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Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel by Kurt…
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Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel (original 1969; edition 1999)

by Kurt Vonnegut

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
34,78654031 (4.11)1 / 854
Member:wsickler
Title:Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel
Authors:Kurt Vonnegut
Info:Dial Press Trade Paperback (1999), Edition: Reissue, Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:fiction

Work details

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (1969)

  1. 372
    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (kiwiflowa, Anonymous user)
  2. 230
    Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut (seojen)
  3. 141
    Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut (weener)
  4. 70
    Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut (esswedl)
    esswedl: Both of these Vonnegut novels involve the question of free will (and both are great).
  5. 114
    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (weener)
  6. 41
    Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo (waitingtoderail)
  7. 20
    Crash Gordon and the Mysteries of Kingsburg by Derek Swannson (jasbro)
  8. 53
    The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami (andomck)
    andomck: Both books, besides having science fiction/magical realism elements, discuss bloody episodes of WWII from the point of view of everyday people.
  9. 20
    God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Elliot Rosewater, the main character of God Bless You, Mr Rosewater, appears in Slaughterhouse-Five. Also, they both feature books from fictional author Kilgore Trout.
  10. 31
    Candide by Voltaire (SCPeterson)
    SCPeterson: Vonnegut is the Voltaire of our age of un-enlightenment.
  11. 20
    Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar (CGlanovsky)
  12. 31
    Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (JenMDB)
  13. 10
    Payback by Gert Ledig (hvg)
  14. 21
    Armageddon in Retrospect by Kurt Vonnegut (Ronoc)
  15. 21
    Kurt Vonnegut's crusade; or, How a postmodern harlequin preached a new kind of humanism by Todd F. Davis (pyrocow)
  16. 10
    Tertium Organum by P. D. Ouspensky (sombrio)
  17. 00
    1968 by Joe Haldeman (snat)
  18. 11
    The Book of Jonas by Stephen Dau (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: War is not glorious and even survivors are not unscathed.
  19. 25
    Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman (ateolf)
  20. 15
    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (chwiggy)

(see all 20 recommendations)

Satire (3)
1960s (23)
Read (36)
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English (512)  Italian (6)  French (4)  German (3)  Spanish (3)  Swedish (2)  Dutch (2)  Czech (1)  Hebrew (1)  Hungarian (1)  Catalan (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (538)
Showing 1-5 of 512 (next | show all)
The star ratings are defined deceptively, or at least in a way that causes difficulty in rating a work like this. Three stars says I "liked" it. I did not. This book seems to go out of its way to be vulgar and to keep the reader from caring about the characters except in a philosophical sense. I would not have finished reading this if it weren't on my list of classics to be conquered. There's also, for me, the brain-block caused by black humor. It's not something I find funny. At all. (I would not know this book was supposed to be funny if I hadn't read reviews calling it so. Acerbic wit? Yes. Actually funny? If you say so.)

So I originally rated it two stars, because my personal reading tastes find it completely unlikable.

However ... the books to which I give two stars usually have a lot of craft problems, or make me crazy with their unrealistic psychology and/or exaggeratedly insufferable characters. That doesn't describe this book. Slaughterhouse-Five is really smart. And devastating as the author intended. And challenging. Will I read it (or Vonnegut) again? Heck no. Did I enjoy it? Absolutely not. Did it broaden my reading experience in a way that was worth my time? Yes, it did. ( )
  AmandaGStevens | Mar 2, 2019 |
Vonnegut is funny and bitter and honest, as he should be when writing about that most ridiculous of topics: war. This was an incredibly fast read, it seems like no sooner had I picked it up for my book club it was finished.

It seems like my all of book-club books, despite the long discussions I have about them with my friends, seem to get short-shafted in the review department. So it goes. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
Literally a trip, as in hallucinogenic. Very strange string of words. Sad, depressing, a bit sarcastic. The mastery is it all fits the horror of the subject matter. He certainly made his persuasive points. For me the sarcastic flippancy seemed overkill. So it goes. ( )
  DonaldPowell | Feb 5, 2019 |
I must have started this book a while back, because the first chapter was really familiar. Well. Vonnegut is certainly not a conventional author, and this is not a conventional book about war; not that I've read that many. The detached narrative really shows a unique perspective of war and it's horrors that is not easily forgotten. ( )
  BigSki | Jan 12, 2019 |
This book follows Billy Pilgrim - a soldier who believes he was abducted by aliens. He believes that through these aliens he has learned to time travel forward and backward throughout his life. Many times he travels back to World War II where he was a prisoner of war and held in slaughterhouse five in Dresden, Germany. We learn about his life as a child, whom he married, that he became an optometrist in a successful practice, and where he was when he died.



There are many true aspects of this novel mixed in with the fiction. The author of this book was held POW in Dresden. Over 100,000 citizens were killed there in a bombing, and he survived as a prisoner. The main theme of this book seems to be fate. The author speaks of it several times. The aliens speak of it as well. They tell the main character, Billy, that they know how the world will end, but they will do nothing to stop it.



I thought it was a pretty great book. Not something I would have ever picked outside of this challenge because the title - just not sure what I was going to read. But I really liked it. It is a pretty short book (only 215 pages), so I may re-read it again someday. It was a great book about time, space travel, death, war, and human behavior. I hear there is a movie, so I might give that a try. ( )
  JenMat | Jan 10, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 512 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kurt Vonnegutprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brioschi, LuigiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chesterman, AdrianIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ferrer, JoseNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Franco, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hens, GregorTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoog, ElseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jaskari, JuhaniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Владимир ФилиповTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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People/Characters
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Important events
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Epigraph
The cattle are lowing,
The Baby awakes.
But the little Lord Jesus
No crying He makes.
Dedication
For Mary O'Hare and Gerhard Müller
First words
All this happened, more or less.
Quotations
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.
Listen:

Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (4)

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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 14 descriptions

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