Monday, July 30, 2007

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Rating: 9/10

Published: 1969
Number of pages: 157
ISBN: 0099800209

Started: 22 July 2007
Finished: 26 July 2007

Summary (taken from blurb):
Prisoner of war, optometrist, time-traveller - these are the life roles of Billy Pilgrim, hero of this latter-day Pilgrim's Progress, a miraculously moving, bitter and funny story of innocence faced with apocalypse, in the most original anti-war novel since Catch-22.

A great book, with some interesting and thought-provoking ideas. Before I read it, I heard some people say that this book changed their lives and others have said it's not the same when re-read after a long period of time; I think where you are in your life may determine how much you get out of this book. For me personally, I think it's one that needs repeated readings in order to fully appreciate it.

One thing I didn't particularly like: I couldn't quite figure Billy out; throughout the whole book he seemed to be in a daze, which can't be what he was like all the time because he was clearly still able to function normally most of the time.

The book is amusing in parts (dark humour) and cleverly written, but mostly it's terribly sad as you see what the horrors of war have done to Billy, and the parallels between his memories of the war and the hallucinations that occur thereafter. It's a great anti-war novel (but not as great as Catch-22, in my opinion!)

Not everyone will enjoy this book, and I can understand why, but I would highly recommend it nevertheless. There aren't too many books that I feel should be read; this is one of them.

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