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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

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29,19338631 (4.13)1 / 692
Member:SemperFi
Title:Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel
Authors:Kurt Vonnegut
Info:Dial Press Trade Paperback (1999), Edition: Reissue, Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Vonnegut, Classic, ebook

Work details

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (1969)

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English (365)  Italian (5)  Spanish (3)  French (3)  Swedish (2)  German (2)  Dutch (2)  Czech (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (384)
Showing 1-5 of 365 (next | show all)
V. è un genio. Non si può dire altrimenti. Il libro, di per sè, è indicibile; le invenzioni, uniche; il tono, speciale; gli antefatti, agghiaccianti; la tesi, consolante. I tralfamadoriani, curiosi. ( )
  bobparr | Dec 14, 2014 |
Very good, but not what I was expecting - not really science fiction, and had something of a Catch 22 feel to it. ( )
  rlangston | Dec 11, 2014 |
Vonnegut has the talent of writing books that make you feel like he's sitting with you and telling you a story, instead there just being words printed on a page. This makes his books always a pleasure for me to read, even when the tone of the book is dark. And make no mistake, despite the aliens and the appearance by Kilgore Trout and the general goodheartedness of the narrator Billy Pilgrim, this is a dark book. This is in fact the darkest of the five books I have read by Vonnegut so far, with the manta being "so it goes" instead of the Vonnegut motto I prefer, "god damn it, you've got to be kind."

Slaughterhouse-Five is seen as Vonnegut's masterpiece and one of the great antiwar novels of the past century, but personally I still rank Cat's Cradle as my favorite Vonnegut, and as an antiwar novel I'd put this one well behind All Quiet on the Western Front, Catch-22, and Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried. I enjoyed the skipping timeline, as Vonnegut uses this device to subvert the idea of a war story needing a climax. As he did in Breakfast of Champions with challenging the main/minor character distinction, here Vonnegut refuses to give us a heroic war story, or a tragic war story, or even a narrative where a witnessed horror takes center stage. War is instead an absurd, unglamorous, and generally terrible thing that just happens, leaving death and nightmares in its wake.

This one just didn't click with me the way other Vonnegut books have in the past. I see its value, and appreciate what he was trying to do, but ultimately I didn't find it as emotionally impactful as other novels that tackle the same theme. If you're thinking about reading it then by all means do, it's short and goes by quickly, and based on how other people have responded to it there's every chance it will click with you as it didn't with me. If it doesn't do much for you, though, just know you aren't the only one. ( )
  BayardUS | Dec 10, 2014 |
Wow! What can a man say that has never fought in a war, never been shot at, and never seen the effects of wars first hand: I feel kind of cheap in reviewing this book especially about the war scenario portrayed in the book Slaughter House Five.

But this book is more a commentary on life. Vonnegut is not a a bleeding heart liberal, a pacifist. He is a "modern prophet" telling humans to wake up from their vegetative state,wake up, and feel again. This book will make you feel again. It will make you question again. It will not be easy to feel again, but weak people should die from their need to hide history in volumes of correlated data points.
And so it goes...



The role of the author according to Vonnegut(from my extrapolation) is to be the optometrist for the historical era they live in. Optometrists help near sided people see far away, and far sided people to see what's near. The optometrist helps people see again rightly. One way the novelist does this is by providing a way to break from the cold, safe, logistical view of humanity. We are to see the heart of entombed volumes of historical data, by walking with the participants of historical moments. It is easy to distance oneself from a number, 135,000 people. It is easy to dismiss the death of characterized evil beings from a far away land. But Vonnegut forces one to look again at these people, and what war did to Dresden.

The book is a puzzle to be puzzled out and will be fully answered at the end of the book. So read the whole thing before quiting it.

Science Fiction Elements
Tralfamadorians and the Zoo on Zircon 212: The reader can safely compare their own time with that of alienated world of the Tralfamadorians on Zircon 212.
Time Travel: Time is moved by the semioticians, people who interpret the signs of the time, and uses time to frame life.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom always to tell the difference.

I cluck this book real high, just be prepared for a book that may move you down into the mucky reality of modern warfare/lifestyles. ( )
  Gregorio_Roth | Dec 5, 2014 |
Wow! What can a man say that has never fought in a war, never been shot at, and never seen the effects of wars first hand: I feel kind of cheap in reviewing this book especially about the war scenario portrayed in the book Slaughter House Five.

But this book is more a commentary on life. Vonnegut is not a a bleeding heart liberal, a pacifist. He is a "modern prophet" telling humans to wake up from their vegetative state,wake up, and feel again. This book will make you feel again. It will make you question again. It will not be easy to feel again, but weak people should die from their need to hide history in volumes of correlated data points.
And so it goes...



The role of the author according to Vonnegut(from my extrapolation) is to be the optometrist for the historical era they live in. Optometrists help near sided people see far away, and far sided people to see what's near. The optometrist helps people see again rightly. One way the novelist does this is by providing a way to break from the cold, safe, logistical view of humanity. We are to see the heart of entombed volumes of historical data, by walking with the participants of historical moments. It is easy to distance oneself from a number, 135,000 people. It is easy to dismiss the death of characterized evil beings from a far away land. But Vonnegut forces one to look again at these people, and what war did to Dresden.

The book is a puzzle to be puzzled out and will be fully answered at the end of the book. So read the whole thing before quiting it.

Science Fiction Elements
Tralfamadorians and the Zoo on Zircon 212: The reader can safely compare their own time with that of alienated world of the Tralfamadorians on Zircon 212.
Time Travel: Time is moved by the semioticians, people who interpret the signs of the time, and uses time to frame life.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom always to tell the difference.

I cluck this book real high, just be prepared for a book that may move you down into the mucky reality of modern warfare/lifestyles. ( )
  Gregorio_Roth | Dec 5, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 365 (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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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.)
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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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 16 descriptions

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