Sunday, March 25, 2012

Kurt Vonnegut - Unpublished Novella, Basic Training, is now an "Amazon Single" and exclusive

The New York Times's Art Beat writer, Julie Bosman, wrote a few days ago that long before Vonnegut became famous, the Saturday Evening Post in the 1940s rejected his 22,000-word novella, "Basic Training," written under the pseudonym of Mark Harvey.

  He went on to write Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat's Cradle, and many other famous works.

The publisher, RosettaBooks, chose the novella from "a trove of his unpublished work" remaining in Indiana after he died in 2007.  Vonnegut's literary executor had made available "hundreds of other works" (one can wonder what will happen with those).

  RosettaBooks describes this work as one with Vonnegut's
"trademark grand themes: the lunacy of kings, the improbability of existence, the yearling hero’s struggle with duty and love and the meaning of heroism.”

Digital Journal's Jeff Cottrill writes,
' Written when the twenty-something Vonnegut was working for General Electric while struggling to sell short stories to magazines, Basic Training tells the story of a teenage pianist, Haley Brandon, who journeys from New York City to live on the farm of his adopted uncle, a retired military general who's more than a little crazy and determined to work the musical talent out of the young man.

While Basic Training doesn't have the science-fiction elements or self-referential qualities of Vonnegut's later work, his satirical and anti-authority bent is unmistakable even at this early stage. '

I see that this currently has (since March 22 release) four customer reviews, each one of them 5 Stars, so it seems a pretty safe pick :-)  Also, it's exclusive to Amazon.

Jason Kirk, reviewing for, summarizes his post, "Passing fans of absurdist fiction, lovers of the novella in all its welcome restraint, and avid readers of Kindle Singles should all hail the arrival of the late, great Kurt Vonnegut to these ranks."

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