Sunday, July 14, 2013

Slaughterhouse Five

After re-reading this for a third time I picked up on so many new elements that I had somehow overlooked the first two times. I know the character, Kilgore Trout, shows up in most Vonnegut novels but I had totally missed the fact that Howard J. Campbell, the American Nazi war criminal from "Mother Night," makes a few brief appearances in here and so does Eliot Rosewater. I feel like an idiot for missing key pieces like that! I'm getting rusty!

Anyways, this is probably one of the best instances of Kurt Vonnegut's literary genius. It's a staple in every collection and is one of the best "anti-war" books there is. Vonnegut is a master at conveying the absurdity of war and does a brilliant job of getting his point across by introducing the unforgettable Billy Pilgrim. Billy has come unstuck in time and "Slaughterhouse Five, or the Children's Crusade" is Billy's journey back and forth through different parts of his life. Billy surviving the fire bombing in Dresden during World War II, Billy marrying his wife, Billy being abducted by aliens, and Billy practicing optometry. The prose and the back and forth of all these moments is brilliant and some of Vonnegut's most memorable quotes are found in these pages.

If you haven't read this already, what are you waiting for?

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