Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Suicide Reviews: Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut


Summary: Slaughterhouse-Five, an American classic, is one of the world's great antiwar books. Centering on the infamous firebombing of Dresden, Billy Pilgrim's odyssey through time reflects the mythic journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we fear most.

Date Published: 1969
Published By: Dial Press
Number of Pages: 275
Rating: 5/5 

Slaughterhouse-Five is both incredibly funny and terribly sad. It's as if Douglas Adams wrote an anti-war novel.

The book is written in a style that is very dream-like. It reads almost like a fairy-tale. There are bizarre situations featuring aliens and time travel yet it's not science fiction in the traditional sense. Vonnegut uses this fable-like style to drive home the point just how absurd and futile war is.

Billy Pilgrim is such a down-to-earth and endearing character. He's sort of an Everyman who is thrust into these crazy adventures. His ability to time travel to different points of his life just kind of happens naturally and his abduction by aliens is completely random. These fantastical events aren't really treated as unbelievable or extraordinary - they just happen. It ties in so well to the book's oft-repeated phrase 'So it goes.'

The phrase 'So it goes' is often put at the end of a description of a horrible event, like a bombing or suicide. It's used to highlight how human beings treat these tragedies as inevitable - even though we are the species that is responsible for perpetuating them. It has a remarkably sobering effect upon the reader.

Slaughterhouse-Five deserves its place among the classics and the great anti-war novels. I think it should be read by everybody at least once in their lives. 

1 comment:

  1. I love this book! And it was the first book I blogged about!!