is a novel
by Kurt Vonnegut
, originally published in 1979
. Its plot concerns a man recently released from a low security prison after having served time for a minor role in the Watergate scandal
. The novel uses a standard memoir format, revealing Walter F. Starbuck's current situation, then going back to tell the story of his first two days after being released from prison.
Through Walter F. Starbuck and near-rambling biographical sketches of the various characters referenced in the novel, Jailbird concerns itself with the history of the American labor movement, while also pointing out flaws in corporate America, the American political system, the American red scare of the late 1950's, and both capitalist and communist theory.
Jailbird also features a brief appearance of Kilgore Trout, a recurring Vonnegut character who writes science fiction novellas.