(Book Review) Welcome to the Monkey House
I have been a writer since 1949. I am self-taught. I have no theories about writing that might help others. When I write, I simply become what I seemingly must become. I am six feet two and weigh nearly two hundred pounds and am badly coordinated, except when I swim. All that borrowed meat does the writing.
Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut is a collection of 25 short stories all written between the 50s and 60s. Vonnegut is well known for his mastery of satire and black humor which his displays in his novels mostly in the Sci-Fi genre. It is easy to find the same humor here, however, it is present on a wide range of stories, from simple fiction to love stories.
Each short story is around 10 pages long, and the book is best suited to be read in small amounts. I can say that I enjoyed most of the stories present in it, with a few rare exceptions, but there are some of them that, in my opinion, really stand out as hidden gems.
The best known short story in the collection is Harrison Bergeron, which I have talked about in this post, and it is one that you really should read. Other than that, here are what I consider to be the best 5 short stories from the book:
- A Long Walk to Forever: a simply written romantic short story about Vonnegut and his future wife. Not really what I was expecting from this book, but it was a pleasant surprise.
- The Euphio Question: A scientist discovers how to access instant happiness, the results are not what he was expecting. I really liked the ending of these one.
- The Manned Missiles: The fathers of two recently deceased astronauts write letters to each other to discuss the nature of their dead.
- Tom Edison's Shaggy Dog: Here is what you should do when a stranger just keeps talking to you in a public place.
- All The King's Horses: A Colonel has to risk the life of his soldiers and family in a game of chess that requires him to make a great sacrifice.
If you haven't read any of Vonnegut's novels before, I believe this book can be a good introduction into his works. You can find the rest of my reviews here. Coil subscribers can find some of my favorite quotes below:
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