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Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)

by Kurt Vonnegut

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
42,14866636 (4.11)2 / 973
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.
  1. 412
    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (kiwiflowa, Anonymous user)
  2. 240
    Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut (seojen)
  3. 151
    Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut (weener)
  4. 90
    Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut (esswedl)
    esswedl: Both of these Vonnegut novels involve the question of free will (and both are great).
  5. 124
    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (weener)
  6. 50
    Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo (waitingtoderail)
  7. 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.
  8. 20
    Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfař (CGlanovsky)
  9. 31
    Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (JenMDB)
  10. 10
    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.
  11. 32
    Candide by Voltaire (SCPeterson)
    SCPeterson: Vonnegut is the Voltaire of our age of un-enlightenment.
  12. 10
    The Wanting Seed by Anthony Burgess (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Slightly absurdist satire that includes an anti-war message
  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. 21
    The Book of Jonas by Stephen Dau (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: War is not glorious and even survivors are not unscathed.
  17. 10
    Tertium Organum by P. D. Ouspensky (sombrio)
  18. 21
    Crash Gordon and the Mysteries of Kingsburg by Derek Swannson (jasbro)
  19. 00
    1968 by Joe Haldeman (snat)
  20. 25
    Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman (ateolf)

(see all 20 recommendations)

1960s (12)
Read (27)
Europe (30)
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» See also 973 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 631 (next | show all)
This book was genuinely one of the most impactful books I've read. Not because it changed my perspective on life or anything, just that every line led me somewhere and it was gut-wrenching and painful and once a few pieces of the puzzle slid into place... I couldn't keep reading. I had to set it aside just to process it. It doesn't make much sense, and I've seen a lot of people comment saying they didn't like it because of how non-sensical it is. However, this is the whole damn point of Slaughterhouse Five--its about a traumatized optometrist who didn't really belong in the way and a plane crashed knocked his PTSD around his skull so badly he can't make sense of reality, so he feels like he's traveling through time.
Not everyone will understand this book, of that I am certain. So it goes. Honestly, any good book that packs a punch is like that, because the underlying meanings and messages are always difficult to discover, and some people (like me) happen upon them accidentally through speculation and are hit with their full force out of nowhere.
I love this book. ( )
  julesmcbooles | May 24, 2023 |
Dacă vă place absurdul, v-o recomand. Este o carte memorabilă prin originalitatea ei.
Dacă nu, vă avertizez că este o lectură stranie, schrodinger-iană: mi s-a părut, constant, simultan o carte foarte bună și una foarte proastă. De aceea și nota, medie între 1 și 5. ( )
  milosdumbraci | May 5, 2023 |
slaughterhouse 4 was better ( )
  hk- | Apr 12, 2023 |
Maybe this was the book that really taught me that a movie could be great, but a movie could never contain all the things a book could tell me. ( )
  mykl-s | Apr 2, 2023 |

This book is one of the harder ones to review, in part because I am not 100% sure I totally "get it". But I found it a very, very interesting read. Not interesting in the way a book normally draws you in and makes you fall in love (or hate) with its characters and immerses you in its storytelling. Rather interesting in the big themes it tackle in such an understated way and with a good amount of black humor thrown into the mix. While I believe the book is known more for its anti-war sentiments, I actually thought the more interesting themes were fate vs. free will and religion (Jesus) vs. science (Darwin). You really can clearly tell where Vonnegut's sympathies lie regardless of the topic, but I have to say he does a great job of not jamming his philosophies down your throat and letting you subtly draw your own conclusions.

The story itself is somewhat bizarre. The protagonist is Billy Pilgrim, an optometrist who fights in World War II. The story tells snippets of Billy's life going back and forth between his war experience and the other experiences of his life. The anecdotes are not told chronologically because Billy is disconnected from time and can experience any component of his life at any time. To make matters more strange, he is kidnapped by aliens who have a very different world view from our own.

Normally, this part is where the book would drop to two stars for me. I like my fiction realistic, and this element is clearly not that. But I question in my mind if the alien part is even intended to be true or whether it is intended to be a result of war time trauma. Regardless, the way the stories are interwoven and the interesting themes actually did grab my attention. I would really have LOVED to read this in a classroom setting, and it would make an excellent book club book though I suspect many members of groups like my own would balk at reading it and hate it. There is a boatload to discuss though. I feel a need to see if the 1001 book group read it in the past as I'd love to see the commentary.

All in all, I think this book is deserving of the fame it has received. It's very accessible and not hard to read, but will definitely make you think. ( )
1 vote Anita_Pomerantz | Mar 23, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 631 (next | show all)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Vonnegut, Kurtprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brioschi, LuigiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chesterman, AdrianIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Donkers, JanAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ferrer, JoseNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Franco, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
García de Miró, MargaritaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hawke, EthanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hens, GregorTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holder, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoog, ElseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jaskari, JuhaniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jonason, OlovTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mantovani, VincenzoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nemes, LászlóTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pellizzari, DanielTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sutherland, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wagenseil, KurtTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zanon, CássiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Владимир ФилиповTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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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.
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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.

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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.
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Average: (4.11)
0.5 12
1 145
1.5 30
2 480
2.5 104
3 1819
3.5 421
4 4085
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