Look at the Birdie
This is the second book of posthumous material since the 2007 death of legendary satirist Kurt Vonnegut. And while the previous collection (2008’s Armageddon in Retrospect) focused on the short fiction penned during the early part of his life, it’s difficult to distinguish when the shorts of Look at the Birdie were scribed. And even though Vonnegut may not have thought these 14 shorts were up to snuff, they still prove he was one of the most versatile, entertaining and important writers of his time. Naturally, there is plenty of wit, humor and black comedy within these pages: “Confido” features a married couple grappling with an advice-giving device; “A Song for Selma” shows that high school sometimes isn’t what it seems—for students and faculty alike; and “The Petrified Ants” speaks volumes of humanity. Look at the Birdie isn’t as rich as most of Vonnegut’s work, but for any fan, this anthology is a necessary addition. This master storyteller still gives his characters depth, showcases an enviable penchant for finding just the right word and he shows it’s all right to laugh at ourselves.