believable to me. I rarely have difficulty stepping into his POV.

Welcome to the Monkey House is a bit of a hodgepodge collection, jumping from sci-fi to articles suited for Ladies Home Journal. Some of the stories, naturally, are
Jan 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, short-story
"One foot in front of the other --- through leaves, over bridges---"

This is a short story about forbidden and true love, ardently written by Kurt Vonnegut. He has a way of showing intense emotions using simple words and repetitions. . . Oh my .. That ending ...
Mar 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Brett C
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dark-humor
I thought this was a solid collection of Kurt Vonnegut's earlier works. There is a variety of themes and genres. Black humor again is underlying throughout the book except for a few stories. There's science fiction, romance, and interpersonal dramas. Some of them involved military servicemen and possibly reflect the author's own time in the US Army. I listed a few of my favorites:

'Long Walk To Forever' (1960) was a shot at love centered around bad timing. I did not expect this and was pleasantly
Jim Fonseca
Oct 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
A varied and uneven collection of Vonnegut's short stories. Some read like Yankee Magazine or Saturday Even Post stories: boy home from WW II gets girl stories, or "hometown" stories of Barnstable, Massachusetts. Others, the better ones, play to Vonnegut's strengths, like the title work. These are science fiction with Big Themes like thought control, enforced birth control, a cemented-over world, weapons of mass destruction, and variations on Big Brother.
Peter Tillman
The standout story here is "Harrison Bergeron" (1961), which is a classic, 5-star story. It's available online at:
If you've somehow missed reading it, or it's been awhile, youre in for a treat.

Otherwise, it's a mixed bag of (mostly) 1950s stories. Most of them haven't aged well. Here are the better ones:
"Miss Temptation" (1956): a soldier comes back from the Korean War, and insults a pretty girl in his hometown. 3 stars.
"Tom Edison's Shaggy Dog" (1953):
Omar Alhashimi
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Vonnegut does it again.

This took me way longer than intended, probably due to the hectic nature of my first week back in uae. Nevertheless, I'm glad I read it.
I was never a big fan of a book of collection of short stories. Usually there would be a lot of hit and miss. With Welcome To The Monkey House however, literally every short story was memorable. Maybe one was mediocre, but all of the rest were so good. I can't stress enough how each individual short story was able to stand on its own, an
May 舞
Feb 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Where I Live - 3 stars
Harrison Bergeron - 3 stars
Who Am I This Time? - 2 stars
Welcome to the Monkey House - 1 star
Long Walk to Forever - 5 stars
The Foster Portfolio - 3 stars
Miss Temptation - 5 stars
All the King's Horses - 4 stars
Tom Edison's Shaggy Dog - 3 stars
New Dictionary - 4 stars
Next Door - 5 stars
More Stately Mansions - 4 stars
The Hyannis Port Story - 5 stars
D.P. - 5 stars
Report on the Barnhouse Effect - 5 stars
The Euphio Question - 5 stars
Go Back to Your Precious Wife and Son - 4 stars
Sep 03, 2016 rated it liked it
This was a nice collection of short stories dwelling on a lot of different themes added with Vonnegut's personal view which is evident in them. Although most of the stories were quite good, I found myself enjoying those who were practically SF the most, which is were at least by my opinion Vonnegut is in his best.
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
I simply love, love, love, LOVE Kurt Vonnegut! He's hilarious, intelligent, and entertaining-and this collection of short stories is one of the finest ever written! While some of the stories aren't necessarily "classic Vonnegut" and a couple of them aren't particularly memorable, this collection is still worth reading in its entirety. It was a really fun read for me, especially because Vonnegut is so funny. Not all of the stories are extremely hilarious, a couple of them are actually really emot ...more
Aug 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Sep 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-lit
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
David (דוד)
25 Stories. Average rating: 3.32

Interesting stories. Mostly General fiction, while some are SF. Good language and writing style. Most of the stories were however either just good [3-stars (13 stories)] or okay [2-stars (4 stories)]. Seven stories though, very much stood out for me.

Who Am I This Time : When a characterless actor plays a character with extreme intensity in the theater, he finds a woman falling in love with these characters. Thinking what its advantages are, by the en
Cathi Davis
Jul 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
What's Your Favorite Short Story/The Best Short Story You've Ever Read 26 447 Jul 29, 2019 05:13PM  
Vonnegut short story 2 36 Sep 23, 2013 11:00PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle (Modern Critical Interpretations)
  • SPAM
  • Let Those Who Would
  • Your Rover is Here
  • A Kiss With Teeth
  • Tideline
  • Staying Behind
  • The Barnhouse Effect
  • Latinx Rising: An Anthology of Latinx Science Fiction and Fantasy
  • Recitatif
  • The Nine Curves River
  • As Worlds Collide
  • Pockets
  • End Game
  • The House on the Moon
See similar books…
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

Related Articles

You might know comedian Colin Jost from his work as the co-anchor of Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update, or perhaps you know him as Scarlett...
118 likes · 46 comments
“A sane person to an insane society must appear insane.” 843 likes
“I wish you'd help me look into a more interesting problem - namely, my sanity.” 77 likes
More quotes…