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Slaughterhouse 5 (Independent Banned Books, #17) PDF, ePub eBook


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Title: Slaughterhouse 5 (Independent Banned Books, #17)
Written by: Kurt Vonnegut
ISBN: null
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4.6 out of 5

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Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time, Slaughterhouse-Five, an American classic, is one of the world's great antiwar books. Centering on the infamous firebombing of Dresden, Billy Pilgrim's odyssey through time reflects the mythic journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we fear most.

30 review for Slaughterhouse 5 (Independent Banned Books, #17)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Simeon

    There are some terrible reviews of SH5 floating around Goodreads, but one particularly awful sentiment is that Slaughterhouse-Five isn't anti-war. This is usually based on the following quote. "It had to be done," Rumfoord told Billy, speaking of the destruction of Dresden. "I know," said Billy. "That's war." "I know. I'm not complaining" "It must have been hell on the ground." "It was," said Billy Pilgrim. "Pity the men who had to do it." "I do." "You must have had mixed feelings, there on the ground." " There are some terrible reviews of SH5 floating around Goodreads, but one particularly awful sentiment is that Slaughterhouse-Five isn't anti-war. This is usually based on the following quote. "It had to be done," Rumfoord told Billy, speaking of the destruction of Dresden. "I know," said Billy. "That's war." "I know. I'm not complaining" "It must have been hell on the ground." "It was," said Billy Pilgrim. "Pity the men who had to do it." "I do." "You must have had mixed feelings, there on the ground." "It was all right," said Billy. "Everything is all right, and everybody has to do exactly what he does. I learned that on Tralfamadore."For context, Mr. Rumfoord is an old military historian described as "hateful and cruel" who wants to see weaklings like Billy exterminated. On Tralfamadore, Billy was introduced to the revelation that all things happen exactly as they do, and that they will always happen that way, and that they will never happen any other way. Meaning, time is all at once. The aliens, incidentally, admit to destroying the universe in a comical accident fated far into the future, and they're very sorry, but so it goes. <- passive acceptance The entire story up to this point has been about Billy, buffeted like a powerless pathetic leaf in a storm, pushed this way and that by forces entirely outside his tiny purview. He lays catatonically in a hospital bed after the plane crash and the death of his wife, and all the time traveling back and forth from Dresden where toddlers and families and old grannies and anti-war civilians were burned alive in a carefully organized inferno (so it goes), and Billy is about ready to agree to absolutely anything. It can't be prevented. It can't be helped. You're powerless, after a while. What hope have we, or anyone caught in the middle of a war, or even the poor soldiers who are nothing but pawns and children (hence the children's crusade), to influence these gigantic, global events? Therefore, Billy agrees with the hateful, the cruel Mr. Rumfoord, who is revising his military history of WWII, having previously forgotten to mention the Dresden bombing, which cost twice as many innocent lives as the nuking of Hiroshima. Women and children, not evaporated instantly, but melted slowly by chemicals and liquid flame, their leftovers, according to Billy, lying in the street like blackened logs, or in piles of families who died together in their little homes. Incidentally, how can anything be pro-war or anti-war? Because being anti-war is a bit like being anti-conflict, anti-death, and anti-suffering. Is there a book that's pro these things? Is there a book that touches on the subject of war and is not against it? We don't support wars, though we are sometimes forced to accept them. Anyone who thinks that the bombing of Dresden was necessary is delusional. It's like saying, "yo, look how they bombed these innocents - that shit was wrong! Let's go bomb some innocents, too." That's the sad truth of it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie *Very Stable Genius*

    I miss Kurt Vonnegut. He hasn't been gone all that long. Of course he isn't gone, yet he is gone. He has always been alive and he will always be dead. So it goes. Slaughterhouse-five is next to impossible to explain, let alone review, but here I am. And here I go. What is it about? It's about war. It's about love and hate. It's about post traumatic stress. It's about sanity and insanity. It's about aliens (not the illegal kind, the spacey kind). It's about life. It's about death. so it goes. "That's one th I miss Kurt Vonnegut. He hasn't been gone all that long. Of course he isn't gone, yet he is gone. He has always been alive and he will always be dead. So it goes. Slaughterhouse-five is next to impossible to explain, let alone review, but here I am. And here I go. What is it about? It's about war. It's about love and hate. It's about post traumatic stress. It's about sanity and insanity. It's about aliens (not the illegal kind, the spacey kind). It's about life. It's about death. so it goes. "That's one thing Earthlings might learn to do, if they tried hard enough: Ignore the awful times and concentrate on the good ones." This is how I live my life. This is how I get through the day. Most days I am successful, some days I'm not. Today is one of the "not" days. Like so many Americans these days, I feel I'm in a rut. Like so many Americans I don't understand why I am where I am. This was not the plan. This was not what I had in mind...... Oh poor me....boo hoo. This book. This book got me thinking. So much about life sucks, true, but not many of us want to give up on it that easy. Why? because of the "good ones". And what makes "good ones" is our ability to create and enjoy creating.....at least I think so. "Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE." — Joss Whedon If you make something, a painting, a poem, a novel, a good meal, a person.....you continue to live even after death. I think that's what Mr. Vonnegut was getting at. Maybe. At least that is how he has remained alive for me.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Martine

    I have to admit to being somewhat baffled by the acclaim Slaughterhouse-5 has received over the years. Sure, the story is interesting. It has a fascinating and mostly successful blend of tragedy and comic relief. And yes, I guess the fractured structure and time-travelling element must have been quite novel and original back in the day. But that doesn't excuse the book's flaws, of which there are a great many in my (seemingly unconventional) opinion. Take, for instance, Vonnegut's endless repeti I have to admit to being somewhat baffled by the acclaim Slaughterhouse-5 has received over the years. Sure, the story is interesting. It has a fascinating and mostly successful blend of tragedy and comic relief. And yes, I guess the fractured structure and time-travelling element must have been quite novel and original back in the day. But that doesn't excuse the book's flaws, of which there are a great many in my (seemingly unconventional) opinion. Take, for instance, Vonnegut's endless repetition of the phrase 'So it goes.' Wikipedia informs me it crops up 106 times in the book. It felt like three hundred times to me. About forty pages into the book, I was so fed up with the words 'So it goes' that I felt like hurling the book across the room, something I have not done since trying to read up on French semiotics back in the 1990s. I got used to coming across the words every two pages or so eventually, but I never grew to like them. God, no. I found some other nits to pick, too. Some of them were small and trivial and frankly rather ridiculous, such as -- wait for it -- the hyphen in the book's title. Seriously, what is that hyphen doing there? There's no need for a hyphen there. Couldn't someone have removed it, like, 437 editions ago? And while I'm at it, couldn't some discerning editor have done something about the monotonous quality of Vonnegut's prose -- about the interminable repetition of short subject-verb-object sentences? Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying all authors should use Henry James- or Claire Messud-length sentences. Heaven forbid. I'm actually rather fond of minimalism, both in visual art and in writing. But Vonnegut's prose is so sparse and simplistic it's monotonous rather than minimalist, to the point where I frequently found myself wishing for a run-on sentence every now and then, or for an actual in-depth description of something. I hardly ever got either. As a result, there were times when I felt like I was reading a bare-bones outline of a story rather than the story itself. Granted, it was an interesting outline, larded with pleasing ideas and observations, but still, I think the story could have been told in a more effective way. A less annoying way, too. As for the plot, I liked it. I liked the little vignettes Vonnegut came up with and the colourful characters he created (the British officers being my particular favourites). I liked the fact that you're never quite sure whether Billy is suffering from dementia, brain damage or some kind of delayed post-traumatic stress disorder, or whether there is some actual time-travelling going on. I even liked the jarring switches in perspective, although I think they could have been handled in a slightly more subtle manner. And I liked the book's anti-war message, weak and defeatist though it seemed to be. In short, I liked the book, but it took some doing. I hope I'll be less annoyed by the two other Vonnegut books I have sitting on my shelves, Breakfast of Champions and Cat's Cradle.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kirstie

