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Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)

by Kurt Vonnegut

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29,08937931 (4.13)1 / 689
1960s (24)
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English (360)  Italian (5)  Spanish (3)  French (3)  Swedish (2)  German (2)  Dutch (2)  Czech (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (379)
Showing 1-5 of 360 (next | show all)
This 'classic' has been on my to-read list for a while, but I'm glad I didn't pay for the honour. Although I can appreciate Vonnegut's clever commentary on the atrocities of war - both the bombing of Dresden and Vietnam - the novel as a whole didn't really work for me. Billy Pilgrim was too much of a device rather than a believable character, even interpreting his story as signs of PTSD. Readable - very short, above all - but the title is probably the most memorable part of the novel. ( )
  AdonisGuilfoyle | Oct 21, 2014 |
This book remains one of my favorites for it's matter-of-fact take on life, war, time travel, and death. So it goes. ( )
  lithicbee | Sep 14, 2014 |
This is the first and only Vonnegut book I've read. I'm not a big fan of classics or historical fiction, so this book had a lot of work to do. I didn't hate it. I didn't necessarily like it. I don't think I would recommend it to anyone to read, but I am glad that I read it. I think it is an interesting take on the lives of war veterans. ( )
  alb2219 | Sep 5, 2014 |
A marvellous, witty, enigmatic read. It is difficult to know what happened- is the protagonist really time-travelling or suffering depersonalisation and flashbacks in PTSD? It is astonishing that this book is essentially a war novel about the disgraceful events at Dresden, yet still manages to be funny with the main character ending up dressed in ridiculous clothes. ( )
2 vote martensgirl | Aug 23, 2014 |
I remember it as a very experimental book. The style is refreshing, by times shows what can be done with language.
At the same time it's very realistic, based on war experiences. Humor used to cope with injustice I suppose.
Its dark satire makes it related to Céline and its wild fiction (read about the characters at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slaughterhouse-Five) to Burroughs (I only read parts of him, saw Naked Lunch)

I liked it a lot at the time, it's very teasing and entertaining, but I don't remember much of what it's about now. I'll have to reread it.

( )
  ToonC | Aug 19, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 360 (next | show all)
It is a novel about war and what men do to each other in the name of holy causes.

Which is not to say it is anywhere near "The Naked and the Dead" or "From Here to Eternity." Vonnegut fights his wars with feathers rather than with jackhammers. "Slaughterhouse-Five" is funny, satirical, compelling, outrageous, fanciful, mordant, fecund and at the bottom-line, simply stoned-out-of-its-mind.
added by Shortride | editLos Angeles Times, Harlan Ellison (pay site) (Apr 20, 1969)
An agonizing, funny, profoundly rueful attempt by Vonnegut to handle in fable form his own memories of the strategically unnecessary Allied air raid on Dresden... few modern writers have borne witness against inhumanity with more humanity or humor.
added by jjlong | editTime (Apr 11, 1969)
"Slaughterhouse-Five" is an extraordinary success. It is a book we need to read, and to reread. It has the same virtues as Vonnegut's best previous work. It is funny, compassionate and wise. The humor in Vonnegut's fiction is what enables us to contemplate the horror that he finds in contemporary existence. It does not disguise the awful things perceived; it merely strengthens and comforts us to the point where such perception is bearable.
It sounds crazy. It sounds like a fantastic last-ditch effort to make sense of a lunatic universe. But there is so much more to this book. It is very tough and very funny; it is sad and delightful; and it works. But is also very Vonnegut, which mean you'll either love it, or push it back in the science-fiction corner.

» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Vonnegut, Kurtprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hoog, ElseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jaskari, JuhaniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The cattle are lowing,
The Baby awakes.
But the little Lord Jesus
No crying He makes.
For Mary O'Hare and Gerhard Müller
First words
All this happened, more or less.
"Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops."
"There was a a soft drink bottle on the windowsill. Its label boasted that it contained no nourishment whatsoever."
I have told my sons that they are not under any circumstances to take part in massacres, and that the news of massacres of enemies is not to fill them with satisfaction or glee.
So it goes.

Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (6)

Book description
[R.L. 6.0]
From the World War Two firebombing of Dresden to the distant planet called Tralfamadore, the reader follows Billy Pilgrim in his attempt to understand the natures of time and existence.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385333846, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:20:19 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Billy Pilgrim returns home from the Second World War only to be kidnapped by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore, who teach him that time is an eternal present.

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