Sunday, May 27, 2007


Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I was a little taken aback to hear that Kurt Vonnegut passed away today. What a coincidence, since I had just finished what is touted as his "anti-war masterpiece." The book was originally published in 1969 during the Vietnam War, but deals with a fire-bombing in Dresden, Germany six months before the end of World Ward II. The main character, Billy Pilgrim, is a prisoner of war in Dresden and survives the bombing that killed 135,000 people, more than the atomic bomb that fell on Hiroshima. The book covers war stories, time travel and a visit to a far-away planet called Tralfamadoria. Needless to say, I was quite confused throughout most of the book. At the very end, Vonnegut puts out a few clues that explain why Pilgrim had the weird time-travel and space-travel sequences. The back leaf contains this quote which I found appropriate:"Centering on the infamous fire-bombing 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 are afraid to know."

Vonnegut's writing style is completely different from any author I've ever read, but I liked it. He's quite matter-of-fact, a little irreverent, and very conversational. It's odd but enjoyable. One line I found very annoying, though. After describing anyone's death or death in general, he would follow with "So it goes." It's in the book hundreds of times. (Don't know for sure, I didn't keep count.) I'm interested to hear how others liked this book. I'm glad I read it but I'm sure I will never read it again. And it's not a book that I could say anyone else would like. See, I'm still confused. So it goes.

Rating: 3
Posted by Framed at 8:29 PM

booklogged said...
So it goes! Well said. I'm not sure I want to venture into a Vonnegut book.
9:57 PM
Wendy said...
I agree, odd book; but I liked it and gave it a rating of 4 out of 5. This is what I said about the book:One of the most banned books of all time, Slaughterhouse Five is a satirical, quirky tale that pokes fun at sexuality and religion, and reveals war as a pointless and horrific endeavor. Vonnegut's story is part autobiography, and part science fiction. Odd, yet blackly funny, this is a book that should be read simply because so many people think it shouldn't be.
10:07 PM
Cassie said...
I have this book on my AP list so I'll read it someday. It'll probably be one of those that will sit until the last.
8:28 AM
Framed said...
Wendy, I liked your review and I agree that people shouldn't dictate what others read. Cassie, it's a short book and very easy to read.
7:08 PM
Les said...
I've never read Vonnegut, but if this one's short, maybe I'll give it a try. Maybe. ;)
3:20 PM
Framed said...
I meant to say conversational instead of conservational. Hopefully that makes more sense.
7:59 PM
Anglophile said...
It is a shame that Vonnegut didn't grab you. I think that Slaughterhoue Five is one of his most overrated books. If you really want to get a feel for him, try his short stories and Timequake as a novel or Hocus Pocus.
3:30 PM
Framed said...
Thanks Anglophile. I did like his style of writing, so I should read something else of his.
4:31 PM
Stephanie said...
I really loved this book! The whole time I was reading it, all I could think about was how weird it was. As soon as I closed the book, all I could think about was what a great book it was!! But it really isn't for every one. I was almost in tears when I read that Kurt Vonnegut had died.
5:14 PM
chittavrtti said...
I've always meant to read one of his works but have not done so yet. Everytime I'm in the book shop I look but then put back in favor of something else. But, one of these days...*CV

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