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Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)

by Kurt VONNEGUT

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
40,00364335 (4.11)1 / 951
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.
Recently added byEloise, Arina8888, private library, Nimaille, nickrowe, Halestormer78, Chelsea318
Legacy LibrariesTim Spalding, Astrid Lindgren
  1. 402
    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (kiwiflowa, Anonymous user)
  2. 220
    Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut (seojen)
  3. 141
    Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut (weener)
  4. 123
    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (weener)
  5. 70
    Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut (esswedl)
    esswedl: Both of these Vonnegut novels involve the question of free will (and both are great).
  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 Kalfar (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. 10
    Payback by Gert Ledig (hvg)
  12. 32
    Candide by Voltaire (SCPeterson)
    SCPeterson: Vonnegut is the Voltaire of our age of un-enlightenment.
  13. 21
    Armageddon in Retrospect by Kurt Vonnegut (Ronoc)
  14. 21
    Kurt Vonnegut's crusade; or, How a postmodern harlequin preached a new kind of humanism by Todd F. Davis (pyrocow)
  15. 21
    The Book of Jonas by Stephen Dau (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: War is not glorious and even survivors are not unscathed.
  16. 10
    Tertium Organum by P. D. Ouspensky (sombrio)
  17. 21
    Crash Gordon and the Mysteries of Kingsburg by Derek Swannson (jasbro)
  18. 00
    1968 by Joe Haldeman (snat)
  19. 25
    Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman (ateolf)
1960s (12)
Europe (30)
Read (36)
Reiny (3)
Books (37)
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» See also 951 mentions

English (607)  Italian (6)  French (5)  Spanish (5)  German (3)  Swedish (2)  Danish (2)  Dutch (2)  Czech (1)  Hebrew (1)  Catalan (1)  Finnish (1)  Slovak (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (638)
Showing 1-5 of 607 (next | show all)
What a strange book. I'm scratching my head as I wonder why it's such a revered classic. There are many good technical aspects, good insights on human psychology, and the fluctuations in time and place are surprisingly easy to track. The story itself, though? And Billy Pilgrim? He's the very definition of a passive character, bumbling along in his very manly world. I haven't read any of Vonnegut's other novels and this certainly doesn't encourage me to do so. ( )
  ladycato | May 9, 2022 |
I really liked this book! The dark humor is way better than Chuck Palahniuk, and it had some very profound insights into the self-loathing American. Definitely would read again. ( )
  ds_db | Apr 25, 2022 |
I'm a fan of KV. The more books I read from him, the better I like them all: some characters appear at least in mention in a few different ones, and people taking secondary roles in a book may be the main characters of others.

Nevertheless, each of the books I've read form him stands tall on its own. There is something about Vonnegut's sense of humour I appreciate very much. Maybe it is that for him nothing is sacred, or that he will surprise you with an odd side story, or very ironic outcome.

There are very well defined biographical and fictional components in the book. Vonnegut himself was in Germany as during WW2, and witnessed several of the events in the book, such as the bombing of Dresden and being locked up in a pig slaughterhouse (room V) as a POW. The book is not about him though, it deals with Billy Pilgrim, an odd individual that also gets deployed to the same area. Billy Pilgrim isn't strong, isn't smart, and isn't heroic. And neither is much of what happens in the book. Vonnegut warns you about this in the prologue. On the fictional and fantastic components are Billy Pilgrims wanderings through time. While I found the idea of travelling a bit lame, it does give rise to interesting secondary stories.

Another component of this fantastic side of the story are the Tralfamadorians and their philosophy. I don't think I found it very understandable. What I felt I understood and could piece together was their main premise: that Tralfamadorians can see past and future as vividly as the present. Hence, for them the concept of present is not meaningful. They don't see a snapshot of space every instant, but rather they perceive a static, 4-D space with time being just like another dimension of space. Any act in time in the past or in the future is within perception. A consequence of this is that a person is not dead or alive, in the sense that in some point in time the person is dead, and in another a person is alive. There is no sense in assigning a time dependent state to a person. The way this ties into the story is weak, imo, because the narrations about the two aspects feel a bit disjoint (a segment of the real world is interrupted by a segment of life in Tralfamadore, and so on). The only connection I saw was maybe Pilgrim's use of this way of thinking as a way of keeping calm during tragedy. ( )
  orm_tmr | Mar 16, 2022 |
Interesting story about a man picked up by aliens and able to travel back and forth through time. An anti war novel that shows the inhumanity of war. ( )
  foof2you | Feb 27, 2022 |
Not my favourite Vonnegut though it certainly had moments. ( )
  mjduigou | Feb 27, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 607 (next | show all)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
VONNEGUT, KurtAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
BRIOSCHI, Luigisecondary authorsome 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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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
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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.
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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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