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Look at the Birdie: Unpublished Short Fiction

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  5,823 Ratings  ·  506 Reviews
Look at the Birdie is a collection of fourteen previously unpublished short stories from one of the most original writers in all of American fiction. In this series of perfectly rendered vignettes, written just as he was starting to find his comic voice, Kurt Vonnegut paints a warm, wise, and funny portrait of life in post—World War II America–a world where squabbling coup ...more
Hardcover, 251 pages
Published October 20th 2009 by Delacorte Press (first published 2009)
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Dec 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Kurt Vonnegut has always been one of my favorite authors; he was one of the very first writers that was able to change the way I think. I had always loved books, but after my first encounter with KV in high school, I amazingly realized what a novel could actually do. But it's more than than that. Vonnegut has always reminded me of my grandpa, though thinking about it, I'm not really sure why. The only things I know of that they had in common were their age, WWII, and Pall Mall cigarettes.


Put that on repeat 13 more times - for all the 14 short stories in this compilation.

Like I said in my only status update while reading this, it seems unbelievable that these stories, written in the early part of Vonnegut's career, never saw the light of day until two years after his death. This is the second such compilation of short fiction by him published posthumously (four have been released till date, the first being 'Armageddon in Retrospect').

I happened to read somewhere t
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
فضای فانتزی و ترکیب اتفاقای فانتزی با واقعیش رو خیلی دوست داشتم.
و معنای پشت هر داستان، که نشون میداد داستانها، صرفن جالب نیستن و پشتشون فکر و انتقاد هم هست!

ترجمهش یکخورده خندهدار و مسخره بود البته، ولی قابل چشمپوشی! (اکثر چیزا قابل چشمپوشی ان)
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dio la benedica, Mr. Vonnegut

La sua prima regola era: “Non sprecare il tempo del lettore”, e già dall’esordio letterario (questi sono i primi racconti che ha scritto) Vonnegut la rispetta in pieno. 14 racconti caratterizzati dall’essenzialità e dall’immediatezza, oltre che dall’ironia dissacrante; quello di Vonnegut è uno sguardo stralunato, ironico, ma acuto, che rivela sensibilità e grande umanità, uno sguardo che trasforma in letteratura le nostre piccolezze (meschinità, vizi, paure, manie, f
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
بعضى داستاناش خيلى عالى بود
از لبخندى كه بعد از خوندنشون ميزدم ، متوجه ميشدم كه خوب بوده :)
Jul 24, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Arghavan by: Shek8fe
شاید خیلی انتظارم بالا بوده ازش؛ ولی صرفاً «خوب» بود؛ نه بیشتر.
داستانها «:}»طور بودن. خلاقانه بودن خیلی. غیرمتعارف و بامزه بودن. ولی نه بیشتر از این. :-؟
Mar 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Reading an author’s posthumous, previously unpublished work never sits completely right for me. In almost any forward of a deceased author’s “uncovered work” you can find someone vouching for the guy (or gal) as being a real stickler for editing, a tireless craftsman, someone who always wanted to get each turn of phrase just right. And I get that. It really resonates. Anyone who has ever written anything would be mortified to have an unprepared version of it sent out to an audience of strangers, ...more
William Thomas
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
When I was 16 and started working my way through the Vonnegut library, the man could do no wrong. That is, until I turned 22 and read Jailbird. What an awful piece of shit that book turned out to be.

And now that I've read all of his major and minor works, save some of his post-Timequake work, I can stand back and analyze it without being so starry-eyed as I was in younger years. Even though he was my first literary love, and will always be number one in my heart, I can honestly say that these w
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
so, so brilliant.

i can't tell you how happy this book made me! i got it for christmas from a friend and i don't know if he got it randomly or he really knows me, cause it was filled with short stories with happy endings. aka my absolute favorite kind of stories.

i can't tell you how many times i smiled or laughed- i'm truly upset that i'm done!!!

if anyone knows any other books similar to this one, please feel freeeee to let me know of them :)
Sep 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Two or three brilliant stories, a few sharp one-liners, and the rest is quite mediocre, not up to Vonnegut's usual standards. I can see why this stuff hasn't been published before.
Missy (myweereads)
“Do we all have to bleed, before we can believe each other?”

