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Welcome to the Monkey House (English Edition)
 
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Welcome to the Monkey House (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Kurt Vonnegut
3.5 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)

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Descriptions du produit

Extrait

Where I Live

Not very long ago, an encyclopedia salesman stopped by America's oldest library building, which is the lovely Sturgis Library in Barnstable Village, on Cape Cod's north shore. And he pointed out to the easily alarmed librarian that the library's most recent general reference work was a 1938 Britannica, backstopped by a 1910 Americana. He said many important things had happened since 1938, naming, among others, penicillin and Hitler's invasion of Poland.

He was advised to take his astonishment to some of the library's directors. He was given their names and addresses. There was a Cabot on the list--and a Lowell and a Kittredge, and some others. The librarian told him that he had a chance of catching several directors all at once, if he would go to the Barnstable Yacht Club. So he went down the narrow yacht club road, nearly broke his neck as he hit a series of terrific bumps put in the road to discourage speeders, to kill them, if possible.

He wanted a martini, wondered if a nonmember could get service at the bar. He was appalled to discover that the club was nothing but a shack fourteen feet wide and thirty feet long, a touch of the Ozarks in Massachusetts. It contained an hilariously warped ping-pong table, a wire lost-and-found basket with sandy, fragrant contents, and an upright piano that had been under a leak in the roof for years.

There wasn't any bar, any telephone, any electricity. There weren't any members there, either. To cap it all, there wasn't a drop of water in the harbor. The tide, which can be as great as fourteen feet, was utterly out. And the so-called yachts, antique wooden Rhodes 18's, Bettlecats, and a couple of Boston Whalers, were resting on the bluish-brown glurp of the emptied harbor's floor. Clouds of gulls and terns were yelling about all that glurp, and about all the good things in it they were finding to eat.

A few men were out there, too, digging clams as fat as partridges from the rim of Sandy Neck, the ten-mile-long sand finger that separates the harbor from the ice-cold bay. And ducks and geese and herons and other waterfowl were out there, too, teemingly, in the great salt marsh that bounds the harbor on the west. And, near the harbor's narrow mouth, a yawl from Marblehead with a six-foot keel lay on her side, waiting for the water to come back in again. She should never have come to Barnstable Village, not with a keel like that.

The salesman, very depressed, insensitive to the barbarous beauty all around him, went to lunch. Since he was in the seat of the most booming county in New England, Barnstable County, and since the boom was a tourist boom, he had reason to expect something mildly voluptuous in the way of a place to eat. What he had to settle for, though, was a chromium stool at a Formica counter in an aggressively un-cute, un-colonial institution called the Barnstable News Store, another Ozarks touch, an Ozarks department store. The motto of the place: "If it's any good, we've got it. If it's no good, we've sold it."

After lunch, he went trustee-hunting again, was told to try the village museum, which is in the old brick Customs House. The building itself is a memorial to long-gone days when the harbor was used by fair-sized ships, before it filled up with all that bluish-brown glurp. There was no trustee there, and the exhibits were excruciatingly boring. The salesman found himself strangling on apathy, an affliction epidemic among casual visitors to Barnstable Village.

He took the customary cure, which was to jump into his car and roar off toward the cocktail lounges, motor courts, bowling alleys, gift shops, and pizzerias of Hyannis, the commercial heart of Cape Cod. He there worked off his frustrations on a miniature golf course called Playland. At that time, that particular course had a pathetic, maddening feature typical of the random butchery of the Cape's south shore. The course was built on the lawn of what had once been an American Legion Post—and, right in the middle of the cunning little bridges and granulated cork fairways was a Sherman tank, set there in simpler and less enterprising days as a memorial to the veterans of World War Two.

The memorial has since been moved, but it is still on the south side, where it is bound to be engulfed by indignities again.

The dignity of the tank would be a lot safer in Barnstable Village, but the village would never accept it. It has a policy of never accepting anything. As a happy consequence, it changes about as fast as the rules of chess.

The biggest change in recent years has taken place at the polls. Until six years ago, the Democratic poll watchers and the Republican poll watchers were all Republicans. Now the Democratic poll watchers are Democrats. The consequences of this revolution have not been nearly as awful as expected—so far.

