ELIZABETH AND HER GERMAN GARDEN (1898)
Though called a novel, this work is probably mainly autobiographical. It tells about an Englishwoman married to a German count and how she finds delight in a garden.
16 September 1998
ENCHANTED APRIL (1922)
This is a delightful novel about two married English women who decide to rent a castle in Italy for a month, in order to get away from their husbands and responsibilities for a while. They are obliged to accept two more women at the castle, and the husbands turn up, after all, but the effect is a sunny, charming, witty novel. Its plot is fairly predictable, but the author's originality saves the story from being "ordinary." It was made into an excellent movie, too.
18 March 2004
ARMAGEDDON IN RETROSPECT AND OTHER NEW AND UNPUBLISHED WRITINGS ON WAR AND PEACE (2008)
This brief collection of assorted Vonnegut works was published posthumously, with an introduction by the author's son Mark Vonnegut.
The works include a letter to his family written shortly after his release from a World War 2 POW camp, telling about the bombing of Dresden--which eventually became the topic for his celebrated novel Slaughterhouse-Five.
In some of the pieces he sounds almost preachy and shrill, but that is the only objection I can think of to make about this valuable addition to the Vonnegut collection. And some people can get away with sounding almost preachy and shrill now and then. He's one of them.
10 October 2010
BAGOMBO SNUFF BOX: UNCOLLECTED SHORT FICTION (1999)
This is a collection of a few very short stories, originally published in Collier's, Redbook, Cosmopolitan, and other periodicals in the 1950s. The stories are formulaic and slight, for the most part, but interesting nonetheless.
5 December 2003
MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY (2005)
Vonnegut appears to have written this short collection of very short pieces when he was 82. The Vonnegut bite is still there.
Unfortunately, a glance at http://www.vonnegut.com/ reveals that the author's heirs are doing quite a business selling a Vonnegut sculpture in a limited edition (called 'Waspwaist") for $9,000 apiece, T shirts with Vonnegut references on them, and silkscreen prints in limited editions at $375 each.
It's unfortunate when a good writer is being turned into a cult and an industry.
23 July 2008
WELCOME TO THE MONKEY HOUSE (1968)
A collection of Vonnegut's short stories (1950-1968). Many of them, like "Harrison Bergeron," are predictable and slight, and a reader might finish this book with the strong conviction that Vonnegut is much better at novels than short stories.
The final story may be the most memorable--"Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow," which shows a future where people can live as long as they want. The story focuses on one family, where Gramps, the oldest, is able to order everyone else around, and the rest of the family must sleep in the hall while Gramps has the only bedroom and bed. The story amounts to a chilling caution about the consequences of overpopulation in the world.
8 October 2006