Sunday, September 5, 2010

Candle #21: Slaughterhouse-Five

Just racked up another candle in the Birth Year Reading Challenge with the classic Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut.

On the surface, it's an absurdist story about a man who seems to have a lot of problems (believing that he's been picked up by aliens is just one of them). But it is the mix of the absurd and the real that makes this book so classic. It is the commentary on how we all act like life is "normal" and expect it to be so when the truth is absolutely horrible things are going on all the time. Billy Pilgrim's travels through time mirrors the way we journey through our lives trying to make sense out of the horror surrounding us.

It is a scathing satire on the horrors of war. It is a wonderful mix of the hilariously absurd with the all-too real. It is an attempt to describe the indescribable. How can one fully communicate the horror of living through the fire-bombing of Dresden? Vonnegut doesn't even try to do it with facts--but he manages to convey the horror all the same using his unique style. The interesting thing is he does his job so well that I find it difficult to describe properly in a review.

Four stars out of five on Visual Bookshelf.


Roof Beam Reader said...

Such a great book. Not my favorite Vonnegut, but it is definitely a worthy and meaningful read.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

The birth year challenge sounds wonderful but man am I buried in challenges. I will be way more selective this next year :)

J.G. said...

Your candle is up and this sounds so good. It's been on my TBR list for years. Maybe in 2010?

Tasha said...

I've got this on my tbr pile and I'm really looking forward to getting to it. Thanks for sharing.

Alex said...

This is a great, but disturbing book, but that is who Vonnegut was. It is time for a reread for me, thanks for the great review and reminder.