Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. has a unique style. If you’ve read him, you know this. If you haven’t read him, do so. I’ve read the bulk of his books at this point, and I was pretty glad to pick up While Mortals Sleep, a posthumous collection of previously unpublished short stories. I’ll admit, they are fairly similar to his other short stories (my favorite collection being Welcome to the Monkey House), but that’s not meant to be a criticism.
I have sort of a hard time picking out particular stories to comment on (reviewing collections is tricky). My favorite was probably “The Humbugs” in which two very different artists help each other realize their true potential. Sometimes I think about reading like that…maybe one great book will turn me into a great (review) writer. I can hope…
The title story is excellent as well. A Christmas lights competition causes some strife in town, especially to the editor of the local paper (a true Grinch, at times). Like most of these stories, there is a moral, a lesson, a wacky twist, or a combination of the three at the end. I’d say more, but Vonnegut is a surprising writer and it’s best to read him without knowing much.
Also, I have to note that Dave Eggers wrote the forward, and it is great. And throughout the book, drawings by Vonnegut abound. They are odd, abstract, and really, really awesome. Definitely pick this book up.
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