    I read this book first in 1999 when my grandfather passed away. It was a bit of a coincidence as his funeral occurred between a Primate Anatomy exam and a paper for my Experimental Fiction class on Slaughterhouse Five. I was frantically trying to remember the names of all kinds of bones when I picked this up in the other hand and tried to wrap my head around it. Basically, Vonnegut has written the only Tralfamadorian novel I can think of. These beings, most undoubtedly inspired in Billy Pilgrim's I read this book first in 1999 when my grandfather passed away. It was a bit of a coincidence as his funeral occurred between a Primate Anatomy exam and a paper for my Experimental Fiction class on Slaughterhouse Five. I was frantically trying to remember the names of all kinds of bones when I picked this up in the other hand and tried to wrap my head around it. Basically, Vonnegut has written the only Tralfamadorian novel I can think of. These beings, most undoubtedly inspired in Billy Pilgrim's head by the scattered science fiction plots of Kilgore Trout, experience time as a continuum that is constantly occurring...and when they look at time, even though in their version of history, the world is in a constant state of being destroyed for example, they choose to see the things that make them happy...the good moments. What Billy learns from these creatures is that each traumatic event that has happened in his life fits very precisely into a state of meticulous nature. It has always happened and always will happen and so it goes (on and on and on). What Billy Pilgrim truly experiences over and over in his life is Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. He exists throughout his memories traveling back and forth with the knowledge of what will happen and how precise it all is. Dresden is bombed in every moment and his friend Derby is put in front of a firing squad. At every second, he is the only survivor of a plane wreck, he is getting married, and he is fighting a Children's Crusade. It's the only way he can look at the despair that has happened and make sense of it. When my grandfather died and I read this, I felt as if it was just what I needed because I could escape back into time and remember the good memories of my grandfather...if they existed (even if in some fourth dimension) then he was just as dead as he was alive and eating peanut butter chocolate ice cream. At the same time my grandfather had a heart attack, I was watching him play cards with my grandma at the kitchen table. But which one to think of? Well, that was easy. Death can't be prevented and so it goes but you can always try to change which moment you live in. It's a little bit different than a memory and if you go far into it, you'll end up like Billy Pilgrim, which is to say, you will go insane because the rest of the world sees time as linear and counts seconds and minutes and hours. Once and awhile, it doesn't hurt. I re-read this again on the plane rides home and back before and after my grandmother's funeral on Monday and last night. My grandma was a strong and intelligent woman and she always read everything she saw. My recent memories of my grandmother were of her at the holidays. She always had her mind but her physical condition had deteriorated and she was dependent on oxygen. It made me sad to think of her like this a bit. It's really hard for me to think that my grandma is no more but then I tell myself...well, it's silly for me to keep crying on and on about this. My grandma is right now reading at 4am in her living room chair and I am a child creeping down the stairs hoping she's still up. She is telling me that one day I'll come around and like green onions. She is reminding me to keep my feet off of the davenport and about being "tickled" by something. She lives in a jungle of houseplants and watches musicals all of the time, always pointing out when some distant relative of mine appears briefly in The Greatest Show on Earth. My grandma can't be dead and be doing all of those things, can she? It doesn't make sense. She will always be alive in some moments just like I will always be seven and nine and twenty eight and perhaps past thirty and forty. So, she'll always be here. I just wish I could dream about her.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Garima

    I finally read Vonnegut. I finally read a war novel. And after a long time I finally read something with so many GR ratings and a decent number of reviews which is precisely the reason I have nothing much to add to the already expressed views here. So I urge you to indulge me to state a personal anecdote. Thank You. My Grandfather was a POW during Indo-China war and remained in confinement for some six months. By the time I got to know about it I had already watched too many movies and crammed en I finally read Vonnegut. I finally read a war novel. And after a long time I finally read something with so many GR ratings and a decent number of reviews which is precisely the reason I have nothing much to add to the already expressed views here. So I urge you to indulge me to state a personal anecdote. Thank You. My Grandfather was a POW during Indo-China war and remained in confinement for some six months. By the time I got to know about it I had already watched too many movies and crammed endless number of answers about when and where such n such war was fought. But I was naïve and let’s assume innocent and someone who was yet to learn to ask the right questions. So the fact that someone so close in the family had witness something I only read in schoolbooks was utterly fascinating for me. Thus began my streak of stupid questions. Me: Did you kill someone? Did they torture you? Did you dig some sort of tunnel to escape? And so on. My Grandpa gave this hearty laugh he is famous for and said that I’m missing one important question: Why the war happened at first place? I thought for a while and answered: Because it always happens. I can’t recall properly what he replied to that but it was something on the lines of this: I wish the answer changes when you’ll grow up because as of now that’s exactly how it is. War always happens. With books like Slaughterhouse-Five (Schlachthöf-fünf), it’s not the writing which matters but simply the ideas and thoughts it carries which transgresses the literary boundaries and create a place in the heart of the readers as a humble reminder that Love happens, Hate happens, Life happens, Death happens, Peace happens, War happens and sometimes Shit happens.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Matthias

    Listen: This reviewer is stuck in time. He is unable to escape the narrow confines of the invisible, intangible machinery mercilessly directing his life from a beginning towards an end. The walls surrounding him are dotted with windows looking out on darkened memories and foggy expectations, easing the sense of claustrophobia but offering no way out. The ceiling is crushing down on this man while he paces frantically through other people's lives and memories in hopes of shaping his own and forget Listen: This reviewer is stuck in time. He is unable to escape the narrow confines of the invisible, intangible machinery mercilessly directing his life from a beginning towards an end. The walls surrounding him are dotted with windows looking out on darkened memories and foggy expectations, easing the sense of claustrophobia but offering no way out. The ceiling is crushing down on this man while he paces frantically through other people's lives and memories in hopes of shaping his own and forgetting the enormity of oblivion looming above his head. He reads book after book after book. He reads Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five. He gets immersed, he gets lost in the pages. He smiles. He wonders. He tumbles. He laughs a laugh that seems to come from somewhere deep within him, telling him that everything is beautiful. A laugh that shoots up from a dark place and illuminates the universe, bathing it in colour, showing all the hidden threads in a fraction of a second. The man is consoled, recognizing that fraction as an eternity. He closes the book and looks around him. The space got bigger, the windows show a clearer picture. He sees his situation with a new light emanating from his own eyes and, looking up, notices the oppressive ceiling is no longer there. It made way for the sky, sometimes blue, sometimes painted with stars and clouds. He ruminates on this new canvas for his thoughts as a bird flies by and calls to him. Poo-tee-weet.

  7. 5 out of 5

    TK421

    There are only a few books that I ever really try to revisit. Sherlock Holmes and his stories are one. Some Shakespeare. And Slaughterhouse-Five. I have read this book every year since my first reading almost ten years ago. I read it as an undergraduate; I read it as a graduate student. I've written three or four papers about it. And, yes, I have tried to pawn this book off on as many people as I could over the years. You see, this book does something to me whenever I read it. It takes me places There are only a few books that I ever really try to revisit. Sherlock Holmes and his stories are one. Some Shakespeare. And Slaughterhouse-Five. I have read this book every year since my first reading almost ten years ago. I read it as an undergraduate; I read it as a graduate student. I've written three or four papers about it. And, yes, I have tried to pawn this book off on as many people as I could over the years. You see, this book does something to me whenever I read it. It takes me places. Sure there is the time travel, other-world element to the novel, but the places it takes me are not physical in nature. I can't rightly say that they are spiritual either. Basically, the best way I can describe it is where I am taken is if my heart, mind, soul, education, fears, desires, and dreams were all placed in a blender and set to liquefy. And then this slosh of material is constructed into whatever semblance of a structure can be created from this amalgam. This novel gets me to question not only life, but what it means that I was the lucky sperm to reach the egg, or that I was the lucky egg that was implanted. Oh dear, I fear I am convoluting what it is I am trying to say. Okay, here goes: This book questions war. It questions as to why humans feel it is imperative to destroy. It questions what it might be like to live a completely different life than the one you live now. But it doesn't try to give bullshit answers. In fact, it really doesn't try to give answers to anything. And since this book is based on actual experiences Vonnegut suffered during WWII, it might be better said that this novel is really a science fiction memoir. Dammit, I am screwing this up. I cannot seem to say it is that I want to say. Enough already! Read the book. Or don't read the book. I know what it does to me. So it goes. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDEED

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lyn

    A fun visit with cantankerous old Uncle Kurt. Vonnegut is on a short list of my favorite authors and this is perhaps his most famous work. Not his best, but most recognizable. Billy Pilgrim is also one of his best characters. (Kilgore Trout is his best). I liked it as I like everything I have read of him. The recurring themes and characters, use of repetition for emphasis and comic relief, his irreverence and postmodern lack of sensitivity shine bright as ever here. Vonnegut can be funny and grim A fun visit with cantankerous old Uncle Kurt. Vonnegut is on a short list of my favorite authors and this is perhaps his most famous work. Not his best, but most recognizable. Billy Pilgrim is also one of his best characters. (Kilgore Trout is his best). I liked it as I like everything I have read of him. The recurring themes and characters, use of repetition for emphasis and comic relief, his irreverence and postmodern lack of sensitivity shine bright as ever here. Vonnegut can be funny and grim on the same page, same sentence even, and not lose relevance or sincerity.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cecily

