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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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28,162None33 (4.14)1 / 603
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

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Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (1969)

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Showing 1-5 of 347 (next | show all)
I found this book very hard to get through. With Billy Pilgrim's "time traveling" back & forth through his memories, & then flipping back to the author's bits & pieces of memories, it was difficult to keep the storyline streamlined in my mind. The book was mostly about WW2, & the firebombing of Dresden, combined with Billy's claims of being abducted by space aliens from the planet Trafalmadore, & bits & pieces of Billy's life.

It was listed on the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list, & for the life of me, I have no idea why. I could easily have gone without reading this one... ( )
  Lisa.Johnson.James | Apr 11, 2014 |
if i don't finish every book i start i never would have made it past the first 60 pages of this book, which is when i thought it started to get worth reading. that lasted about a third or so, and then it dropped off again for me.

the middle third of this book is pretty good. but the rest...well, i guess i just do't appreciate vonnegut. the cover of my book says this is, among other things, "hilarious." i snorted in amusement once or maybe twice. but really this book isn't funny, it's terrifically sad. which i'm into, so that's not why i didn't like it.

as a story it's worthy and something that i'd like to read about - the effect war has on the survivors and the terrible things people have to live with having done or seen. time and free will, and our relationship to them, and what they can mean, if they can change or stretch or be different for different people. so that's not why i didn't like it.

i didn't really like it because he doesn't do a good job with any of the themes individually, and worse if you look at them on the whole. he took ideas that could be drawn out with depth and kept everything entirely superficial. there was no complex thought about any of it. there are better books about war, about time, about free will. probably about all 3. it's just not enough. and his writing style was way too repetitive for me. (i cannot believe this book isn't called "so it goes," which if i hear again anytime soon will likely make me scream.) it didn't seem like literary device to me, it seemed like underdeveloped writing. maybe in 1969, when this was published, i would have felt differently about this. as it stands, if it was as good as they say in 1969, then it doesn't hold up.

i wanted to like this. i feel like i'm supposed to like this. i definitely liked it more through the middle and by the end more than when i started it, and i liked it more than timequake but i'm afraid that i'm not going to find myself a vonnegut fan. so it goes. ( )
  elisa.saphier | Apr 9, 2014 |
I couldn't take this book anymore. I gave up on page 69. I couldn't get into the book. I hate giving up on this book, but I couldn't force an ounce of interest into it anymore. Sorry! ( )
  cbilbo | Apr 8, 2014 |
I couldn't take this book anymore. I gave up on page 69. I couldn't get into the book. I hate giving up on this book, but I couldn't force an ounce of interest into it anymore. Sorry! ( )
  cbilbo | Apr 8, 2014 |
4.5

Kurt Vonnegut was a POW in Dresden during World War II. He only survived the allies’ bombing of Dresden because the Germans housed the American prisoners in a meat-locker in a building they called Slaughterhouse-Five. For years afterward, Vonnegut attempted to write a book about his experiences, and in 1969 he eventually produced Slaughterhouse-Five, a fictional biography of one of his fellow soldiers who he calls Billy Pilgrim. In the first chapter of Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut explains that his ... Read More: http://www.fantasyliterature.com/reviews/slaughterhouse-five/> ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 347 (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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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 5 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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