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Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
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Slaughterhouse-Five (original 1969; edition 1991)

by Kurt Vonnegut

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29,67540231 (4.13)1 / 722
Member:SandraButzel
Title:Slaughterhouse-Five
Authors:Kurt Vonnegut
Info:Dell (1991), Mass Market Paperback, 215 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:WWII, fire storms, Dresden, time travel, survival

Work details

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (1969)

1960s (28)
Read (35)
Unread books (1,693)
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English (382)  Italian (5)  Spanish (3)  German (3)  French (3)  Swedish (2)  Dutch (2)  Czech (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (402)
Showing 1-5 of 382 (next | show all)
This book is weird, the narrator Billy Pilgrim is unreliable and there are so many genres mixed up, but all of this is what makes Slaughterhouse Five good. Kurt Vonnegut addresses war and the casual attitude towards it like its no big deal (especially by people who weren’t there) in a sarcastic manner. His writing style is to the point, not much detail, just the facts/points you need to know for the story to continue. The content is heavy but it reads light, that is remarkable to me. I look forward to reading more Kurt Vonnegut. ( )
  GrlIntrrptdRdng | May 14, 2015 |
One of the greatest books ever. ( )
  bob101 | May 14, 2015 |
I can't say much more than what's been said on this book over the years.

I will say this though - it is certainly an odd read, a wacky time travel trip with stops ranging from WWII Germany to a far off planet. ( )
  TJCams | May 5, 2015 |
Sometime in my early teens, I tried to read Catch-22 and gave up partway through. Somehow, I've had the idea that Slaughterhouse Five was even odder and more difficult to understand, leading me to ignore it until now. Slaughterhouse Five is an odd book, to be sure, but also entirely readable and one that brings the horrors of war in general, and of the bombing of Dresden specifically, to life in an oblique, almost humorous way.

The protagonist, Billy Pilgrim, endures much in his life, from being a prisoner of war to being abducted by aliens, he experiences his life in a non-linear fashion, switching back and forth between the different events in his life, but always he's taken back to those dying days of the war. It's an unusual structure and one that works in a way a more straight forward accounting would not.

There's a lot to think about regarding this book, from the nature of war, to the nature of time to how Billy's personality and life experiences were shaped by the war. Also, Kurt Vonnegut makes a funny comment about Norman Mailer. ( )
2 vote RidgewayGirl | Apr 26, 2015 |
I've read at least 2 or 3 Vonnegut novels so I'm not sure why I was so shocked by how absurd this one was. Maybe it's because it's his most popular novel (as far as I know) so I assumed it would be more mainstream. Sometimes it was funny. Sometimes it was sad and sometimes it went on tangents that just seemed really strange and didn't go anywhere.

The "so it goes" thing go old pretty quick. I started skipping over it as I read it to my wife because both of us were sick of hearing it. There were plenty of times I would finish a paragraph or section and say, "I have no idea what he's talking about."

It reminded me of Catch-22 but I remember enjoying that book a lot more.

So in the end I'm glad I read it so that when people bring it up I know what they're talking about but if it was a completely unknown book I would have felt like I wasted my time. ( )
  ragwaine | Apr 12, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 382 (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 (19 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.)
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 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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