    A strange and intriguing book that I found very hard to rate: a mixture of wartime memoir and sci fi - occasionally harrowing, sometimes funny and other times thought-provoking. PLOT It is the episodic story of Billy Pilgrim, a small town American boy, who is a POW in the second world war, later becomes a successful optometrist and who occasionally and accidentally travels in time to other periods of his life, so he has "memories of the future". Oh, he also gets abducted by aliens, along with som A strange and intriguing book that I found very hard to rate: a mixture of wartime memoir and sci fi - occasionally harrowing, sometimes funny and other times thought-provoking. PLOT It is the episodic story of Billy Pilgrim, a small town American boy, who is a POW in the second world war, later becomes a successful optometrist and who occasionally and accidentally travels in time to other periods of his life, so he has "memories of the future". Oh, he also gets abducted by aliens, along with some furniture. "So it goes." (That is the catchphrase of the book, and I found rather annoying after the umpteenth time. It's used in Philip K Dick's "Ubik" (review here), which I assumed was a nod to Vonnegut, until I discovered both were published in the same year). It starts with an old man reminiscing about his life. He is asked about the point of writing an anti-war book, "Why don't you write an anti-glacier book instead?" After that, it jumps about, much as Billy does, "Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time... he is in a constant state of stage fright". The most thought-provoking bits for me were Billy's mother who tried "to construct a life that makes sense from things she found in gift shops", the bathos with which some war events were described (e.g. being executed for stealing a teapot), and the alien Tralfamadorian's multi-dimensional and multi-sexual world. For instance, they have five sexes, but their differences were in the fourth dimension and they couldn't imagine how time looks to Billy (they also told him that seven sexes were essential for human reproduction!). MESSAGE A main message is surprisingly positive: if we could only see or feel the fourth dimension, we would realise that "when a person dies he only appears to die. He is very much alive in the past". SPOONS Spoons are mentioned oddly often, as a description of how people lie (lovers or fallen soldiers). Then, near the end, actual spoons are briefly important. I have no idea whether this is significant. UPDATE: Thanks to a comment from Matthias on his excellent review (read it here), I have, not an answer, but a great spoon reference in The Matrix: "Do not try and bend the spoon, that's impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth: There is no spoon." Spoon Boy RELATED BOOKS It has strong links with several other books: as it's Vonnegut, the "fictitious" sci fi writer, Kilgore Trout, gets several mentions. The mode of time travel clearly influenced Octavia Butler's Kindred, review here, and Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife, review here. When he watches a WW2 film in reverse, it's very like Amis's Time's Arrow, review here. For a more linguistic and philosophical take on the implications of Tralfamadorians living in all time, simultaneously, see the heptapods in Ted Chiang's The Story of Your Life, review here. Also compare it with the Borges short story A Weary Man’s Utopia, which is in The Book of Sand, review here It also left me wanting to read a Tralfamadorian book with its simultaneous threads, "no beginning, no middle, no end... What we love in our books are the depths of many marvellous moments seen all at one time", which is surely what Vonnegut was trying to create for mere human readers.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Fabian

    No one really introduced me to this work, despite its resonant presence in the literary canon. I adore books that reek of marvelous postmodern perfume. This is one original, enthralling, always-relevant novel. Vonnegut is brave and cowardly because he makes the material his own, yet he is but scenery... his main character is an Everyman who is sooo affected by the Dresden bombings that he "becomes unglued from time." Yes: war is complete, utter chaos... it becomes something more powerful than ph No one really introduced me to this work, despite its resonant presence in the literary canon. I adore books that reek of marvelous postmodern perfume. This is one original, enthralling, always-relevant novel. Vonnegut is brave and cowardly because he makes the material his own, yet he is but scenery... his main character is an Everyman who is sooo affected by the Dresden bombings that he "becomes unglued from time." Yes: war is complete, utter chaos... it becomes something more powerful than physics because it is so closely related to the complete termination of life, spirit, & earthly happiness. "Maus" reminded me of this because it mixed humor with tragedy... something super hard to pull off because the events are real. The Children's Crusade is still being fought today & this personal statement cannot go out of style-- maybe presidents/dictators/rulers/monarchs should read it as a by law prerequisite?

  11. 5 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    Now for something completely different , stating it mildly ...Billy Pilgrim is not just another time travelling man, kidnapped by aliens from the unknown planet Tralfamadore and put in their zoo, he's an eyewitness to the destruction of Dresden, during World War Two. Our Billy an optometrist, (eye doctor) marries the boss's slightly overweight daughter Valencia (who no one else wanted, people are so unkind) . The couple have two disrespectful children, Barbara and Robert, the truth that he becom Now for something completely different , stating it mildly ...Billy Pilgrim is not just another time travelling man, kidnapped by aliens from the unknown planet Tralfamadore and put in their zoo, he's an eyewitness to the destruction of Dresden, during World War Two. Our Billy an optometrist, (eye doctor) marries the boss's slightly overweight daughter Valencia (who no one else wanted, people are so unkind) . The couple have two disrespectful children, Barbara and Robert, the truth that he becomes very rich through his nuptials, doesn't make him a bad guy, lucky, I guess is the proper adjective . Billy is no prize either , a tall, skinny weakling, an ordinary looking man , with a peculiar tendency for nervous breakdowns... welcome to modern life. The only unique thing about him, is the fact he visits rather reluctantly different stages of his life, by way of an unexplained and altogether involuntary power , by time travel. Yet for a while at least, life doesn't become endless and boring, still not as much fun as you'd think, repeating situations again and again, ouch . IT DOESN'T MATTER HE'D RATHER NOT GO...Past, Present and Future, are all the same to poor Pilgrim, he can be at his daughter's wedding and in a few moments, be back as a P.O.W. in Dresden, Germany on February 13th, 1945, when 1,200 allied bombers from England and America, dropped thousands of explosives on the city. Causing fires to spread quickly and kill (fry) thousands, anywhere from 30,000 to 130,000 humans, nobody will ever know the exact amount. "So it goes ". Then poor Billy is back in Illium, New York, talking to his only friend, Kilgore Trout an unsuccessful science fiction writer, (75 unread novels) I understand you can get his books at the local library, if you are diligent . The cosmic flying saucer that took Mr.Pilgrim secretly to that strange world...(not sure if it's the right word for the weird planet) millions of light years away, through a wormhole, did Billy a favor. The very curious people of Tralfamadore like to watch and how. They are not embarrassed by any kind of activity, providing him with a young, beautiful, and eager movie starlet Montana Wildhack, for the prisoner. The salacious activity gives the inhabitants of this planet many hours of entertainment...Billy will never really die, he will always travel through time and space forever."So it goes".

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    375. Slaughterhouse-Five = The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death, Kurt Vonnegut Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death (1969) is a science fiction-infused anti-war novel by Kurt Vonnegut about the World War II experiences and journeys through time of Billy Pilgrim, from his time as an American soldier and chaplain's assistant, to postwar and early years. It is generally recognized as Vonnegut's most influential and popular work. A central event is Pilgri 375. Slaughterhouse-Five = The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death, Kurt Vonnegut Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death (1969) is a science fiction-infused anti-war novel by Kurt Vonnegut about the World War II experiences and journeys through time of Billy Pilgrim, from his time as an American soldier and chaplain's assistant, to postwar and early years. It is generally recognized as Vonnegut's most influential and popular work. A central event is Pilgrim's surviving the Allies' firebombing of Dresden as a prisoner-of-war. This was an event in Vonnegut's own life, and the novel is considered semi-autobiographical. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز نوزدهم ماه می سال 2011 میلادی عنوان: سلاخ‌خانه شماره 5 ؛ نویسنده: کورت ونه‌گات؛ انتشاراتیها: روشنگران و مطالعات زنان؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: نوزدهم ماه می سال 2011 میلادی عنوان: سلاخ خانه شماره پنج ؛ نویسنده: کورت ونه گات؛ مترجم: علی اصغر بهرامی، تهران، روشنگران، 1372؛ در 263 ص؛ چاپ دیگر: 1380؛ چاپ بعدی 1381؛ شابک: 9646751490؛ چاپ ششم 1389؛ موضوع: جنگ جهانگیر دوم - از سال 1939 میلادی تا سال 1945 میلادی - قرن 20 م کورت ونه گات: زادروز: 11 نوامبر 1922 میلادی، ایندیاناپولیس، ایالت ایندیانا، درگذشت: 11 آوریل 2007 میلادی (84 سالگی) در شهر نیویورک، ایالت نیویورک. ملیت: آمریکایی. پیشه: نویسنده از سال 1950 میلادی تا سال 2005 میلادی. همسران: جین مری کاکس از 1945 میلادی تا سال 1971 میلادی، جیل کرمنتز از سال 1979 میلادی تا سال 2007 میلادی، دارای چهار فرزند. والدین: کورت وانگات سینیور، ادیت لیبر آثار: رمان‌ها: ‍پیانوی خودنواز (1952 میلادی)، آژیرهای هیولا (1959 میلادی)، شب مادر (1961 میلادی)، گهواره گربه (1963 میلادی)، خدا شما را حفظ کند، آقای رزواتر (1965 میلادی)، سلاخ‌خانه شماره پنج (1969 میلادی)، صبحانه قهرمانان (1973 میلادی)، اسلپ استیک (1976 میلادی)، محبوس (1979 میلادی)، مجمع الجزایر گالاپاگوس (1985 میلادی)، ریش آبی (1987 میلادی)، زمان لرزه (1997 میلادی)، مرد بی‌وطن (2005 میلادی). مجموعه داستان‌ها: قناری در خانه گربه (1961 میلادی)، به خانه میمون خوش آمدید (1967 میلادی)، انفیه­دان باگومبو (1999 میلادی)، خدا شما را حفظ کند، دکتر کورکیان (1999 میلادی)، جوجو را نیگا (2009 میلادی). نمایش‌نامه: تولدت مبارک وندا جون (1971 میلادی). کورت وانگات جونیور، در رشته زیست‌ شیمی از دانشگاه «کورنل» فارغ‌ التحصیل شدند، در ارتش نام‌نویسی کردند و برای نبرد در جنگ جهانی دوم به اروپا اعزام شدند. ایشان خیلی زود به دست نیروهای آلمانی اسیر و در «درسدن» زندانی شد، پس از پایان جنگ و بازگشت به ایالات متحده آمریکا، در «دانشگاه شیکاگو» به تحصیل «مردم‌شناسی» پرداختند و سپس به عنوان تبلیغات‌چی در شرکت «جنرال الکتریک» مشغول به کار شدند، تا سال 1951 که با نهایی شدن انتشار نخستین کتاب ایشان، «پیانوی خودکار»، آن کار را ترک کردند و تمام‌ وقت مشغول نویسندگی شدند. آثار ایشان ترکیبی از طنز سیاه در مایه‌ های علمی‌ تخیلی ­ست. از آثار ایشان: «گهواره گربه»، «سلاخ‌خانه شماره پنج» و «صبحانه قهرمانان» بیشتر مورد ستایش قرار گرفته‌ اند. در سال 1999 میلادی آستروئید یا سیارک 25399 را به بزرگداشت او «ونه گات» نامیدند. خلاصه این داستان: بیلی پیلگریم، قهرمان داستان، در زمان خدمت خود در ارتش آمریکا در جنگ جهانگیر دوم، قابلیت حرکت در زمان را پیدا می‌کند، و از آن لحظه به‌ طور همزمان در زمین، و در یک سیاره ی دور، به نام: ترالفامادور، زندگی خویش را پی می‌گیرد. او به فلسفه سرنوشت «ترالفامادور»ی ها باور پیدا می‌کند. آنها قادر به دیدن محیط خود در چهار بعد هستند؛ بنابراین از همه ی رخدادهای بگذشته و آینده باخبر هستند. واکنش او به رخدادهای ناخوشایندی که رخ می‌دهد، گفتن این جمله است: «بله! رسم روزگار چنین است». ا. شربیانی