Look At The Birdie by Kurt Vonnegut is a collection of short stories from his earlier career. Previously unpublished, they showcase his unique skills readers have come to love.

The subject matter vary from good versus evil, science fiction, human nature, social influence and many others. This was my first read by Vonnegut therefore I had no idea what to expect.

Instantly the first story pulled at my heart strings and left me shocked. The
Dec 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I have been a Vonnegut fan for years, and just recently received and read this collection of his earlier short stories. And though the San Francisco Chronicle commented that "it seems Vonnegut is working out the kinks in these early attempts," quite frankly, I think it may be my favorite Vonnegut work, and to think it went unpublished for so long is astonishing. Unlike many of his stories, which I find well-written, ironic, hilarious, and cynical, this piece is well-written, ironic, hilarious... ...more
Erik Ferguson
Feb 07, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: short-stories
I'll try to avoid spending too much time dwelling on what's already been said about how amazing it is to read for the first time this collection of stories written while Vonnegut was still working for GE. But for just one small point: it is, in fact, important to note that the raw materials with which Vonnegut worked throughout his career -- especially the elements of disillusionment with larger Systems of which his characters find themselves a part; and, unfortunately, themes of some distortion ...more
Derek Baldwin
Jul 28, 2011 rated it liked it
The 3 stars, if I am honest, are padded out with sentiment. Am and always have been a massive fan of Kurt Vonnegut but seldom enjoy reading short stories. Some of his, in Welcome To The Monkeyhouse for instance, are fine...but I think there were probably sound reasons why these ones were "previously unpublished..."

One clue might be the reproduction of a letter from Kurt to a friend written in the 1950s which prefaces the stories. The gist of what he says is "I write because it earns me and my a
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
El problema con el material inédito aparece en el mismo nombre: No está editado. Se nota que a muchos de los cuentos que integran este libro les hace falta pulimiento, o desarrollar más la idea, o lo que ustedes quieran...

¡...Pero es Vonnegut! Tal vez nomás a mí me pase, pero no puedo evitar leer su obra con esta cara: :') Incluso el cuento más débil que integra al libro ("The Petrified Ants") te hace sonreir, a pesar de que si lo vemos objetivamente nomás está tirándole caca al estalinismo en n
Dec 02, 2009 rated it liked it
As with most collections of short stories, there is good and there is bad. But one of the many reasons why Kurt Vonnegut was so brilliant can be showcased perfectly by this little gem of an opening paragraph:

I was sitting in a bar one night, talking rather loudly about a person I hated – and a man with a beard sat down beside me, and he said amiably, “Why don’t you have him killed?”

And that's all I need.
Maxwell Pollack
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Look at the Birdie is a great book. Most of the short stories I've read have been Horror, standard campfire fare, and it was refreshing to read something like this. Kurt Vonnegut knows exactly what he's doing, he leads the reader with cautious poise through his strangest imaginings, through warped mirrors into worlds that are subtly perverted versions of our own.
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Some hits. Some Misses.

Favs: Ed Luby's Key Club, The Honor of a Newsboy and King and Queen of the Universe.
Mar 23, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is inevitable that when an author of Kurt Vonnegut's stature passes away, every scrap attributable to him will be pulled from the back of the pantry for consumption by an insatiable public. We can forgive the impulse to want more from a wellspring which has been so deeply nourishing. But our hunger is rarely satisfied by the leftovers, and "Look at the Birdie" is no exception.

The New York Times Book Review is quoted, on the front page, as follows: "Why these stories went unpublished is hard t
Oct 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Sometimes you wish families wouldn't release writers' work posthumously, but in this case, it was a beautiful thing to do.
Here's a collection of short stories from "Early Kurt." Nothing is told in first person, and the familiar voice of his well-known books is barely there. But if you know his work you'll spot a few things: the unmistakable "um" given as a response by a character to ominously dumb statements (at least three times in this collection). The surprising absence of profanity (Vonnegu
Derek Wolfgram
Nov 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
There was an article in the Washington Post a couple weeks ago about the estates of prominent authors (in this case, Douglas Adams, A.A. Milne, and Bram Stoker) hiring folks to write "authorized" sequels. God help us if Vonnegut's estate ever follows this path.

