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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Slaughterhouse Five

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Reason for Reading: Sci Fi Experience-ish
Rating: 6/5 (Yeah I know)

This will be a real test as to whether or not I can write a mini-review and still manage to give a coherent report on what the review is about.

Okay, I'll do my best. Slaughterhouse Five is about a man named Billy Pilgrim, and we are introduced to him in this manner:

People aren't supposed to look back. I'm certainly not going to do it anymore.

I've finished my war book now. The next one is going to be fun.

This one is a failure and it had to be, since it was written by a pillar of salt. It begins like this.
"Listen, Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time."

It ends like this:

Listen, Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time. I will never forget that opening line. Billy travels through all the moments in his life, from his birth to the purple nothingness that is death. He is in the cellar of a Dresden slaughterhouse on the eve of one of the greatest man-made disasters. He is on the planet Tralfamadore in a zoo with the famous Earthling movie star Montana Wildhack. He is getting married to the daughter of one of the finest citizens of Ilium, New York. He is preaching the message of the Tralfamadorians on the radio, which is that there are four dimensions, the fourth dimension being time. All moments past, present and future have always existed and always will exist, and death means nothing more than that a person is alive in the past. It is an illusion that one moment follows another.

This book is hard to describe because yes, it is science fictiony, but it is also about tragedy. About how to comprehend what is almost incomprehensible. The Tralfamadorians, with their ability to see the fourth dimension, give Billy a way to make sense of life. When someone dies, they say, "So it goes."

Billy's wife dies in a car accident. So it goes. The city of Dresden is wiped off the map by firebombs. So it goes. A fellow POW is killed for stealing a teapot. So it goes.

This was supposed to be a mini-review. So it goes.

Should I read it? Why are you reading this review? Go pick it up!!


Trish said...

Still mini-ish...

I've been wanting to read this one for a while, but I'm kind of intimidated by the science-fictiony aspect. Guess I just need to dive in!

Melody said...

Your mini review sounds great, Kim!
I'm not really a sci-fi fan but this one does sounds interesting!

mariel said...

Sounds bonkers, but I'm very intrigued! Thanks ;)

Debi said...

I love Vonnegut's books. I read them all...well, up through Galapagos...back in my college-ish days. One right after the other. I really need to go back and do some rereading ('cause we won't even talk about how long ago that was!), and I'll definitely start with this one. Hey, maybe for the banned books challenge.

Nymeth said...

Yes! It's a fantastic book indeed. I need to read more Vonnegut, because I know he's a favourite author waiting to happen. I have Galapagos on my tbr pile, actually...I'll get to it soon.

Bookfool said...

I have a real problem with keeping my mini-reviews short.

As to the books . . . read it, loved it. I understand the rating.

Andi said...

I have the book, but I've never read it. Reading your mini-review is probably the most compelled I've ever felt to actually pick it up!!! Thanks!

Kim L said...

trish-don't be intimidated, it is not really science fiction. It is very easy to follow the plotline, despite all the time traveling.

melody-yes, it totally is, and you don't have to love sci fi to appreciate it.

mariel-bonkers is a good description. :-)

debi-wow, this one was banned? I had no idea.

nymeth-definitely, for you it will be a new fav!

bookfool-yeah, I tend to run out of time for coherent thoughts, so it has been working out for me.

andi-I do hope you end up enjoying it! It's well worth while

Literary Feline said...

I have been wanting to read something by Kurt Vonnegut for awhile now and have one of his books in my TBR collection waiting to be read, but I know it's not this one. From your review, it sounds like a good one!