  13. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    This book is an absolute masterpiece and it makes it clear in every single sentence. I think it is best to go into it without knowing too much about the plot. You just got to take it as it comes, so to say. Before reading, I was worried that I might have trouble with the writing style. English isn't my first language and the older a book is, the more trouble I seem to have with the writing (because of obsolete words, unusual sentence structures, ect.). However, my worry was totally for nothing in This book is an absolute masterpiece and it makes it clear in every single sentence. I think it is best to go into it without knowing too much about the plot. You just got to take it as it comes, so to say. Before reading, I was worried that I might have trouble with the writing style. English isn't my first language and the older a book is, the more trouble I seem to have with the writing (because of obsolete words, unusual sentence structures, ect.). However, my worry was totally for nothing in this case. I found the entire book very easy to read (which is even more surprising considering the heavy topics that get dealt with). I also loved how there were many little passages and repetitions of certain phrases. It seemed fitting somehow. I would have never guessed that the blend of a war story with Science Fiction could work so well! It gives it so much room for analysing and interpretation. Honestly, I could write a thousand more reasons why I loved this book, but in the end I would just repeat myself, because I seriously just loved every.single.little.thing! I highly recommend everyone to give it a shot.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dan Schwent

    Billy Pilgrim becomes unstuck in time and experiences the events of his life out of chronological order. War and absurdity ensue. I've never read Kurt Vonnegut up until now and when Slaughterhouse-Five showed up in my cheapo ebook email a few days ago, I decided it was time. Get it? Slaughterhouse-Five is often classified as science fiction but it reads more like Kurt Vonnegut trying to make sense of his World War II experiences through a humorous (at times) science fiction story. It also seems to Billy Pilgrim becomes unstuck in time and experiences the events of his life out of chronological order. War and absurdity ensue. I've never read Kurt Vonnegut up until now and when Slaughterhouse-Five showed up in my cheapo ebook email a few days ago, I decided it was time. Get it? Slaughterhouse-Five is often classified as science fiction but it reads more like Kurt Vonnegut trying to make sense of his World War II experiences through a humorous (at times) science fiction story. It also seems to be a Big Important Book, due to novelly things like themes of anti-war and the absurdities that come with it. It also uses a non-linear plot structure to illustrate the timey-wimey nature of Billy's affliction. There's not really a whole lot to tell. Slaughterhouse-Five is basically a collection of non-chronological events in Billy Pilgrim's life: his experiences in World War II, his life after the war, and his abduction by the Tralfamadorians, aliens who view events in time simultaneously rather than chronologically. The bleakness and black humor go together surprisingly well, like beer and White Castles. I have to wonder, though, if Slaughterhouse-Five would be as highly regarded as it is if it didn't land on so many banned book lists over the years. Nothing like some controversy to get people to read. While it wasn't pants-shittingly awesome, I enjoyed it quite a bit and I'll likely pick up another Vonnegut book in the future. Four out of five stars. So it goes.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Glenn Sumi

    This was my first Vonnegut book, but it won’t be my last. Back in high school, a friend gave me a paperback copy of Breakfast Of Champions, and I leafed through it, amused at the drawings, but didn’t read it. (I think I was going through my Salinger stage… or perhaps it was my Dickens stage.) Now I want to find it in my boxes of old things. I want to read more from this strange, misanthropic (?), genre-busting, inventive and oddly soulful and philosophical author. Slaughterhouse-Five has expanded This was my first Vonnegut book, but it won’t be my last. Back in high school, a friend gave me a paperback copy of Breakfast Of Champions, and I leafed through it, amused at the drawings, but didn’t read it. (I think I was going through my Salinger stage… or perhaps it was my Dickens stage.) Now I want to find it in my boxes of old things. I want to read more from this strange, misanthropic (?), genre-busting, inventive and oddly soulful and philosophical author. Slaughterhouse-Five has expanded in my imagination. The more I think about it and revisit certain passages, the more I admire it and recognize it as a great 20th century novel. Vonnegut writes these deceptively simple declarative sentences, jumps around in time, introduces characters who won’t reappear until much later (if at all), and sometimes stealthily buries the most moving and profound passages in the middle of some chapter that’s (seemingly) about something else. I won’t bother with a plot summary. The main character is the sweetly-named Billy Pilgrim, an optometrist with a wife and two children. As a tall, thin, sickly and generally incompetent American soldier and POW during WW2, he miraculously survived the firebombing of Dresden in 1945. After returning to America and continuing his life, he became “unstuck in time” – time-travelling various episodes, without any reason. Oh yeah, and at one point he was also abducted by aliens. Here is a picture of Dresden before the war. It was one of the most beautiful cities, often compared to Florence. And here is a picture after. The book is a puzzle it's up to the reader to figure out. How much is “real”? Are Billy’s memories caused by the aliens, by his experiences in the war? If you survived being slaughtered because of being hidden in a slaughterhouse, wouldn’t that kind of make you unhinged? It takes a while to get used to the structure, which at first seems arbitrary. But the deeper you get into the book you realize it's anything but. There are moments in the narration that take you aback, such as this one in Chapter 8: And then it developed that Campbell was not going to go unanswered after all. Poor old Derby, the doomed high school teacher, lumbered to his feet for what was probably the finest moment in his life. There are almost no characters in this story, and almost no dramatic confrontations, because most of the people in it are so sick and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces. One of the main effects of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters. Right in the middle of a paragraph, the narrator brings up the very thing you’re thinking about its characters (or non-characters), the lack of dramatic incident and cause and effect! One of the main effects of war is that people are discouraged from being characters. Fascinating. How do you make sense of something as absurd and senseless as war? Does something like cause and effect even apply to this situation? A page or two later, Vonnegut gives us this aside about the sci-fi writer Kilgore Trout, who I believe shows up in some other books: Trout, incidentally, had written a book about a money tree. It had twenty-dollar bills for leaves. Its flowers were government bonds. Its fruit was diamonds. It attracted human beings who killed each other around the roots and made very good fertilizer. So it goes. What an absolutely dead-on, if cynical, summation of the effects of a capitalist-driven society. And in an earlier section about the aliens on the planet Tralfamadore, we’re given this, told to Billy by a Tralfamadorian "voice": “There are no telegrams on Tralfamadore. But you’re right: each clump of symbols is a brief, urgent message – describing a situation, a scene. We Tralfamadorians read them all at once, not one after the other. There isn’t any particular relationship between all the messages, except that the author has chosen them carefully, so that, when seen all at once, they produce an image of life that is beautiful and surprising and deep. There is no beginning, no middle, no end, no suspense, no moral, no causes, no effects. What we love in our books are the depths of many marvelous moments seen all at one time.” Every word I’ve bolded applies to this book as well. In a way, many of them apply to life in general. The phrase that Vonnegut uses when he mentions a death – of any sort – in the book is quite simple: “So it goes.” There’s something so ordinary, resigned, and absurdly all-accepting about these three little words. Sometimes the effect is annoying, sometimes funny, and sometimes just devastating. Pay attention. We’ve been told how to read the book. When seen all at once, it “produces an image of life that is beautiful and surprising and deep.” Indeed. Art is a profound act of optimism, especially in the face of acts of meaningless violence and slaughter. So it goes.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    “Everything is nothing, with a twist.” ― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five I've read Slaughterhouse-Five several times and I'm still not sure I know exactly how Vonnegut pulls it off. It is primarily a postmodern, anti-war novel. It is an absurd look at war, memory, time, and humanity, but it is also gentle. Its prose emotionally feels (go ahead, pet the emotion) like the tug of the tides, the heaviness of sleep, the seduction of alcohol, the dizziness of love. His prose is simple, but beautiful “Everything is nothing, with a twist.” ― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five I've read Slaughterhouse-Five several times and I'm still not sure I know exactly how Vonnegut pulls it off. It is primarily a postmodern, anti-war novel. It is an absurd look at war, memory, time, and humanity, but it is also gentle. Its prose emotionally feels (go ahead, pet the emotion) like the tug of the tides, the heaviness of sleep, the seduction of alcohol, the dizziness of love. His prose is simple, but beautiful. Obviously, part of the brilliance of this novel is born from the reality that Vonnegut is largely playing the notes of his own song (obviously, obscured by an unreliable narrator, time that is unstuck, and generous kidnapping aliens). It is the song of someone who has seen horrible, horrible things but still wants to dance and smile (so a Totentanz?). Emperor, your sword won't help you out Sceptre and crown are worthless here I've taken you by the hand For you must come to my dance I had to work very much and very hard The sweat was running down my skin I'd like to escape death nonetheless But here I won't have any luck It is essentially art pulled out of the tension between despair and hope, grief and celebration, love and death. It is a classic not because it has a message about war, but because it has a message about life. Vonnegut aimed at war and hit everything.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Наталия Янева

