Author: Kurt Vonnegut // First published: 1969 // Genre: Science Fiction, Classics
This edition: 275 pages, published in 2009 by Dial Press // Get it @TheBookDepository
Read in April 2015
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
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 (taken from the name of the building where the POWs were held) is not only Vonnegut’s most powerful book, it is 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.
First off, I need to say this: If you are considering reading this book, try as best you can to read it in one sitting. Take a lunch break in the middle if you need to, but start the book, and don’t stop until you have finished it.
I am saying this because the writing style is quite peculiar, and because of the story, it reads a little bit like stream of consciousness, and you jump from a place to another in no time and almost no transition, so you have to be committed to your reading and to the story to enjoy it the most. At least I’m guessing… I thought I would be able to finish this quite quickly, but a nasty headache made an appearance and it therefore took me a lot more time to read it than I had anticipated. And because of this, I think I wasn’t able to appreciate the book as much as I should have.
At the start of the book, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to follow along, because of the peculiar aspect of the story and way it is told. I found that it was weirdly easy to read, though. The jumping back and forth from a time period to an other needs a little getting used to, but once you’re in, you can follow everything quite easily.
Another thing that I regret not doing is taking notes while reading. I believe I would have been able to take away more of the story if I had taken a few notes or marked a few passages.
No matter, I’ll re-read this someday, all in one day, while taking notes.
It’ll be 4/5 stars for this book. And for once I don’t have another paragraph to write about how or why I gave this rating. So it goes.