Thursday, December 30, 2010

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse-FiveTitle: Slaughterhouse Five
Author: Kurt Vonnegut
Pages: 288
Published: 2009 Dial Press (orig.1969)
My Rating: 5 stars

Why did this book have to end?  No, really...why?  I could easily have read on...was the story over already?

And more importantly: is all Kurt Vonnegut like this?  If so, I need more.

The writing, the humor, the depth, the story, the characters--everything was so engaging, so interesting, so different and well done.

I've claimed for YEARS that I don't like Science Fiction (even put it in my mini-bio for the Indie Lit Awards).  Is Slaughterhouse-Five really considered to be Science Fiction?  If I was put to task, I've no idea what sort of genre I'd try to fit it into.

After reading it, I can understand why I didn't really have any idea what it was going to be about.  Because it isn't just about the plot-line, it's much more than that.  Yes, Billy Pilgrim gets unstuck in time.  That, however, is just the surface.  And to be entirely honest, I'm not sure I've figured out all the meaning and symbolism, but I am enjoying letting it all meld into a happy gelatinous bubble in my brain (ew, that sounds gross).

My scattered ramblings certainly haven't done much to tell what the book is about, but perhaps that is fitting to the book being discussed.  Slaughterhouse-Five is quick, simple, disjointed, but also deep, layered, effective.

I'll leave you with a quote, and perhaps you can leave me with suggestions of what to read next?
Over the years, people I've met have often asked me what I'm working on, and I've usually replied that the main thing was a book about Dresden.
I said that to Harrison Starr, the movie-maker, one time, and he raised his eyebrows and inquired, "Is it an anti-war book?"
"Yes," I said, "I guess."
"You know what I say to people when I hear they're writing anti-war books?"
"No.  What do you say, Harrison Starr?"
"I say, 'Why don't you write an anti-glacier book instead?'"
What he meant, of course, was that there would always be wars, that they were as easy to stop as glaciers.  I believe that, too.
And even if wars didn't keep coming like glaciers, there would still be plain old death.


  1. I just got this book for my fiance the other day. From your review, it looks like he will enjoy it :)

  2. What a great quote. I've always been wary of Vonnegut, but maybe I shouldn't be. Do you want to read more of the same next or something completely different?

  3. Glad you enjoyed Slaughterhouse! If you want to read more Vonnegut I would check out Breakfast of Champions, which is my favorite Vonnegut or else Galapagos, which probably has the most coherent plot

  4. Sam--I hope he does enjoy it! I'm trying to make my husband put down Stephen King's new book and read this instead. :)

    Anbolyn--He is easy to read, the challenge is more in the abstractness of the themes. Right now I'm reading something completely opposite (some Austen and some Cather) but I'm looking to find my next Vonnegut.

    Red--From a quick glance through, I was thinking Breakfast of Champions might be my next, although I didn't look at Galapagos. I actually really enjoyed the disjointed plot line, it moved quick and was a lot of fun.

  5. I've got the same edition ready for the Back to the Classics Challenge. I'm also skeptical about sci-fi novels but the genre is quite flexible, isn't it? Great review :)

  6. I never thought it was flexible until reading this...I have to get my husband to read it so he can compare it for me. :) I'm looking forward to seeing what you think of it!


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