    Bulgarian review below/Ревюто на български е по-долу ‘The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic.’ I heard this expression for the first time from a high school history teacher. We called him the Thug because he looked like a thug. I thought he had made the aforementioned conclusion himself as a historian and I was impressed. Years later I found out I had been very much confused and those were Stalin’s words, for he was more familiar with that kind of stuff… I’m temp Bulgarian review below/Ревюто на български е по-долу ‘The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic.’ I heard this expression for the first time from a high school history teacher. We called him the Thug because he looked like a thug. I thought he had made the aforementioned conclusion himself as a historian and I was impressed. Years later I found out I had been very much confused and those were Stalin’s words, for he was more familiar with that kind of stuff… I’m tempted to say ‘So it goes’ but I’ll refrain for now. You might think of ‘Slaughterhouse Five’ as a tragedy, an anti-war or even a science fiction novel. Once H. was looking for Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince’ in a bookstore and he was asked the very logical question ‘Is this in the sci-fi section?’, so you can never be sure in anything. If you saw pictures of Dresden’s ruins, you would certainly find something fantastical about them. It’s difficult to believe that where there were people and hopes, and life, there are only debris left. Walking in this Moon landscape is enough to leave a hollow in your soul, huge as a lifetime. ‘But sleep would not come. Tears came instead. They seeped.’ Billy Pilgrim is a pilgrim in time – he continues his pilgrimage to those years where his ill-starred consciousness had frozen like the three ladybugs within the amber of his paperweight… I don’t know if Billy Pilgrim is mentally ill. I think he isn’t and he simply saw what the other members of the human race are capable of. If normal people do things like these, maybe it’s better not to be a human. It’s probably not that bad to be a filthy flamingo. Or to be abducted on Tralfamadore. Or just to be a ladybug. When I was in kindergarten there was this little girl who had particular sadistic pleasure while stomping precisely on ladybugs. I got carried away. So it goes. There, I wrote it. ‘There are almost no characters in this story, and almost no dramatic confrontations, because most of the people in it are so sick and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces. One of the main effects of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters.’ Some would say the subject of war has been overexposed, slightly worn out and covered many times and the readers don’t quite give two hoots about it. After all WWII was nearly 75 years ago. What’s there to thresh out that much or even about WWI before that? We get it, people suffered. They were scared, they died. Tens, hundreds of thousands died. Statistic says so. The subject have been developed in many books, war films have become increasingly popular over the past few years and you can go to the movies with some popcorn and a coke and watch them in a very civilized manner. Consume, soothe your ego that you’re a vigilant citizen and you feel sorry, but are somehow indifferent to the people dying on the screen, numb several million more neurons to the battling afflictions of some strangers and finally go to bed, oh, it was such a long day and I have to go to work tomorrow. Maybe repeat after some time. People need emotions to connect. Personal touch. If someone tells us about the wretched life of another person, we cry. If we are shown a battlefield with thousands of corpses, our faces will set in a grim expression at best. The story of Billy Pilgrim is partly the story of Kurt Vonnegut and the emotions in ‘Slaughterhouse Five’ are real. They remind me of the Russian grandmother of a friend who survived through both World Wars (the grandmother, not my friend). When she watched reports on the Iraq War years ago, she cried inconsolably, because she thought WWIII was coming. Because she remembered the fear and the hunger. She remembered the war. I hope that she wasn’t right after all. Several years ago I was in Dresden. No Moon landscape anymore. It’s Earth landscape and it’s splendid. Charred stone blocks have been weaved into the rounded Baroque body of the Dresden Frauenkirche, which follow you like black reproaching eyes. The black eyes don’t blink and they remember. War is not a statistic. The rest of us are a statistic, we, who consider such events distant and having nothing to do with us. The statistic of dumbfounded numbers. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ „Смъртта на един човек е трагедия, смъртта на милиони е статистика.“ За пръв път чух този израз от един учител по история в гимназията. Викахме му Главореза, защото приличаше на главорез. Мислех, че той сам е достигнал до горецитирания извод като историк и бях впечатлена. Години по-късно разбрах, че съществено съм се объркала и това са думи на Сталин, на когото от първа ръка са му били доста по-ясни тия неща… Изкушавам се да добавя „Така е то“, но ще се въздържа засега. Възможно е да разглеждате „Кланица 5“ като трагедия, като антивоенен роман или дори като фантастика. Веднъж Х. търсил в една книжарница „Владетелят“ на Макиавели и му задали съвсем логичния въпрос „Това при фантастиката ли е?“, така че човек никога не може да е сигурен. А ако сте разглеждали снимки на дрезденските отломки, в тях наистина има нещо фантастично. Трудно е да повярваш, че там, където е имало град и хора, и надежди, и живот, в един момент са останали само развалини. И да вървиш сред този „лунен пейзаж“ е достатъчно да остави зев в душата, дълбок колкото цял живот. „… сънят не идваше. Вместо него дойдоха сълзите. Те закапаха.“ Били Пилгрим е пилигрим във времето – той непрестанно прави своето поклонение до онези години, където злочестото му съзнание е застинало като трите божи кравички в кехлибара на преспапието му… Не зная дали Били Пилгрим е психично болен. Мисля, че не е и просто е видял на какво са способни останалите членове на човешката раса. Ако нормалните хора правят такива неща, може би е по-добре да не си човек. Вероятно не е чак толкова лошо да си нечисто фламинго. Да си отвлечен на Тралфамадор. Или просто да си божа кравичка. Когато бях в детската градина, имаше едно момиченце, което с особено садистично удоволствие обичаше да мачка именно божи кравички. Отплеснах се. Така е то. Ето, написах го. „В този разказ няма почти никакви герои, почти никакви драматични колизии, защото повечето хора в него са толкова болни, и защото до голяма степен са безжизнени играчки в ръцете на огромни сили. В края на краищата един от главните резултати на войната е, че човек престава да бъде личност.“ Някой би казал, че темата за войната е преекспонирана, позахабена и въртяна доста пъти и на читателите вече не им дреме особено за нея. Все пак Втората световна война е била преди почти 75 години. Какво толкова има да я нищим, че и оная преди нея. Ясно, на хората им е било зле. Страхували са се, умирали са. Мрели са с десетки, със стотици хиляди. Така казва статистиката. Тематиката е развита в доста книги, военните филми набират популярност през последните години и можеш културно да идеш с пуканки и кòла да си ги гледаш на кино. Да изконсумираш, да си позагладиш егото, че и ти си буден гражданин и ти е мъчно, ама и някак равнодушно за мрящите на екрана, да ти се обезчувствят още няколко милиона неврона към баталните несрети на някакви непознати и да си легнеш накрая, ох, че дълъг ден беше, пък и утре съм на работа. Ние, хората, имаме нужда от емоции, за да се свързваме. От лично усещане. Ако ни разкажат за нещастния живот на човек, плачем. Ако ни покажат бойно поле с хиляди умрели, в най-добрия случай гледаме мрачно. Историята на Били Пилгрим е отчасти историята на Кърт Вонегът и емоциите в „Кланица 5“ са истински. Те ми напомнят и за бабата рускиня на една моя приятелка, която беше преживяла и двете световни войни (бабата, не приятелката). Когато преди години гледала по телевизията за войната в Ирак, плакала неудържимо, защото си мислела, че идва Трета световна война. Защото помнела страха и глада. Помнела войната. Надявам се все пак да не е била права. Преди няколко години се разхождах из Дрезден. Пейзажът отдавна вече не е лунен. Земен е и то разкошен. В реконструираното закръглено бароково тяло на Фрауенкирхе са вплетени обгорели камъни, които те следят като черни укорителни очи. Черните очи не мигат и помнят. Войната не е статистика. Тя е масова трагедия. Статистика сме ние останалите, които гледаме на такива събития като далечни и нямащи нищо общо с нас. Статистиката на онемелите числа.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bookdragon Sean