Another break with the past has to do with the treasury of the local amateur theatrical society, the Barnstable Comedy Club. The club had a treasurer who, once a month for thirty years, angrily refused to say what the balance was, for fear that the club would spend it foolishly. He resigned last year. The new treasurer announced a balance of four hundred dollars and some odd cents, and the membership blew it all on a new curtain the color of spoiled salmon. This ptomaine curtain, incidentally, made its debut during a production of The Caine Mutiny Court Martial in which Captain Queeg did not nervously rattle steel balls in his hand. The balls were eliminated on the theory that they were suggestive.

Another big change took place about sixty years ago, when it was discovered that tuna were good to eat. Barnstable fishermen used to call them "horse mackerel," and curse whenever they caught one. Still cursing, they would chop it up and throw it back into the bay as a warning to other horse mackerel. Out of courage or plain stupidity, the tuna did not go away, and now make possible a post-Labor Day festival called the Barnstable Tuna Derby. Sportsmen with reels as big as courthouse clocks come from all over the Eastern seaboard for the event, the villagers are always mystified as to what brought them. And nobody ever catches anything.

Another discovery that still lies in the future for the villagers to make and to learn to live with is that mussels can be eaten without causing instant death. Barnstable Harbor is in places clogged with them. They are never disturbed. One reason for their being ignored, perhaps, is that the harbor abounds in two other delicacies far simpler to prepare—striped bass and clams. To get clams, one can scratch almost anywhere when the tide is out. To get bass, one follows the birds, looks for cone-shaped formations of them, casts his lure to the place where the cone points. Bass will be feeding there.

As for what else the future holds: Few Cape villages have much chance of coming through the present greedy, tasteless boom with their souls intact. H. L. Mencken once said something to the effect that "Nobody ever went broke overestimating the vulgarity of the American people," and fortunes now being made out of the vulgarization of the Cape surely bear this out. The soul of Barnstable Village just might survive.

For one thing, it is not a hollow village, with everything for rent, with half of the houses empty in the winter. Most of the people live there all year round, and most of them aren't old, and most of them work—as carpenters, salesmen, masons, architects, teachers, writers, and what have you. It is a classless society, a sometimes affectionate and sentimental one.

And these full houses, often riddled by termites and dry rot, but good, probably, for a few hundred years more, have been built chockablock along Main Street since the end of the Civil War. Developers find very little room in which to work their pious depredations. There is a seeming vast green meadow to the west, but this is salt marsh, the bluish-brown glurp capped by a mat of salt hay. It was this natural hay, by the way, that tempted settlers down from Plymouth in 1639. The marsh, laced by deep creeks that can be explored by small boats, can never be built upon by anyone sane. It goes underwater at every moon tide, and is capable of supporting a man and his dog, and not much more.

Speculators and developers got very excited for a while about the possibility of improving Sandy Neck, the long, slender barrier of spectacular dunes that bounds the harbor on the north. There are grotesque forests of dead trees out there, trees suffocated by sand, then unburied again. And the outer beach, for all practical purposes infinite, puts the beach of Acapulco to shame. Surprisingly, too, fresh water can be had out there from quite shallow wells. But the local government, thank God, is buying up all of Sandy Neck but the tip, at the harbor mouth, and is making it a public park to be kept unimproved forever.

There is a tiny settlement on the tip of the neck, the tip that the government is not taking over. It is clustered around the abandoned lighthouse, a lighthouse that was once needed when there was water enough around to let big ships come and go. The bleached and tacky settlement can be reached only by boat or beach buggy. There is no electricity there, no telephone. It is a private resort. Less than a mile from Barnstable Village, the tip of the neck is where many villagers go when they need a vacation.

And all of the anachronistic, mildly xenophobic, charming queerness of Barnstable Village might entitle it to the epithet, "Last Stronghold of the True Cape Codders," if it weren't for one thing: Hardly anyone in the village was born on Cape Cod. Just as petrified wood is formed by minerals slowly replacing organic materials, so has the present-day petrified Barnstable been formed by persons from Evanston and Louisville and Boston and Pittsburgh and God-only-knows-where-else, slowly replacing authentic rural Yankees.

If the real Cape Codders could rise from their churchyard graves, cast aside their beautifully lettered slate headstones, and attend a meeting...