That being said, how can the world not be made a better place by the publication of more Vonnegut? His incredible wit, intense humanism, and insight into the human character were unparalleled. Chan
Mar 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Vonnegut has a very surreal way of writing about what might be otherwise-normal situations; there's always an element of "Where did THAT come from? Seriously?" in each of his stories, but it seems to make perfect sense, in the end. After reading a book of his, I feel disappointed picking up almost any other book for a while. Shirley Jackson's another author who has this effect on my reading habits.

Regarding this book, specifically, it's absolutely perfect for waiting rooms - each story took me a
Apr 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
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. They are polished and fun to read; every last one of them comes to a neat and satisfying
Feb 11, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a huge Kurt Vonnegut fan, so I approached “Look at the Birdie” with a little trepidation as I am not a fan of the genre of short story, and Vonnegut’s short stories are always hit or miss for me. And these 14 stories were unpublished in his lifetime. I assume for a reason? Most were written for magazine literary submissions. I am happy to report that “Look at the Birdie” was an enjoyable read for me, and I do feel that the collection merited publication.
The first two stories “Confido” and “
Mar 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: appreciators of fine short stories/vonnegut
god i miss this man. just knowing he's not in the world anymore makes me sad. this collection, like the rest of his work, is extremely good, while being, i thought, quite unlike the rest of his work in many subtle ways. the black humor is there, the cutting insight on civilization and human nature is sharp as ever, and the thread of compassion that is his trademark runs, of course, through every story. but these stories are simpler than those he's well known for, and tend more towards the optimi ...more
Aug 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kurt-vonnegut
"Виж пилето" е една много интересна подборка от къси разкази, писани от Вонегът далеч преди да напише дори първия си роман. Стилът му също е далеч от себе си. Много от разказите зглеждат някак непълни и недовършени. Определено това е книга само за Вонегът-маниаци. И определено тя ще им се хареса много! Както се хареса и на мен. Има някакво странно и сладко очарование, в това да четеш любимия си автор, все още търсещ себе си, избистрящ поривите и терзанията си, почистващ праха и листата, постилащ ...more
John Lucy
Sep 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
The editor and most of the reviewers all agree that they don't understand why these short stories of Vonnegut went unpublished. Obviously the editor would think that, and obviously the publisher wouldn't include reviews that blasted the stories, but still, I think it's clear why these stories went unpublished. They're not all that great. Good enough to read if you like Vonnegut or if you have nothing else to read.

You can see the buds of Vonnegut's future blossomed career. Hardly any of these st
Dec 31, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Keith by: Mike Wertheim
This was my introduction to Vonnegut, and I'd say it was a good one. I've read quite a bit of 20th century short fiction, so it's hard to surprise me since the genre is given to certain formulaic tropes, but this one managed to do so if for no other reason that the twist at the end of several stories went in a completely different direction than I expected. I suppose this is a hallmark of what people call Vonnegut's inimitable style.

It's hard to really pick favorites here, as the quality of the
Mar 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short, compilation
A posthumous collection of short stories by a master of the form, this book is at worst a collection of solid B-sides from your favorite band. I can't help but feel Kurt wouldn't have published these himself, striving for perfection as he did, but I'm plenty thankful to have them.

If I had to call out weak pieces, they would be 'Shout it from the Housetops' and 'Hall of Mirrors'- that still leaves you with 12 stories ranging from good to incredible in this compact volume.

Reading 'Ed Luby's Key Cl
Jan 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
My first thought at buying this book was "there's a reason Vonnegut never published these stories." But I talked myself into buying the book. I should have stuck with that first thought.

I didn't hate this collection of short stories. I didn't hate even a single story. But they certainly lacked the normal Vonnegut oomph. There really wasn't a memorable story in here. The original Vonnegut drawings included in the collection were just as interesting, if not more interesting, than the stories thems
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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
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“The Summer had died peacefully in its sleep, and Autumn, as soft-spoken executrix, was locking life up safely until Spring came to claim it.” 9 likes
“He became fubar in the classic way, which is to say that he was the victim of a temporary arrangement that became permanent.” 7 likes
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