    My review got deleted (along with all its comments and likes) because of some silly little bug. I contacted goodreads and they apologised though I’m still a little sad. It was one of my most popular. Full review now back up! *********************** Every so often you read a book, a book that takes everything you thought created an excellent novel and tears it to pieces; it then sets it on fire and throws it out the window in a display of pure individual brilliance. That is how I felt when I read t My review got deleted (along with all its comments and likes) because of some silly little bug. I contacted goodreads and they apologised though I’m still a little sad. It was one of my most popular. Full review now back up! *********************** Every so often you read a book, a book that takes everything you thought created an excellent novel and tears it to pieces; it then sets it on fire and throws it out the window in a display of pure individual brilliance. That is how I felt when I read this jumbled and absurd, yet fantastic, novel. The book has no structure or at the very least a perceivable one: it’s all over the place. But, it works so well. It cements the book’s message and purpose underlining its meaning. Indeed, this book is an anti-war novel, which is asserted (in part) through its random and confusing organisation. The story is “jumbled and jangled” such as the meaning of war. It appears pointless to the reader, again alluding to the meaning of war. It also suggests that after the war a soldier’s life is in ruins and has no clear direction, which can be seen with the sad case of Billy Pilgrim. So it goes. Billy Pilgrim is a poor tortured soul who after the fire-bombing of Dresden is in a state of flux. His mind cannot remain in the present and darts back and forth in time like the narrative. He was never the most assertive of men, and after the war became a shadow of his already meek self. The war has left him delusional, which is manifested by his abduction by aliens. This may or may not have happened. Vonnegut leaves it up to the reader to decide. What decision they make effects what genre the novel belongs to. Is it science fiction? If Billy was abducted by aliens then this is sci-fi, but if it is a figment of his imagination then this becomes something much deeper. It’s up to the reader how they interpret it, but I personally believe that he wasn’t abducted. I think he made it up, unconsciously, as a coping strategy for the effects of war, and that the author has used it as a tool to raise questions of the futility of free will, but more importantly to further establish the anti-war theme. Vonnegut draws on a multitude of sources to establish this further, such as the presidential address of Truman. He ironically suggests that the A-bomb, whilst devastating, is no worse than ordinary war; he points out the fact that the fire-bombing of Dresden killed more than the nuking of Hiroshima. Through this he uses Billy Pilgrim’s life as a metaphor for what war for the effects of war on the human state. So it goes. Vonnegut himself is a character within the narrative as the life of Billy Pilgrim is, in part, an autobiographical statement. The narrator addresses the reader and informs them of this. He tells them that this all happened more or less. This establishes the black humour towards war and the inconsequential deaths of those that are in it. Hence the motif “so it goes” at each, and every, mention of death whether large or small. He ends the book on the line “poo-te-weet.” He even tells the reader he is going to do this, but at the same time demonstrates that there is nothing intelligible to be said about war. I warn you, if you’ve not read this, it is one of the most bizarre books you will ever read. The main character time travels, in his mind, and has no real present state. The narrative initially appears random and completely confusing. But, once you reach the end you’ll see this book for what it is: the most individual, and unique, statement against war that will ever be written.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dave Russell

    Why do I love this book? I love it because of the villains. Not just the obviously villainous Paul Lazzaro--although he's one of the great villains of modern fiction. During the hellishness of war all he can think about is his own petty need to avenge slights done to him--but the larger, less obvious villains in this book: the Tralfamdorians. They’re not the type of villainous space aliens you see in most science fiction, arriving in flying saucers and hell bent on enslaving humanity, only to be Why do I love this book? I love it because of the villains. Not just the obviously villainous Paul Lazzaro--although he's one of the great villains of modern fiction. During the hellishness of war all he can think about is his own petty need to avenge slights done to him--but the larger, less obvious villains in this book: the Tralfamdorians. They’re not the type of villainous space aliens you see in most science fiction, arriving in flying saucers and hell bent on enslaving humanity, only to be stopped by some intrepid space cadet. (Vonnegut hated being categorized as "science fiction" because most science fiction at the time was just juvenile male wish fulfillment, which he clearly was not interested in. In fact he kind of satirizes that kind of thing in this book.) His aliens are much more fascinating than that. The Tralfamdorians aren't much interested in Jesus Christ's message of universal love. They're more interested in the message of Charles Darwin, that beings die to improve the species. (At least that's the message as they see it. Like I said they're villains.) To them the idea of free will is silly. (Well, villains can be right sometimes.) The world is structured in a way that everything that happens is meant to happen and there's nothing we can do about it. Concern for human feelings is useless and therefore we shouldn't give a second thought to massacres and slaughter. Just say "and so it goes," and move on. This was certainly the feeling of the Nazis with their belief in the destiny of the everlasting Reich (or whatever the phrase is,) and the Communists with their belief that the road to the future must be built on the corpses of the present. (Stalin’s most famous saying—"One death is a tragedy. One million deaths is a statistic.") To Billy--like Vonnegut, a witness to the slaughter at Dresden--they provide an escape. They put him in an enclosure where all his needs, material and sexual, are met and where he is protected from the poisonous gas outside. To mankind their philosophy provides an escape from moral responsibility. In the first chapter of the book Vonnegut tells his friend he is writing an anti-war book. His friend responds that he "might as well write an anti-glacier book," and Vonnegut kind of agrees with him. Wars, like glaciers, can’t be stopped. And yet he wrote the book anyway. Yes, death is inevitable, but to Vonnegut humanity is also worth mourning. What happened to Edgar Derby is worth relating, and we should be moved by it. Vonnegut is not satisfied to sum up Edgar’s death with the phrase, "and so it goes." I love this book because Vonnegut conjures up this fascinating alien race with a view of life that provides an opportunity for escape, but then punctures the illusion by showing that it is as facile as it is attractive.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Shannon (Giraffe Days)

    Contains spoilers Slaughterhouse-Five is about a man called Billy Pilgrim who time-travels frequently. He was in the Second World War and, captured, was sent to Dresden to work in a malt syrup factory before the city was bombed. He studied optometry and had a nervous breakdown. He married the daughter of a rich optometrist, and became rich as well. He was abducted by aliens called Tralfamadorians, who put him in a zoo with a young porn actress, Montana Wildhack, whom they also abducted. He had a Contains spoilers Slaughterhouse-Five is about a man called Billy Pilgrim who time-travels frequently. He was in the Second World War and, captured, was sent to Dresden to work in a malt syrup factory before the city was bombed. He studied optometry and had a nervous breakdown. He married the daughter of a rich optometrist, and became rich as well. He was abducted by aliens called Tralfamadorians, who put him in a zoo with a young porn actress, Montana Wildhack, whom they also abducted. He had a daughter called Barbara and a son called Robert. He was in a plane crash that killed everyone except him and the co-pilot. Rushing to the hospital in frantic worry, his wife Valencia dies in a car accident. He gets to meet his favourite author, an unsuccessful sci-fi writer called Kilgore Trout. "Slaughterhouse-Five" is the name of the building where the American POWs lived in in Dresden. Because the narration jumps around as frequently as Billy does, you learn everything early on and then simply revisit it all. The fractured narrative is worse than watching ads in a commercial break, or those horrible pop songs where the scenes and costumes change every two seconds - it gives you a headache. It's extremely boring, and hollow, and unsatisfying. I'm not a huge sci-fi fan, as you know. But I do like time-travel stories. Billy is nothing like Henry from The Time Traveler's Wife. For a start, not even a second seems to pass in "real" time while he is travelling - no one ever notices. It seems less like time-travelling than like reliving the past, present and future of your life, all at once, because it's his consciousness that does the travelling. What isn't clear, at all, is which is the real Billy? He moves so much, you have to wonder how he doesn't become completely dislodged from his own corporeal self and go mad. The time-travelling predates the abduction-by-aliens, but the aliens themselves see the past, present and future simultaneously, and teach Billy their philosophy of not really caring about anything, since nothing can be changed etc. etc. Fatalism. I think I hated this book, but not quite. Hate is a strong emotion and I don't think it brought that out in me. It wasn't even frustrating, nor even particularly confusing, though the repetition of the Tralfamadorian expression "so it goes" was so irritating I saw red a few times. The bits about the 100 American POWs being welcomed by the British POWs in a German prison camp was delightful, though boldly stereotyped, and I loved the excerpts from the work on American soldiers and prisoners-of-war by the American-turned-Nazi, forget his name, something Campbell. A lot of it - and it's a small, short book - could easily be skipped. The temptation was very strong. In short, it's a very "postmodern" story, and like all things postmodern, it's impractical, disjointed, a bit wanky, tries too hard, is extremely out-dated and, at the end of the day, rather useless. Vonnegut is also very heavy-handed and bangs you on the head with his messages. It doesn't really inspire me to read more of Vonnegut's work. I guess he's a love-him-or-hate-him kind of story-teller.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Seemita

