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Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)

by Kurt Vonnegut, Владимир Филипов (Translator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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31,15745425 (4.12)1 / 768
1960s (15)
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English (430)  Italian (5)  French (4)  German (3)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (2)  Dutch (2)  Czech (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (452)
Showing 1-5 of 430 (next | show all)
5 stars
Brilliant, disturbing and thought provoking.
This is the thought that was provoked.
Somewhere in a galaxy far, far away, before and after death; Voltaire and Vonnegut, Candide and Billy Pilgrim sit down together in a bar to decide upon the true location of the best of all possible worlds. So it goes.

“So they were both trying to reinvent themselves and their universe. Science fiction was a big help.”

( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
Billy Pilgrim, a World War II veteran and survivor of the Dresden firebombing, finds that he is able to travel through the time -- the catch though is that he has no control over when or where he will go and the time jumps are sudden and arbitrary. At any moment, he might be an infant or on his honeymoon or in a POW camp. To make matters worse, at one point in his adult life, he is kidnapped by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore and held in a zoo for their amusement.

Summing up and reviewing Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five is a difficult task. Like any Vonnegut work, it's funny and preposterous -- perhaps more so than the others I've read by him -- while simulatenously tackling serious and realistic problems. The science fiction element in this book is actually very slight when it comes down to it; it serves more as a way to talk about time and to let things seem to be occuring all at once rather than in a forward-going line. The Tralfamadorians are there to remind the reader that there are other ways to viewing the world - specifically, one of 'live and let live' - that end up showing us just how ridiculous some of our actions truly are.

Slaughterhouse-Five reads quickly and is entertaining in many ways, but it's also a dark book about a tragic period of history. Like Catch-22 before it, Slaughterhouse-Five is an antiwar book by a war veteran that draws upon real-life experiences in a satirical way to point out that war - even a justifiable one - is an ultimately insane action. The randomness of life is a recurring theme in this book, and Vonnegut is perfect for this kind of storytelling, mixing fact and fiction to point out the absurdities of wartime. Vonnegut's signature writing style once again stole the day, seemingly simple but actually tackling complex issues with a streak of witty observations. That kind of black humor appeals to me, so I quite enjoyed reading this book.

In addition, I learned a great deal more about World War II history after looking up specific persons, events, and locations mentioned throughout this book's pages. I'm eager to read more of Vonnegut's works now, particularly Mother Night, which also addresses World War II and involves some of the characters that made minor appearances in Slaughterhouse-Five. ( )
  sweetiegherkin | May 24, 2016 |
What a bloody fantastic book that I should have read ages ago! ( )
  GwenMcGinty | May 13, 2016 |
I'd looked forward to reading this book for years, but it was a disappointment. The best passages, especially those set in Europe in 1944-45 are quite powerful, but on the whole I found the author a little too aware of himself. Probably the sort of book I would have enjoyed when an English student of eighteen or nineteen. ( )
  cappybear | May 12, 2016 |
War! This damn never ending war! Can't remember a world in peace in this 32 years of my life! Despite the modern century, we live in, it seems like the nations still prefer to send their men into battlefields over every single conflict! Nothing seems to change much, but the fire powers,... ( )
  GazelleS | May 11, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 430 (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 (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Vonnegut, Kurtprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Владимир ФилиповTranslatormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Brioschi, LuigiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chesterman, AdrianIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ferrer, JoseNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoog, ElseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jaskari, JuhaniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Important places
Important events
Related movies
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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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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References to this work on external resources.

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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:01 -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.

» see all 16 descriptions

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