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Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction

Vonnegut, Kurt

ISBN 10: 0399145052 / ISBN 13: 9780399145056
Published by Putnam Adult, 1999
Used Condition: Very Fine Hardcover
From Wayward Books (South dartmouth, MA, U.S.A.)

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Like New! Protected in mylar. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 019204

Bibliographic Details

Title: Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction

Publisher: Putnam Adult

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Very Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Fine

Edition: First Edition.

About this title

Synopsis:

New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1999. First Edition, "California Set-Aside". Signed by Vonnegut. Octavo, 295 pp. Crisp, bright, As-New book & jacket copy of a special set: one of 100 copies of the first edition signed and set aside for California friends of the author, so stated on a set-plate on the ffep (see scan). Bagombo Snuff box is Vonnegut's own selection of twenty-three of his favorite stories never published before in book form, with his 11 page introduction and a 7 page coda in which he recounts his life as an author for periodicals. Preface by Peter Reed, a noted Vonnegut scholar. Includes a number of very early stories from the fifties written for Cosmopolitan and The Saturday Evening Post, including the 1954 title story, as well as several from 1999. A pristine collectible, scarce with the signature and downright rare as one of the "California set-aside", of which there were but 100. L27

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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