Revue de presse

“He strips the flesh from bone and makes you laugh while he does it. . . . There are twenty-five stories here, and each hits a nerve ending.”—Charlotte Observer
 
“Vonnegut is George Orwell, Dr. Caligari and Flash Gordon compounded into one writer . . . a zany but moral mad scientist.”—Time

“A great artist.”—Cincinnati Enquirer

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1193 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 354 pages
  • Editeur : RosettaBooks (22 août 2011)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B005IQYGW4
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 3.5 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°67.824 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A collection of short stories from various sources 13 février 2014
Par bernie
Format:Relié
This book is a collection of 25 short stories. They are simple but you can if you want read great depth in them. These stories would make good starters for a reading group or circle. They are professional but not extraordinary or unique.

"The year was 2081, and everyone was finally equal. They weren't only equal before God and the law. They were equal in every way."

I bought this book for one story in particular "Harrison Bergeron"; I bought the movie with Sean Astin and thought even if the story was fleshed out to be more like "This Perfect Day". So I thought it would be time to read the story. Unfortunately the short story can not hold a candle to the movie. It never really gets off the ground and comes to a curt conclusion never resolving the conflict.
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3.0 étoiles sur 5 Varied, dated but classic. 2 octobre 2013
Par Carlos
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Varied short stories, classic Vonnegut, ironic and quite amusing. Social commentary never far off. Still relevant, but there's better to be found.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 étoiles sur 5  250 commentaires
72 internautes sur 73 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 The book is great, but the Kindle Edition, specifically, is terrible 3 octobre 2012
Par Oregon Skier - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Please note that my rating is about the quality of the Kindle edition, not the quality of Vonnegut's writing.