    Kurt Vonnegut. Four syllables, once pronounced, suspends in the air like a rock star swishing his name into the air for chanters to latch on and treble the echo. Slaughter-House Five, god knows how many syllables (depending on stress-points of your tongue), once sprinkled from the nozzle of mouth, hangs again in the air like a vagabond wrapper not finding a parapet to land. Perhaps both could have gone their way and not bothered to float into my fairly tranquil world. But they chose to break the Kurt Vonnegut. Four syllables, once pronounced, suspends in the air like a rock star swishing his name into the air for chanters to latch on and treble the echo. Slaughter-House Five, god knows how many syllables (depending on stress-points of your tongue), once sprinkled from the nozzle of mouth, hangs again in the air like a vagabond wrapper not finding a parapet to land. Perhaps both could have gone their way and not bothered to float into my fairly tranquil world. But they chose to break the silence. So it goes. War time account is what both brought with them. They could have made the ‘screeching’ delivery (yes, there are types; go, search and look for keywords ‘gore’, ‘murder’, ‘gunshot’, ‘scabies’, ‘rabies’, ‘bleeding’, ‘one-legged’ to arrive at this type ), persuading the jingoist in me to pop to tired life. But both instead chose the ‘absurd’ delivery: non-linear events (time travel, ha!), comical alien world (really?), world within world (what’s that?) and an eccentric potpourri dedicated to memento mori (no pun intended). So it goes. I have read Dostoyevsky and that man loves darkness. But this man (and his creation) loves death. No exclamations, no guffaws please; not when he propels his thought with this: ‘He became a doctor, and he treated poor people in the daytime, and he wrote grotesque novels all night. No art is possible without a dance with death, he wrote’ . I could have overlooked such pomposity with a condescending hand and even the eclectic profundity of ’ The Earthling figure who is most engaging to the Tralfamadorian mind, he says, is Charles Darwin—who taught that those who die are meant to die, that corpses are improvements’ with a lukewarm shrug. But I stuck like a blinking golliwog, with eyes dancing to the shadows of death. So it goes. You don’t know the Trafalmadorian world that the duo glorifies in full splendor and there isn’t much necessity to. If you insist (which all Earthlings do), it is this: people like you and me go there to live a life that cannot be envisaged in the world incubating us – Trafalmadorians let you live with arms and without arms (you don’t get it? Read it again; I did.), they keep you insulated from the past, present and future that are otherwise marked with red splotches and black marks, they erase the multiplicities of faith system, effectively setting the most volatile part to rest and they are funny. But the Trafalmadorians are a vulnerable lot which became rather apparent at their inability to stop their inmates from slipping through the porous boundaries of war-afflicted memories and reconstructed memories. So it goes. I was now tempered to balance on that boundary; of fiction and fact, of figment and whole. The duo still sounded weird but substantially weird. And I know one thing for sure: when someone holds me long captivated with excessive humor, I invariably become the beneficiary of stark truths hidden under his tongue. So, I lurked around till this duo pulled aside a curtain and showed me a slaughter-house. It was supposed to house meat but instead housed prisoners; and incidentally, turned a good refuge till it lasted. So it goes. As I was about to alight and walk into the slaughter-house myself, the twosome giggled in mock incredulity, flicked the sand time-keeper upside down and blurted, How nice -- to feel nothing, and still get full credit for being alive. And all of a sudden, with just a switch, we swapped places and it was I who was fighting the wars, licking my scars, shoveling bodies, snapping bonds, mimicking death, eulogizing events and peeking from a window towards a world that still hadn't changed character and was continuing to pay no heed to me. I wondered what happened. But there was no one; no Vonnegut, no Slaughter-House, just a little bird squeaking ‘Poo-tee-weet’ and pointing to a board that I, in hopelessly haggard state, gaped, as it read, So it goes.

  22. 4 out of 5

    William2

    The novel is a fabulist take on the destruction of Dresden—the Florence of the Elbe, the Jewel Box—by Allied Bombing at the end of World War II. Author Vonnegut witnessed the mayhem as a 23-year old American POW. There are no characters here, really. Billy Pilgrim and the others are flat flat flat. Vonnegut's point being that the suffering brought on by the war dehumanized and diminished everyone to one-dimensionality. It's an interesting idea and a perfect match for his spare style. I remember The novel is a fabulist take on the destruction of Dresden—the Florence of the Elbe, the Jewel Box—by Allied Bombing at the end of World War II. Author Vonnegut witnessed the mayhem as a 23-year old American POW. There are no characters here, really. Billy Pilgrim and the others are flat flat flat. Vonnegut's point being that the suffering brought on by the war dehumanized and diminished everyone to one-dimensionality. It's an interesting idea and a perfect match for his spare style. I remember reading the book thirty years ago and thinking it rather comic. On this second reading the humor morphed to bleakest gravitas. The phrase "so it goes," repeated after every mention of death, becomes tiresome. Halfway through I started mentally deleting it from the text. This improved the book somewhat. There is a section in which Billy Pilgrim, due to his capture by extraterrestrials—the Tralfamadorians—for whom time is constant, not linear, watches a war film in reverse.American planes, full of holes and wounded men and corpses took off backwards from an airfield in England. Over France, a few German planes flew at them backward, sucked bullets and shell fragments from some of the planes and crewmen. . . The formation flew backwards over a German city that was in flames. The bombers opened their bomb bay doors, exerted a miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical steel containers, and lifted the containers into the bellies of the planes. The containers were stored neatly in racks. The Germans below had miraculous devices of their own, which were long steel tubes. They used them to suck more fragments from the crewmen and planes. But there were still a few wounded Americans, though, and some of the bombers were in bad repair. Over France, though, German fighters came up again, and made everything and everybody as good as new This germ of an idea, I suspect, was later expanded by Martin Amis in his Holocaust novel, Time's Arrow. Here's a brief quote from Time's Arrow to support my claim: We'd picked up this batch from the mass grave, in the woods, and stood waiting by the van on the approach road while the carbon monoxide went about its work. All my men were dressed as doctors . . . waiting for the familiar volley of shouts and thumps from within . . . . We then drove them closer to town, where one of our men was readying the piles of clothes. Out they all filed. Among them was a mother and a baby, both naked, naturally, for now. The baby was weeping in a determined, muscular, long-haul rhythm, probably from earache. We then escorted this group of thirty souls into a low warehouse littered with primitive sewing machines and spindles . . . These Jews, led by the weeping baby, made their solemn way past a series of curtains and blankets and, one by one, backed their way through a missing panel in the wall. This panel I myself replaced with a softly spoken "Guten Tag." I don't know. I was moved, by their continued silence, by the baby's muffled cries. "Raus! Raus!" I shouted—to the men who romped off to explore the perimeter and to lay out some trinkets, and some food, some bread and tomatoes, say, as was traditional for the Jews later use.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Rating: 4.5* of five The Publisher Says: Kurt Vonnegut's absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden. Don't let the ease of reading fool you Rating: 4.5* of five The Publisher Says: Kurt Vonnegut's absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden. Don't let the ease of reading fool you - Vonnegut's isn't a conventional, or simple, novel. He writes, "There are almost no characters in this story, and almost no dramatic confrontations, because most of the people in it are so sick, and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces. One of the main effects of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters." Slaughterhouse-Five is not only Vonnegut's most powerful book, it is also as important as any written since 1945. Like Catch- 22, it fashions the author's experiences in the Second World War into an eloquent and deeply funny plea against butchery in the service of authority. Slaughterhouse-Five boasts the same imagination, humanity, and gleeful appreciation of the absurd found in Vonnegut's other works, but the book's basis in rock-hard, tragic fact gives it a unique poignancy - and humor. My Review: The Doubleday UK meme, a book a day for July 2014, is the goad I'm using to get through my snit-based unwritten reviews. Today's prompt is to select your very favorite American novel in honor of the Fourth of July. Well! That would take a few zillion hours of internal debate, creation of endless lists, rebellious actions like breaking things down into genre lists, muttering over who counts as American (Teju Cole is, but Henry James isn't: Discuss), etc. etc. Decision made for me, in this case, by the fact that I'm trying to strong-arm myself into making a dent in the embarrassingly long list of things I've read, re-read, or abandoned since I got all grumpus. And here we are! If anyone has not read this book, and is under the age of 90 while over the age of 17/senior year of high school, go immediately forth, procure this book, and read it. Why? Beacuse: “America is the wealthiest nation on Earth, but its people are mainly poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves. To quote the American humorist Kin Hubbard, 'It ain’t no disgrace to be poor, but it might as well be.' It is in fact a crime for an American to be poor, even though America is a nation of poor. Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by the American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters. The meanest eating or drinking establishment, owned by a man who is himself poor, is very likely to have a sign on its wall asking this cruel question: 'if you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?' There will also be an American flag no larger than a child’s hand – glued to a lollipop stick and flying from the cash register. Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue. Their most destructive untruth is that it is very easy for any American to make money. They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by, and, therefore, those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves. This inward blame has been a treasure for the rich and powerful, who have had to do less for their poor, publicly and privately, than any other ruling class since, say Napoleonic times. Many novelties have come from America. The most startling of these, a thing without precedent, is a mass of undignified poor. They do not love one another because they do not love themselves.” That is all. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Foad

    کتاب بی نظیر بود. لحن طنز برای توصیف کشتارهای وحشتناک، ترکیب داستان جنگ با داستان علمی تخیلی و فانتزی، و وقایع و شخصیت های زیاد. همه و همه کتاب رو تبدیل به یه اثر لذت بخش کرده بودن.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    A disturbingly comedic (or comically disturbing?) satire of the inevitability of war, the age old fate vs. free will argument, and the gross desensitization of death, Slaughterhouse-Five analyzes the effects of the Bombing of Dresden on World War II veteran Billy Pilgrim. Told in a nonlinear narrative that is common for Vonnegut, this novel employs the rare literary device I like to call “Twilight Zone–ish extraterrestrialism,” which serves to highlight both the absurdity of free will as well as A disturbingly comedic (or comically disturbing?) satire of the inevitability of war, the age old fate vs. free will argument, and the gross desensitization of death, Slaughterhouse-Five analyzes the effects of the Bombing of Dresden on World War II veteran Billy Pilgrim. Told in a nonlinear narrative that is common for Vonnegut, this novel employs the rare literary device I like to call “Twilight Zone–ish extraterrestrialism,” which serves to highlight both the absurdity of free will as well as Pilgrim’s sense of temporal confusion resulting from his experiences with war. So it goes.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Raeleen Lemay

