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BAGOMBO SNUFF BOX: UNCOLLECTED SHORT FICTION

Kurt Vonnegut

8,546 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0399145052 / ISBN 13: 9780399145056
Published by Putnam Adult, US, 1999
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Atlanta Vintage Books (Atlanta, GA, U.S.A.)

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Quantity Available: 1

About this Item

First Edition. First Printing. Signed by author on title page. Pages are clean, no markings from previous owners. Boards are clean. Binding is tight. Dust jacket is clean and bright, and in a protective mylar jacket. Bookseller Inventory # 11236

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Bibliographic Details

Title: BAGOMBO SNUFF BOX: UNCOLLECTED SHORT FICTION

Publisher: Putnam Adult, US

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First Edition.

About this title

Synopsis:

Vintage Vonnegut--two dozen stories never collected before.

Before the Golden Age of magazines drew to a close half a century ago--soon to be beaten at the entertainment game by the new little boxes with moving images that were finding their way into the homes of more and more Americans--a young PR man at General Electric sold his first short story to one of the doomed publications. By the time he'd sold his third, he decided to quit GE and join the likes of Hemingway and Fitzgerald and Faulkner, and try to make a living at fifteen hundred dollars a pop. With four major magazines running five stories each week and smaller ones scouting as well, it was a seller's market, and Kurt Vonnegut was delighted--and comfortable--being published regularly by The Saturday Evening Post, Collier's, Argosy, and others.

For this unusual collection, Vonnegut has selected twenty-four of his favorite stories never published before in book form and has written a new preface for the occasion. Vonnegut scholar Peter Reed, who unearthed the old publications, contributes an introduction.

Now readers can relive the genesis of a master. Stories such as "Any Reasonable Offer," "The Powder Blue Dragon," "Hal Irwin's Magic Lamp," and "Lovers Anonymous" bring us to the beginning of a literary voice that is sure to last forever. Bagombo Snuff Box, the missing pieces of the master's oeuvre, is a ready-made classic for Vonnegut fans new and old.

Review:

From out of the blue, here's a new collection of Vonnegut fiction--his first magazine stories from the 1950s in book form at last, with some charming reminiscences (and three new endings for old stories) by the author. Vonnegut says these tales were meant to be as evanescent as lightening bugs, and that image captures their frail magic. They're like time travelers from an epoch when stories swarmed in mass-market magazines, before TV dawned and doomed them.

Later greatness glimmers here: the offbeat sci-fi of "Thanasphere" (in which an astronaut encounters dead souls in space) and the hero's bogus adventures in alien lands in "Bagombo Snuff Box" look forward to Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five, as do the war stories "Souvenir," "Der Arme Dolmetscher," and "The Cruise of The Jolly Roger," which incorporate and amplify Vonnegut's actual war experiences. There's authentic midcentury news here, even in the gentle Saturday Evening Post social satire of "The No-Talent Kid," "Ambitious Sophomore," and "The Boy Who Hated Girls," which pretty much nail the high-school marching band experience. The pieces are peppered with odd, true observations and neat little turns of phrase: one incompetent kid in Lincoln High's band marches "flappingly, like a mother flamingo pretending to be injured, luring alligators from her nest."

You can't miss the ironic humor and the humane, death-haunted melancholy of the young war veteran and tyro writer. This collection beats his first novel, Player Piano, and anticipates the masterpiece Cat's Cradle, whose tiny chapters resemble short stories. Young Vonnegut is derivative, mostly of Saki and O. Henry, partly because he couldn't think of endings, and their switcheroos offered a handy model. But from the start, Vonnegut's idiosyncratic voice is unmistakable. --Tim Appelo

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