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You Can Now Read Five Newly Discovered Kurt Vonnegut Short Stories

Written early in the author’s careers, the works were recently unearthed in his archives

Kurt Vonnegut in a 1990 portrait (Yousuf Karsh / National Portrait Gallery)
smithsonian.com

Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s longtime friend Dan Wakefield had long suspected there were stories that the iconic author of American counterculture wrote but never published. Last summer, on a hunch, Wakefield dug through the late author's archives. There, he struck gold, and last Thursday, as part of "Banned Books Week," the Vonnegut Museum and Library, in Indianapolis, debuted Wakefield's findings, Chris Davis reports for WIBC.com. 

Edited by Wakefield and Jerome Klinkowitz, Complete Stories includes every known short fiction produced by Vonnegut, including five never-before-published short stories Wakefield discovered in the archives, which were written early in the author's storied career, Katherine Brooks reports for the Huffington Post.

In the foreword, novelist Dave Eggers writes that Complete Stories offers new insight into the world of Vonnegut: "The prose is clean and the pace always brisk, and the satisfaction we draw from seeing some moral clarity, some linear order brought to a knotted world, is impossible to overstate."

The 97 stories in the anthology are organized by themes, such as “War,” “Women,” “Science,” “Romance,” “Work Ethic v. Fame and Fortune,” “Behavior,” “The Band Director” and “Futuristic,” Lisa Nguyen reports for Paste Magazine

The Atlantic first posted one of the previously unpublished stories in the collection, "The Drone King," to much buzz last month. The story, written in the early 1950s before the author had even published a novel yet, has the classic bizarreness of a Vonnegut work, and functions as a satire about a man looking to start a bee-related business venture.

As it turns out, the piece was one of several stories that Vonnegut had rejected for publication, writes Beckett Mufson at Vice. His agent purportedly told the author to hold off on publishing those stories until later on when he'd become more famous.

Now, more than half a century later, that day is inarguably here.

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