We Are What We Pretend To Be: The First And Last Works (Kurt Vonnegut) - Vanguard Press - 2012 - 161 pages

If you are a famous author and have some unpublished or unfinished works, burn them.  Otherwise, your surviving relatives will publish them to make some bucks.  This posthumous volume consists of two novellas.  The first novella (Basic Training) written circa 1946 is actually very good albeit somewhat short of the expected Vonnegut wit and wisdom.  The story is mostly autobiographical covering some time he spent living and working with cousins ruled by "The General" who was the strict family dictator.  The story is somewhat depressing but the ending is excellent although probably total fiction.  The second novella (If God Were Alive Today) is a disaster because it is disjointed, unfinished and was probably destined for the shredder.  The six chapters were supposedly a work-in-process at the time of Vonnegut's death in 2007.  The pages outline the personality of a neurotic but successful comedian and self-proclaimed neuter.  As most of the short stories in Look At The Birdie, this one should have remained unpublished.  The Vonnegut style is evident but I did not find one quote that I would like to reproduce here.  I am certain that Vonnegut would not have wanted these 70 pages "in print for the first time."  The foreword by daughter, Nanette is enjoyable to read.  [JAM 1/30/2013]