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Since its original publication in 1968 Welcome to the Monkey House has been one of Kurt Vonnegut's most beloved works This special edition celebrates a true master of the short story form by including multiple variant drafts of what would eventually be the title story In a fascinating accompanying essay Building the Monkey House At Kurt Vonnegut's Writing Table noted Vonnegut scholar Gregory D Sumner walks readers through Vonnegut's process as he struggles—false start after false start—to hit upon what would be one of his greatest stories The result is the rare chance to watch a great writer hone his craft in real time

10 thoughts on “Building the Monkey House

  1. says:

    This is the type of book I'd recommend to someone I love not because it's romantic in any way or form but because it's simply put exceptional Possibly the greatest set of short stories by Vonnegut

  2. says:

    As always splendid work from one of my favorite authors I'm glad there's still to gobble up This edition was great that it provided a special reader walkthrough from a noted Vonnegut scholar who showed us the many ideas and revisions made to just one of Vonnegut's many short stories

  3. says:

    Building the Monkey House provides wonderful insight into Vonnegut's process and is precious to writers and Vonnegut lovers The stories got better throughout the book though I found the middle lagged a bit They are mostly from the 1950s so another fascinating look into his growth as an author It's also fun to see little seeds of future characters plots locations etc that fill out his oeuvre

  4. says:

    Building the Monkey House is an essay rather than the 384 page book of stories entitled Welcome to the Monkey House I enjoyed the criticism and the peek into the progression of writing the stories in the collection it critiues Any Vonnegut fan who also enjoys how writing is accomplished will enjoy this essay

  5. says:

    Vonnegut is a great writer and there are a few gems in this collection but the vast majority are only so so The Euphio uestion The Foster Portfolio and Epicac are the highlights for me and ones I would recommend to others

  6. says:

    There were an alarming number of typos but a comforting number of likable relatable characters

  7. says:

    Wonderfully world building the stories in this collection are varied and thoughtful and as clever as they are entertaining While I'd only read Vonnegut's longer prose pieces in the past this collection contains what are now some of my favorite short stories and I'll now think of this wonderful work first when I think of Vonnegut With sympathetic characters graceful trajectories and fascinating premises the stories here are simply unforgettable and I've no doubt that I'll be passing this collection on to anyone interested in short stories as well as sharing some of the stories with my writing studentsTo my mind my favorites will likely remain Who Am I This Time? The Euphio uestion and The Kid Nobody Could Handle but there are too many great stories here to list each one Additionally for writers the ending essay on Welcome to the Monkey House is a fascinating look at Vonnegut's journey toward producing what is now one of his most widely known stories Discussing numerous and wildly changing drafts Gregory D Sumner discusses Vonnegut's methods of world building and writing including numerous excerpts from various drafts While this essay might not be of interest to every reader it will absolutely be of interest to Vonnegut lovers and writersOn the whole this is a marvelous book If you like short stories OR Vonnegut's other works it's well worth the read and now takes the place as my favorite work by VonnegutRecommended of course Also this book was received through the GoodReads First Reader Program and I'm incredibly thankful for the gift though I would have sought this book out regardless

  8. says:

    I received this book through Goodreads First Reads This is a special edition of Kurt Vonnegut's short stories and a great tribute to the author's talent and influence on the literary world Out of the 25 stories I considered 22 awesome as in I would definitely shelve them for later reading Gregory Sumner's addition at the end gives the reader a firsthand glimpse into the evolution of Welcome to the Monkey House It was really fascinating being able to read what would become one of Vonnegut's most successful short stories By reading draft after draft you can't help but be amazed at the transformation finding the perfect title developing the right character profiles and honing in on necessary details The first draft was a different story in itself and empty; it was very rough Sumner allows the reader to observe how Vonnegut experienced the writing process and Sumner fills in the gaps by commenting on why Vonnegut crossed so and so out and how Vonnegut was hoping so and so would resolve I was fortunate enough to win such a noteworthy collection of works

  9. says:

    I'm such a huge Kurt Vonnegut fan I was exposed to Slaughterhouse Five in college and I was immediately drawn to Vonnegut's sense of humor and also his ability to hit you straight in the gut and cause you to have all the feels I couldn't believe someone who drew crude illustrations in his book had a character named Trout and a very sarcastic sense of humor could be so revered as an author I was always taught that your writing had to be serious fluid with no humor and no illustrations that is if you wanted to be taken seriously It was liberating when I first saw a drawing of an asshole in one of Kurt Vonnegut's book I remember looking at it and once I finished laughing hysterically said to myself You can DO THAT as an author? Yes yes you can and Kurt did it the very best So now whenever I'm hesitant about including humor in my writing I think about Kurt Vonnegut and put the humor in

  10. says:

    I received this copy through a First Reads GiveawayThis particular collection offers interesting insight into the creative process of Kurt Vonnegut The additional appendix looks at the creations of the title story and all it's fluctuations until it reaches its current form The essay on the context and creation of the piece is fascinating Vonnegut's stories are also a great read especially the classic Harrison Bergeron He also has some good entertaining yarns stories you'd imagine as scripts for The Twilight Zone or Alfred Hitcock Presents For example All the King's Horses takes the premise of human chess to the death and makes it a tense read