Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse Five

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Adapted for a magnificent George Roy Hill film three years later (perhaps the only film adaptation of a masterpiece which exceeds its source), Slaughterhouse-Five (1969) is the now famous parable of Billy Pilgrim, a World War II veteran and POW, who has in the later stage of his life become “unstuck in time” and who experiences at will (or unwillingly) all known events of his chronology out of order and sometimes simultaneously.
Traumatized by the bombing of Dresden at the time he had been imprisoned, Pilgrim drifts through all events and history, sometimes deeply implicated, sometimes a witness. He is surrounded by Vonnegut’s usual large cast of continuing characters (notably here the hack science fiction writer Kilgore Trout and the alien Tralmafadorians who oversee his life and remind him constantly that there is no causation, no order, no motive to existence).
The “unstuck” nature of Pilgrim’s experience may constitute an early novelistic use of what we now call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; then again, Pilgrim’s aliens may be as “real” as Dresden is real to him. Struggling to find some purpose, order or meaning to his existence and humanity’s, Pilgrim meets the beauteous and mysterious Montana Wildhack (certainly the author’s best character name), has a child with her and drifts on some supernal plane, finally, in which Kilgore Trout, the Tralmafadorians, Montana Wildhack and the ruins of Dresden do not merge but rather disperse through all planes of existence.
Slaughterhouse-Fivewas hugely successful, brought Vonnegut an enormous audience, was a finalist for the National Book Award and a bestseller and remains four decades later as timeless and shattering a war fiction as Catch-22, with which it stands as the two signal novels of their riotous and furious decade.

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180 printed pages

Impressions

    Kostya Didurshared an impression3 years ago
    👍Worth reading

    I enjoyed this book a lot. This is a very unusual take on the WWll theme.

    Anna Voronkovashared an impression4 years ago
    👍Worth reading

    Must read. Specially recommended for American officials with short memory.

    Stanislav Butovskiyshared an impression5 years ago
    👍Worth reading

    Amazing!

Quotes

    tontchahas quoted12 days ago
    I have this disease late at night sometimes, involving alcohol and the telephone.
    samairaveerabhadrahas quoted3 months ago
    History in her solemn page informs us that the Crusaders were but ignorant and savage men,

    that their motives were those of bigotry unmitigated, and that their pathway was one of blood and

    tears. Romance, on the other hand, dilates upon their piety and heroism, and portrays, in her most

    glowing and impassioned hues, their virtue and magnanimity, the imperishable honor they acquired

    for themselves, and the great services they rendered to Christianity
    b8366389081has quoted4 months ago
    And we were flown to a rest camp in France, where we were fed chocolate malted milkshakes and other rich foods until we were all covered with baby fat. Then we were sent home, and I married a pretty girl who was covered with baby fat, too.
    And we had babies

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