    WHAT A STRANGE BOOK. I definitely didn't love it, but there were certain parts that I adored. The Tralfamadorians have a really interesting view of life and Earth (the 4th dimension, bro... WHOA) and I really liked the parts that involved them.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bram

    This novel has a pretty basic and consistent structure: a few paragraphs of humorous (I think) writing that has the presumed purpose of loosening you up before you get to the sucker-punch paragraph that contains something disturbing/death-related followed by "so it goes." And if the "so it goes" wasn't there to remind you that this is the part where death happens, Vonnegut hammers the point home by relaying it an inhumanly cool, dry, and nonchalant manner. How coy and provocative. Maybe Vonnegut This novel has a pretty basic and consistent structure: a few paragraphs of humorous (I think) writing that has the presumed purpose of loosening you up before you get to the sucker-punch paragraph that contains something disturbing/death-related followed by "so it goes." And if the "so it goes" wasn't there to remind you that this is the part where death happens, Vonnegut hammers the point home by relaying it an inhumanly cool, dry, and nonchalant manner. How coy and provocative. Maybe Vonnegut could have helped the reader along a little more with a footnote: "See what I did there? By having my narrator relate stories of war and death in an apathetic manner, I made you really think about these issues. Didn't I? Huh? Huh?" Yes, we get it, Kurt. Part way through reading this book, I was sharing my disappointment with a friend who mentioned that Vonnegut, like the narrator, had actually witnessed the Dresden bombings. This apologia left me momentarily chastened as I considered the sobering impetus for the story. Then I mentally slapped myself for even considering that sympathy could cover for the stylistic bludgeoning that Vonnegut inflicted. I suppose there was a well thought out reason for making the prose stuttering and choppy, but I can't imagine what that would actually be (nor would I care to). Interestingly enough, Vonnegut may have been aware of this stylistic shortcoming: speaking of Billy's favorite obscure sci-fi author, he writes that "Trout's prose is frightful. Only his ideas are good." Kilgore Trout and his writing apparently feature in other Vonnegut books, and a Washington Post reviewer in the mid 70s contended that "Trout's prose is at least as good as Vonnegut's." Exactly. And were the philosophical musings on time and fate, revealed primarily through unimaginative and silly sci-fi ramblings, supposed to be novel or even vaguely interesting? It's like he took Tolstoy's ruminations on fate and free will in War and Peace and then removed all the complexities and internal dissonance. In the second half of the story, I did find myself mildly interested in what was happening. Perhaps I became accustomed to the writing or the pain just dulled after a while. Regardless, this book crossed the overrated line so egregiously that I can't muster a second star. Heavy-handed, prosaic, unfunny. So it goes.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Samadrita

    Neither does a war bring glory nor does a win in one ensure the moral infallibility of an ideology over a conflicting one. Because, essentially, war justifies countering genocide by perpetrating more genocide. We all know that, right? But no, we don't. We only think we do. And that is what Kurt Vonnegut wishes to tell his reader, in a calm, disinterested and emotionless voice in Slaughterhouse-Five. He informs us, in a matter-of-fact tone, that we don't know the first thing about a war and proceed Neither does a war bring glory nor does a win in one ensure the moral infallibility of an ideology over a conflicting one. Because, essentially, war justifies countering genocide by perpetrating more genocide. We all know that, right? But no, we don't. We only think we do. And that is what Kurt Vonnegut wishes to tell his reader, in a calm, disinterested and emotionless voice in Slaughterhouse-Five. He informs us, in a matter-of-fact tone, that we don't know the first thing about a war and proceeds to explain to us what it really is, by fashioning a narrative as abstruse, disjointed and meaningless as war itself. I must make a confession despite how morbid this may sound. I have a thing for war books because reading about the two World Wars which helped define our identity as a civilization in the last century is endlessly fascinating. And despite the horrendous nature of crimes against humanity that were committed in both, these two wars held up a mirror in front of us, helped us recognize our own failings as human beings and rectify our mistakes. Which is why I agree with Tan Twan Eng's views on World War II - "Moments in time when the world is changing bring out the best and the worst in people." But Vonnegut neither eulogizes war nor seeks to make our hearts bleed for the unimaginable loss and suffering it brings. Instead, he gives the traditional perspective on war a new twist by giving us a prolonged glimpse into the mind of a prisoner of war who was, perhaps, able to survive the brunt of it all, by detaching himself from his own reality and seeking solace in dimensions which only existed inside his head. Billy Pilgrim's life or the way he viewed his own life in retrospect, appears to be as chaotic and nonsensical as the war he served in. It is the sheer absurdity of the concept of war that takes center stage in this highly experimental novel - how the unfortunate victims of it carry on with their broken lives with a perverse sense of humor in the face of mindless brutality and utter madness. I definitely look forward to reading more of Vonnegut now.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jr Bacdayan

    I was eating a hotdog right after reading Slaughterhouse-Five, and as I was contemplating on what to write for my review, I was suddenly attacked by a bunch of three-headed toads. They called themselves "the three-headed toads" and they wore Mexican sombreros and Nickelback t-shirts. They were roughly the size of Peter Dinklage and were colored from neon pink to dark orange. For some unknown reason, their leader named Pedro the Pope decided to declare war on hotdog eating humans. I was tragicall I was eating a hotdog right after reading Slaughterhouse-Five, and as I was contemplating on what to write for my review, I was suddenly attacked by a bunch of three-headed toads. They called themselves "the three-headed toads" and they wore Mexican sombreros and Nickelback t-shirts. They were roughly the size of Peter Dinklage and were colored from neon pink to dark orange. For some unknown reason, their leader named Pedro the Pope decided to declare war on hotdog eating humans. I was tragically their first victim. I wet my pants. As the toad named Lollipop Susanna tried to poke me with a rusty Swiss-knife, Pedro the Pope saw in my hand Slaughterhouse-Five. He read it from cover-to-cover in about 37 seconds. Three-headed toads read very fast. Surprisingly, it was the only fast thing they could do. They read lots of books, and somewhere along one of those books, they read that hotdogs caused global-warming. They despised hotdogs. So it goes. After reading Slaughterhouse-Five, Pedro the Pope decided that he didn't like wars anymore. He now despised wars more than hotdogs. He was very easy to convince. Hanky-doodle, the neon pink toad with a disposable spork on his hand, suddenly burst out with random shrieks of "Snakes are noodle-pussies! Snakes are noodle-pussies!" He was not right in the heads. I was mortified. I wet my pants again. So it goes. Pedro the Pope then asked me if whether or not I knew where Tralfamadore was. Three-headed toads did not understand the concept of fiction. I decided to point him in the general direction of my toilet. I said there was a portal there and that all they needed to do was to flush away. After a few moments, I heard some serious flushing. The last thing I heard was "Ribbit!" So it goes. I waited a few moments to make sure that they weren't there anymore. When I came in, I saw something written using lipstick on my toilet: "WaRz R nuT kool!" I wet my pants with a steady stream of urine joy.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jilly

    This book in a nutshell: After just reading another classic, my son came up to me and asked me to buddy-read this one with him. Then, my daughter said she would join us. What am I supposed to say to that? "I'm sorry, my children. I know that you would be greatly enriched by reading classic literature and having a literary discussion with me, but I would rather read about vampires having sex. Now, go get mommy some wine and then lock yourselves in your rooms to play video games." Seriously? Like I This book in a nutshell: After just reading another classic, my son came up to me and asked me to buddy-read this one with him. Then, my daughter said she would join us. What am I supposed to say to that? "I'm sorry, my children. I know that you would be greatly enriched by reading classic literature and having a literary discussion with me, but I would rather read about vampires having sex. Now, go get mommy some wine and then lock yourselves in your rooms to play video games." Seriously? Like I would ever do that! (Although... do you think it would work? I'm not going to do it or anything. I'm asking for a friend.) But, surprisingly, or maybe not so much, I always end up enjoying these classic books and usually understand what all the hoopla over them was. This book was freaking amazing. Like many of these type of books, it was weird as hell, but still amazing. Here's what you need to know: Billy Pilgrim is abducted by aliens and learns that time is not linear at all. This gives us the reason for why the story is constantly jumping from past to present to future. We revisit many events in his life with a major focus on his time in the war. He was a POW and was witness to the bombing of Dresden, which actually happened to Kurt Vonnegut. It is very obvious that he lost his marbles during the war, so we have a case of an unreliable narrator. Personally, I love unreliable narrator books when they are done well, and this one is. There is so much meat in this book. So much symbolism. So many deep thoughts. So much philosophy, that I felt like my brain might explode. Let's face it, on a normal day my deepest thought is wondering what my dog is thinking. This dog has seen some things. Of course, my dogs probably have less going on in their heads than this guy. They haven't seen things. I close the bathroom door so they don't see me naked. They don't need that kind of stress in their lives. Anyway, if you were expecting a literary review and thoughtful analysis of this book from me, I'll just ask you if you even know me at all. Of course I was going to go off on rabbit trails, put in gifs and memes and basically bring it all back to being about my dogs or food. That's what I do. If you want something in depth and thoughtful, go to a smart reviewers review. If you want to know what some shlub with a potty mouth and a sense of humor thinks - I liked it. But, now it's back to trashy romance.

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