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Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel (Modern Library…

Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel (Modern Library 100 Best Novels) (original 1969; edition 1999)

by Kurt Vonnegut (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
40,67465135 (4.11)1 / 958
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.
Title:Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel (Modern Library 100 Best Novels)
Authors:Kurt Vonnegut (Author)
Info:Random House Publishing Group (1999), Edition: Illustrated, 288 pages
Collections:Your library

Work Information

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (1969)

  1. 402
    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (kiwiflowa, Anonymous user)
  2. 230
    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 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. 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)
Europe (30)
Read (36)
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Books (37)
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» See also 958 mentions

English (618)  Italian (6)  Spanish (5)  French (5)  Dutch (3)  German (3)  Swedish (2)  Danish (2)  Hebrew (1)  Czech (1)  Slovak (1)  Finnish (1)  Hungarian (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (650)
Showing 1-5 of 618 (next | show all)
It is a good and ground breaking at its time but due to alien abduction and heavy duty philosophy it is tough to understand.
  Laiba_Ejaz1122 | Sep 13, 2022 |
This is another book that has been on my currently reading shelf for 6 years. Because I'd started reading it in the past and wasn't sure where I had left off, so I just started at the beginning again, combined with the fact that this book includes time jumps and I was simultaneously reading another book that is ALSO about World War II and ALSO includes time jumps (Life After Life), most of this book felt like one long episode of deja vu. I've only read one other Vonnegut book (Bluebeard), and I didn't feel like I was going to like his style while I was reading it, but I found myself not being able to help it: liturgical, punchy, crass, sparse, somewhat sincere underneath it all. And I thought the subject matter, narration, and plot were inspired. I wish I would have read this book in high school, because 17-year old pacifist me would have loved to think about this book for a month and then write a paper about it.

The really interesting thing to think about now is the corresponding timeline to alien encounters in the United States, which were on the rise post-war, and many of which parallel Billy Pilgrim's Tralfamadore abduction, and I'm curious about what Vonnegut drew from to build that. I guess they make their first appearance in Sirens of titan, which means I'll have to read that now, too.

This was ultimately a very creative story, and as the New York Times blurb on the back says, "It is very tough and very funny; it is sad and delightful; and it works. But it is also very Vonnegut." ( )
  graceandbenji | Sep 1, 2022 |
mid ( )
  suzdalcat | Aug 27, 2022 |
So it goes.

Recently gave this a re-read, having been assigned it back in high school.

It holds up well, and Vonnegut's usual scattershot approach to narrative (which can wear a bit thin after reading a dozen or so of his novels) is perfectly suited for a story about a man "unstuck in time". The appearance of Vonnegut regulars (Kilgore Trout, Eliot Rosewater) seems a bit gratuitous -- having read their respective novels does not add any insight to this novel.

The novel's refrain was nagging at me for quite some time before I put my finger on it: Danielewski's Only Revolutions (short review: not worth it), with its constant reporting of tragic deaths ("Dresden bombed. 135 thousand go."). I wonder if Danielewski was consciously referencing Vonnegut there, or if it happened without him realizing. ( )
  mkfs | Aug 13, 2022 |
Good book but terrible choice in narrator. ( )
  jilliantow | Aug 11, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 618 (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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[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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