So you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been … scarce … of late. Well, let’s be honest, for a few months now. So the excuses include craziness at work, overwhelmingness of study, fatigue related to both of these, and, well, life. I am planning on getting back into the swing of things soon, but I also have an exciting treat for you – a guest review from a great friend of mine who also loves to read, and is awesome at putting her thoughts on books into words. So, here it is!
SLAUGHTERHOUSE 5 by Kurt Vonnegut
First Published 1969
A masterpiece. This book will take you a step closer to the meaning of life.
Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5 follows the journey of hapless American Optometrist Billy Pilgrim as he becomes entangled in the events of WW2 as a chaplain’s assistant.
However, this is a war story unlike you have ever encountered before. The absurdity of war and the horrors that Billy witnesses result in him becoming at least partially unhinged- and his life thereafter is punctuated by episodes of time-travel and alien encounters. The story concludes with the Dresden bombings as WW2 draws to a close.
Only a brilliant novelist could weave these elements into a work that is simultaneously so deep yet so consistently amusing and easy to read. Vonnegut brings hilarity to the gruesome theatre of war in Europe. Not something that would work in the hands of one less skilled.
Apart from being an enjoyable satire and a rather unconventional science fiction, make no mistake, this novel pulls some big political punches, especially when you consider it was first published in 1969 North America:
“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. I have also told them not to work for companies which make massacre machinery, and to express contempt for people who think we need machinery like that” p24.
This paragraph would undoubtedly be as screamingly relevant right now in November 2014 as it was when it was first written, given the current global conflicts we are faced with, and the gun control debate that rages in the United States.
Overall, this novel is well worth the small effort involved in reading it.