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Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel by Kurt…

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

by Kurt Vonnegut

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31,81847524 (4.12)1 / 795
Title:Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel
Authors:Kurt Vonnegut
Info:Dial Press Trade Paperback (1999), Edition: Reissue, Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Vonnegut, Classic, ebook

Work details

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (1969)

Recently added byprivate library, LitaVore, Adam.Anderson, M.King, TDWolsey, MaryMcConnell, sevysaurus, hilaro
Legacy LibrariesAstrid Lindgren
  1. 342
    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (kiwiflowa, Anonymous user)
  2. 200
    Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut (seojen)
  3. 121
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  4. 114
    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (weener)
  5. 60
    Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut (esswedl)
    esswedl: Both of these Vonnegut novels involve the question of free will (and both are great).
  6. 41
    Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo (waitingtoderail)
  7. 20
    Crash Gordon and the Mysteries of Kingsburg by Derek Swannson (jasbro)
  8. 31
    Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (JenMDB)
  9. 43
    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.
  10. 10
    Tertium Organum by P. D. Ouspensky (sombrio)
  11. 21
    Armageddon in Retrospect by Kurt Vonnegut (Ronoc)
  12. 21
    Kurt Vonnegut's crusade; or, How a postmodern harlequin preached a new kind of humanism by Todd F. Davis (pyrocow)
  13. 11
    Candide by Voltaire (SCPeterson)
    SCPeterson: Vonnegut is the Voltaire of our age of un-enlightenment.
  14. 00
    1968 by Joe Haldeman (snat)
  15. 11
    The Book of Jonas by Stephen Dau (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: War is not glorious and even survivors are not unscathed.
  16. 13
    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (chwiggy)
  17. 25
    Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman (ateolf)
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English (452)  Italian (5)  French (4)  German (3)  Spanish (3)  Swedish (2)  Dutch (2)  Hebrew (1)  Czech (1)  Hungarian (1)  Catalan (1)  All (475)
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The story of Billy Pilgrim, suffering from PTSD, as he recalls his time as a WWII POW and surviving the firebombing of Dresden. He travels back and forth in time, visiting his birth, death, all the moments in between repeatedly and out of order. ( )
  jrthebutler | Nov 27, 2016 |
I have a lot of classics on my shelves that I've never gotten around to reading. They hadn't been assigned when I was in school and I had so many other things I wanted to read once I was out of school. So I decided to work my way through some of them and started with Slaughterhouse-Five, Vonnegut's anti-war masterpiece.

The story revolves around the Allied bombing of Dresden near the end of World War II, bookended with Vonnegut's own experiences in Dresden during the war and after. The prose is simple and felt dated, but it was still powerful in its ordinariness. The horrors of war are here, as Billy Pilgrim, our hero and Vonngeut's stand-in, goes to war as a chaplain's assistant, gets taken prisoner by the Germans, ends up in Dresden in time for the bombing, then goes home to get married and become an optometrist. He also gets unstuck from time, traveling up and down his timeline, and gets taken prisoner by aliens who put him on display in a zoo, along with a fellow abductee, a former porn actress. Did he really get abducted by aliens? Is he really traveling through time? Or did he wartime experiences leave him with PTSD and a need to make some sort of sense of his life? There is something so mundane in how Vonnegut describes the horrors of war, giving it the same tone and weight as everything else that happened in Billy's life that makes the war scenes worse somehow.

And the repetitive phrase "And so it goes" that punctuates nearly all the paragraphs in the book, a precursor, perhaps, for the more contemporary "It is what it is." There are things that can't be changed, so they can either be accepted or not. To not is to drive yourself crazy. To accept is to, perhaps, stay sane. But war isn't sane, and maybe a sane response isn't appropriate. Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but the story is the sort that inspires introspection. I'm glad I finally read this. ( )
1 vote ShellyS | Nov 16, 2016 |
For a mature audience, my favorite book. High school history classes or english classes could benefit from reading this ( )
  rileyjb | Oct 24, 2016 |
I pulled this from my shelf to reread in August 2016. I can't say it's one of my favorites, but it is so unconventional, and it's underlying cynical determinism is so depressing, that I'm surprised I like it. But I do. Part of the reason is probably that it is so different. There is no real plot, no heroes or villains, and there's nothing special about the prose. It's just a series of chronologically disjointed scenes from the life of some poor sap caught up in events he can do nothing about. That's the way life feels sometimes, though. Your live. You die. So it goes. ( )
  DLMorrese | Oct 14, 2016 |
A war book that is so much more than just about war. The book can be gritty and dark, but also funny. It tries to show the atrocities of war, but it also covers the idea of time and death. The ideas and the writing style are very original for its time. He took a difficult concept to even conceive and wrote a fantastic book that draws you in. The audiobook narrated by James Franco is pretty good. He does a great job on dialogue but occasionally is hard to understand through his enunciation. ( )
  renbedell | Oct 1, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 452 (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 authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brioschi, LuigiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chesterman, AdrianIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ferrer, JoseNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Franco, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoog, ElseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jaskari, JuhaniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Original title
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Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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
Publisher's editors
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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)

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