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10 Reviews
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourites!
I'm a big Kurt Vonnegut fan having read several of his books and I reckon that this is one of his best, and one of his funniest.

We follow Walter F. Starbuck on his first 24 hours after being released from prison as he becomes subjected to a series of comical coincidences and often farcical events, interspersed with flashbacks to his past. The tale unravels...
Published on 28 Dec. 2006 by pygstone

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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best place to start with Vonnegut
Kurt Vonnegut can be harmful to your social life. So many people stumble across one of his novels, love it, and then spend much of their subsequent time acquiring the rest of his work, whilst persistently recommending others do the same with almost evangelical zeal. I too have been there.
So speaking as a fan, I'd have to say I was a wee bit dissapointed by...
Published on 22 Nov. 2002


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourites!, 28 Dec. 2006
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This review is from: Jailbird (Paperback)
I'm a big Kurt Vonnegut fan having read several of his books and I reckon that this is one of his best, and one of his funniest.

We follow Walter F. Starbuck on his first 24 hours after being released from prison as he becomes subjected to a series of comical coincidences and often farcical events, interspersed with flashbacks to his past. The tale unravels into several threads and Vonnegut skillfully weaves them together to form a satisfying whole. It is Vonnegut's genius that he can create a novel of complexity, and full of ideas, yet make it read so easily and entertainingly.

For those unfamiliar with Kurt Vonnegut, I would say his style is such that his books have a certain _personality_ to them, and once you become aquainted with this personality you can sit back and enjoy them like you were listening to the conversation of an old friend. But first you must be introduced, and in my opinion Jailbird is a great introduction.

SGL
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The vertigo of history, 12 Aug. 2008
This review is from: Jailbird (Paperback)
Yet another Vonnegut that nudges at perfection. Reminiscent of Mother Night and Hocus Pocus, this is the biography of a low-ranking participant in the Watergate scandal and a punchy morality tale on the vertigo of history and the failings of American capitalism. Full of wonderful jokes and characters, this is ground the master could re-tread again and again, extending the joy available to the rest of us each time. It's a real pity that there's not a flashier version of this out in the bookstores of the world at the moment. It's worth your time and your money. It will make you glow.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ahh Kurt Vonnegut RIP, 7 Oct. 2012
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Karl Kirkby (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Jailbird (Paperback)
Kurt Vonnegut is an author that I had never heard of until a couple of years ago, he is now one of my favourites! He didn't write big operas, intricate plots or future hollywood blockbusters and I personally am grateful for that! Kurt wrote very personal, very funny and very human centered 'fiction' that was packed with wry political humour, jet black satire and dripping with social sarcasm. Jailbird encapsulates the kind of story he does so well and in the style he also does so effortlessly. Kurt wrote in a style all of his own while still being accessable to many. Galapagos, Slaughterhouse 5 and God bless you Mr Rosewater are my personal 3 favourites but he never wrote a bad book in my opinion. Enjoy!
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best place to start with Vonnegut, 22 Nov. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Jailbird (Paperback)
Kurt Vonnegut can be harmful to your social life. So many people stumble across one of his novels, love it, and then spend much of their subsequent time acquiring the rest of his work, whilst persistently recommending others do the same with almost evangelical zeal. I too have been there.
So speaking as a fan, I'd have to say I was a wee bit dissapointed by Jailbird. It does have some of the virtues familiar to all Vonnegut's work: it's cynical yet compassionate, humanistic and a decent entertaining read. However, this bleak portrayal of people being lost and ignored among the ubiquitous forces of greed and corruption lacks the levity associated with much of the author's other work. I realise jokes aren't everything, but Vonnegut is often at his most incisive when mocking his targets with the aid of plenty black humour (as in Breakfast of Champions, for example).
So ultimately, Jailbird comes across as rather depressing. Perhaps it's because of the protagonist's perception of himself as a pathetically ineffectual nothing-man. Or perhaps it's because Vonnegut's pessimism got the better of him this time around.
Despite the above, I'd say Jailbird is certainly worth investigating, but if you aren't a fan of the author (yet!), it's probably best to start with another of his novels.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One man's yo-yo relationship with incarceration, 26 Oct. 2014
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YeahYeahNoh (Willenhall, West Midlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Jailbird (Kindle Edition)
Reading Vonnegut is not quite like reading most authors. At times, it's more like sitting in a room with a knowledgeable but perhaps slightly crazed older relative. The more time you spend with him, the more entertaining he becomes, and the easier it is to slip into the right frame of mind to get the most from the experience. This book flows well, and I'm inclined to agree with those who think it's a good potential starting point for those new to the author. For sure, if you like this, you'd probably enjoy others. This is funny throughout, but still has thought provoking political satire in reams. Several hours of fantastic enjoyment for me, like no other.
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4.0 out of 5 stars For Vonnegut fans, 10 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Jailbird (Kindle Edition)
This is not in Vonnegut's top league of books but for a fan of his, which I have been for many years, even a more minor Vonnegut work can be fun. Jailbird has a lot of Vonnegut trademarks and does make some serious points about American politics and way of life along the way.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 'american dream'...Vonnegut style, 12 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Jailbird (Kindle Edition)
Kurt Vonnegut's unravelling of US capitalism and politics is incisive and insightful...and hilarious!

Walter Starbuck - the protagonist - narrates his involvement in key US events and trends - labour relations, faceless corporations, Nuremburg war crime trials, Watergate - on the day of his release from jail.

Alongside the insanity of corporate America, he finds occasional acts of kindness, never sufficient to overthrow the status quo in the face of laissez faire indifference from himself.

Not perfect, and not even KVs best, but still worth more than a '4'. Read it to laugh, understand, and cry about the monster that continues to shape so much of our contemporary lives...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 4 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Jailbird (Paperback)
Great.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No substance, 22 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Jailbird (Kindle Edition)
Apologies to any fans as I don't know the author so could be doing him an injustice but I just didn't get this book at all. I thought I was going to get some really gritty spin off of the Watergate story (James Ellroy style) but it was just pure romantic nonsense. It started off with promise but just wanders off into schmaltzy and unrealistic narrative about two dimensional, unlikeable characters. Very disappointing.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for ME, 21 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Jailbird (Kindle Edition)
I was really disappointed. I did not like the style or the content. I rarely give up on a book but this was a struggle.
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Jailbird
Jailbird by Kurt Vonnegut
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