On the one hand, the short stories are wonderful and showcase some of Vonnegut's earlier writing. On the other hand, the Kindle edition would likely embarrass any author, and particularly one whose precision of language was equal to Kurt Vonnegut's. Specifically, the book appears to have been created by scanning a hard copy and then using optical character recognition (OCR) software to convert the images to letters, without making an effort to even so much as electronically verify that the OCR got it right (e.g. even a Word grammar checker would have turned up most of the obvious mistakes). This results in an almost verbatim rendering of the original, but not quite. In the Kindle version it is quite jarring to find, for example, the word "mat" appearing nonsensically in the middle of some sentences where the word "that" was plainly intended. Two examples: "It was in this news mat Nancy perceived a glint of hope" or "Why, honey bunch, they call mat truth serum." Mostly, "that" shows up correctly, but not always. Perhaps the most obnoxious example is in the short story "Deer in the Works" where a character's name is first given as "Lou Flammer" then inexplicably switches for a few pages to "Lou Hammer" and then switches back to last name "Flammer" again. Vonnegut doesn't make those sorts of mistakes. Kindle does, and it is a shame to do it to a writer of such ability. Nevertheless, what Vonnegut writes in these short stories are entertaining, thought provoking, disturbing, and somewhat of a time capsule for the mindset of America in the 1950s and early 60s. My only suggestion is to buy a hard copy version and read what Vonnegut actually wrote, instead.
95 internautes sur 100 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 bite-sized chunks 20 mars 2003
Par Eric J. Lyman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
If you don't already know Kurt Vonnegut's work, this may be the best introduction to it -- especially considering that short stories are the art form that Vonnegut started out with, where he developed his craft.
And if you already know Vonnegut but don't know this book, then think of this as the author in delicious bit-sized chunks.
But read the book!
I would not say that Welcome to the Monkey House is Vonnegut's best book -- in fact, it may not even be in the top five by my calculations -- but it is the one book of his I would keep if I had to give all the other away, simply because of the diversity of the stories he tells and the simple writing skill they illustrate.
And I might argue that the best single STORY Vonnegut ever wrote is "Harrison Bergeron" the riveting and still-relevant tale about human nature that effects me as much today as it did when I first read it 20 years ago. Vonnegut without a doubt proves with this story that all writers are not created equal.
85 internautes sur 92 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 As essential as the novels 18 mars 2002
Par Michael Battaglia - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I'm not a huge fan of short story collections since I'd much rather sit through a single story throughout all those pages instead of a series of tales that at best tend to be hit or miss and wildly inconsistent. However there are some writers that I will acknowledge are masters of the form, Theodore Sturgeon, Ray Bradbury and of course Kurt Vonnegut (that's not even counting the "classic" short story masters who I haven't read) who's novels sometimes come across as longish short stories anyway. Most of these stories were written early in his career, in the fifties or sixties and it looks like someone actually made an attempt to sequence them instead of just dumping them in chronoloogical order, thus there's a bit of a procession as you move along, finally ending with the darkly hopeful 'Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow". Along the way you'll find that the quality is quite high and many of these are very much vintage Vonnegut. He mixes around with genres and so SF exercises such as "Harrison Bergeron" and "Welcome to the Monkey House" (classics both) sit comfortably next to more typical stories such as "Manned Missiles" (which gets my vote for most effective story in the collection and surprised me the most). There aren't really any clunkers here, some are simpler than others and will pass you by without much impact, but the majority all have some moment or theme to recommend them as keepers and give you something to think about long after you've finished them. Sure, most of the stories were written in a different time but regardless of the SF or the Cold War backdrop or whatever, these are essentially timeless and deserved to be read again and again.
49 internautes sur 55 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An amazing collection of short stories 18 janvier 2002
Par Daniel Jolley - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche
Having never read Vonnegut before, I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. The title led me to expect some degree of science fiction. What I found was a collection of rich, wonderfully written stories about a wide assortment of subjects. Vonnegut is a great writer, pure and simple. Many of the stories dealt with the future and the state of society, and Vonnegut struck me as having a somewhat cynical yet witty view of the subject. I found the themes of his stories to be somewhat akin to my own fears of life as we will some day know it, in a world where the government attempts to create utopia on earth. Two of the more memorable stories found in these pages are "Harrison Bergeron" and "Welcome to the Monkey House." In the first story, we find the type of society that I fear the most, a socialist republic where all people are required to be equal; those who possess intelligence and pose the danger of actually thinking are controlled by implants which forcefully disallow any thought from entering their minds. In the latter, we find a Malthusian world of overpopulation where everyone takes pills to numb the lower halves of their bodies and people are encouraged to come to Federal Ethical Suicide Parlors and voluntarily remove themselves from the crowded world. Other stories deal with massive overpopulation troubles.
On the other hand, we find more simplistic stories in which Vonnegut conveys individuals in a deep, touching light, striking great chords of sympathy in this reader's mind. A woman who is obsessed with redecorating the houses of her neighbors yet cannot afford to buy decent furniture for her own house; a young woman who comes to a strange town, captivates everyone with her beauty, is criticized and publicly humiliated by a young man for being the kind of girl he could never win the heart of, and is richly shown to be an innocent, lonely soul; a teen who acts horribly because he has never had a real family but is saved from a life of crime by a teacher who makes the grand effort to save the boy--these are some of the many subjects dealt with by the author. There is even a heartfelt story about a young Russian and young American who are killed in space but who inspire understanding and détente between the two superpowers by bringing home the point that they were both young men with families who loved them and who had no desire for anything but peace--written during the height of the Cold War, that story really stood out to me.
All of the stories are not eminently satisfying to me, but the lion's share of them are; a couple of stories seemed to have been written for no other reason but to make the author some money, which is okay (especially since Vonnegut introduces the stories by saying he wrote them in order to finance his novel-writing endeavors). I may have been less than satisfied by a couple of stories, but even the worst of the lot was written wonderfully and obviously with much care, and I daresay that few writers could do better on their best day than Vonnegut does on his worst. Sometimes, as one ages, one fears that he will eventually have read all of the best books in the world, but then one discovers an author such as Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., and it is one of the best and most exciting things that can happen to that person.
21 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Vonnegut's Short stories surpass his novels 15 juin 2000
Par Ernest Boehm - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
If you like Vonnegut this collection of short stories is a must. This is the only book of short stories that I have ever read cover to cover. This is the only book I reread almost on a yearly basis.
I have give this book as a gift often to people suprise they say that it is Vonneguts best work. Unlike other short story writers, Vonnegut short stories different from one another and do not repeat the same boaring gimmics over and over.
"All the Kings Men" is about an insane game of Chess
"Eipac" is about a computer who becomes more than a computer.
"Who will I be today" is about two people who fall in love by not being themselves.
"DP" is about a half black / half German orphan who stumbles on a unit of american GI's during WWII
"Slow walk into tomarrow" is about an AWOL soldier who goes takes a walk with only woman that he could ever lovethe day before she is to marry another man. (THIS IS THE BEST)
There are about ten more each unique as Vonnegut.
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