Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Slaughterhouse-Five (Book Review)

Title: Slaughterhouse-Five
Author: Kurt Vonnegut
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Source: Bought

Goodreads Summary:
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

I did not have high expectations going into this book, despite the fact that I usually enjoy World War II fiction. The amount of times that I had heard this novel favorably compared to Catch-22 , a novel which I did not like very much, left me thinking that I would not enjoy this book very much either. However the story and the characters and the unique structure and take on World War II in this novel was really intriguing. And while I would not say that it is the best World War II novel that I have ever read, I certainly think that it deserves the praise that it gets for being such a wonderfully told story with a message about the nature of war and humanity.

Rating: 3.5/5

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